Well Traveled Golfer
There are few places to take a winter golf trip to that are more accessible and attractive to Pacific Northwest golfers than the Southern Arizona area. Just a relatively short trip by air, and in the same time zone, this region offers an ideal winter escape. It’s perfect for PNGA golfers escaping snow, rain and everything in between. The warm sun is an instant cure for “cabin fever” and for those hoping to keep golf skills from getting rusty, the range, quality and variety of golf available is almost overwhelming.
Among the very best of the golf resorts available in the region, three JW Marriott resorts offer stunning designs by leading architects amid the scenic beauty for which the region is well known. The JW Marriott brand is renowned in the golf travel business for offering a total golf experience of the highest level of quality and the three JW Marriott resorts in the region will exceed the expectations of the most discerning PNGA golfer.
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa is situated on 125 acres of immaculately manicured grounds in the scenic Sonoran Desert. Resort amenities include a full-service spa, exceptional on-site dining and a heated outdoor pool. Golf enthusiasts will be delighted with the resort’s Camelback Golf Club, which showcases 36 championship holes. Ambiente was completely renovated in 2013 following a design by Hurdzan/Fry. The Padre course, designed by Arthur Hills, promises an enjoyable golf adventure, with towering trees, subtle landforms and impressive bunkering.
The JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa features views of immaculate desert vistas and striking mountains. Amenities include a rejuvenating spa, a wide range of restaurant options and multiple outdoor pools, complete with a lazy river and waterslides. Wildfire Golf Club is amongst the top Phoenix golf courses, situated in the rugged Sonoran Desert of Northeast Phoenix, and features two picturesque 18-hole championship courses designed by two of golf’s greatest legends – Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo.
The JW Marriot Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa is situated amongst the saguaro-covered foothills of the picturesque Sonoran Desert. On-site amenities include exceptional cuisine, a signature spa and a stunning multi-level pool, which boasts a waterfall and a lazy river. The signature golf club provides three nine-hole championship golf courses, each of which offers its own unique Arnold Palmer design.
The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i and its spectacular Manele Golf Course is the authentic Hawaiian vacation experience
Located just a few miles west of Maui, the pristine island of Lana’i is an unspoiled paradise of spectacular sea coast and enchanting highland forest. The island is 98 percent privately owned, providing a sense of uncrowded natural calm unique within the Hawaiian Islands.
A land of pine forests, rolling hills, red lava cliffs and wide sandy beaches, Lana’i embodies the spirit of old Hawaii, allowing visitors to connect with the island’s culture and explore its endlessly beautiful landscape exactly as you wish.
Lana’i is just 13 miles wide and 18 miles long, with ground elevations varying from sea level to more than 3,400 feet. The central landscape offers mist-shrouded mountains and forests of Cook Island pines where wild deer roam freely. The coastline is ringed by secluded white-sand beaches, rugged red lava cliffs and crystal-clear waters.
A place of deep cultural significance, Lana’i features many historic sites, old fishing villages and unique topographical attractions. The island’s only community is the quaint plantation town of Lana’i City, with a full-time population of just 3,000.
For nearly a century, Lana’i was home to Hawaii’s largest pineapple plantation and was known as the Pineapple Island for its fields of golden pineapples. James Dole turned Lana’i into a pineapple plantation in 1922, and it eventually grew to produce three quarters of the world’s pineapples. The plantation closed in the 1980s, and the island has since emerged as one of the world’s most idyllic vacation destinations.
Now, in this paradise, the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i offers world-class island-wide relaxation and recreation, from off-roading to sporting clays, horseback riding and helicopter tours to snorkel sails.
Re-opened in February 2016 after a complete multi-million dollar renovation, the resort is again among the finest resorts in Hawaii, already achieving the prestigious AAA Five Diamond status in June 2016. Four Seasons Resort Lana’i is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Hulopo’e Bay, a marine sanctuary that’s a playground to spinner dolphins and humpback whales.
Inspired by Hawaii’s diverse influences, the redesigned interiors feature walls of teak and zebra wood edging artisan-produced Nepalese Lokta paper and mahogany floors laid with wool hand-woven area rugs. Fully integrated and intuitive lighting, temperature, service, and privacy controls offer a highly responsive in- room technology experience that also includes a 75-inch, platinum bezel LED television panel, in-room iPad Airs, wearable key wristbands that allow guests maximum flexibility, and more.
Among the resort’s many amenities is the award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature Manele Golf Course. The visually stunning layout is painted in a rainbow of colors, from black lava outcroppings to red cliffs that tumble toward the blue sea, to the pristine white sand bunkers that dot the verdant green coastline.
Every hole provides spectacular ocean views, while the 18th is known for views of dolphins in the bay. Built on lava outcroppings, the course features three cliff-top holes that use the Pacific Ocean as a water hazard. Five tees allow the course to be enjoyed by all skill levels while presenting a formidable test to the best players. Tee shots over natural gorges and ravines must be precise.
Opened in 1993, the course rolls over dramatic, unspoiled natural terrain, and every hole promises majestic ocean views. In winter months, the course’s fairways are among the best vantage points for spectacular sightings of whales making their annual migration.
Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert, Calif. is proud to announce the completion of an extensive bunker renovation on its award-winning Firecliff golf course . Firecliff reopened on October 24, 2016 to rave reviews. The project included new drainage, liners and new sand for all the bunkers, improving overall playability and conditions of the golf course.
The modifications were made under the direction Dr. Michael Hurdzan, one of the course’s original designers, to maintain the integrity of the original course design. All the bunker complexes were modified, and new bunkers were added in some areas while some removed bunkers from other areas. This renovation is the first of a multi-phase renovation planned for the Firecliff course. Future phases will include tee box and green renovations as well as turf reduction.
“This project is a testament to the commitment to excellence and the long-term sustainability of the resort,” said General Manager Derek White. “We are proud to partner with the City of Palm Desert, which has re-invested in the well-being of this community amenity.” PGA Head Professional Ryan Szydlowski said, “Our most loyal guests will notice a significant change to Firecliff’s bunker conditions. Accomplished players will have the poise to get aggressive with their shot selection and the rest of us will have more confidence we can get out in one try. Aside from playability, the new bunkers have refreshed the appearance of every hole. We can’t wait for our guests to visit this season!”
Prior to the renovation, the Firecliff course was considered one of the best public golf facilities in the California desert region, and was recently ranked by Golfweek magazine as No. 29 in the “Best Municipal Course in the Country” category.
Desert Willow Golf Resort is owned by the City of Palm Desert, and is also home of the Mountain View course and The Terrace at Desert Willow restaurant featuring some of the best outdoor dining for breakfast and lunch in the Coachella Valley.
For more information visit www.desertwillow.com, call (760) 346-7060 or visit the Golf Shop.
Rio Verde Country Club Community, an inviting and appealing enclave for active adults
Searching for a golf experience totally unexpected in the Arizona High Sonoran Desert? Something more traditional? More parkland? More friendly?
One community just outside the Phoenix metropolitan area has what you’re looking for, and then some.
Situated in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains at the edge of the Tonto National Forest, Rio Verde Country Club Community features two Tom Lehman-redesigned parkland-style courses that stand out for both playability and beauty. AZ Big Media voted Rio Verde the “No. 1 Private Golf Course and Active Adult Community in Arizona” for 2015 and 2016.
Measuring 6,535 yards, the White Wing Course boasts fairway mounding, open green fronts and deep bunkering. At 6,602 yards, the Quail Run Course offers a more classic layout reminiscent of America’s great Midwestern golf venues. Unlike most desert-style target courses found in the area, Rio Verde features wall-to-wall turf, and conditions are always immaculate.
Quail Run is also the site of an innovative nine-hole, par-3 course – “Roadrunner” – which allows Rio Verde members and guests to satisfy their golf urges in a fraction of the time of a full round. Measuring 1,088 yards, “Roadrunner” utilizes regulation tee boxes off the back nine fairways which provides a variety of approach shots to greens.
Under the operational expertise of Troon, Rio Verde Country Club carries the prestigious Troon Prive’ designation. As a private club of distinction, the premier reciprocal program offers full club members the opportunity to play other exclusive Troon-managed courses around the world.
Yet, golf is only part of the story at Rio Verde – the club greatly benefits from its friendly members and residents who call it home. Because of its superb location, there is very little light or noise pollution. The Four Peaks, Mazatzal Mountains and McDowell Mountain range provide breathtaking vistas. More than 60 surrounding trails within the entrance to both the forest and McDowell Mountain Regional Park are just a short walk or ride from homes, allowing residents and the community hiking and cycling clubs to easily become one with nature.
Thankfully, one doesn’t have to leave the cozy confines of Rio Verde to have nourishment and libations with friends. The clubhouse offers several options for dining from formal dining in the Copper and Sundance Rooms to watching the game in the Pub. Pressed for time? – grab a Starbucks coffee also located in the Pub area.
The community center is an active hub that boasts a library and hosts various activities such as dance classes, weekly card games and art classes. The fitness center and heated pool and spa allow residents to partake in many organized activities or work out independently. Activities such as strength training, aerobics, weights, gym with treadmills, rowing and elliptical, water aerobics, water volleyball, massage therapy and so much more await you in Rio Verde.
Adjacent to the community center sit Rio Verde’s six tennis courts, where residents can partake in rated play, competitive and beginner levels of play. An on-site pro is available for lessons or drills. The four pickleball courts are always abuzz with activity. Rio Verde has beginner lessons plus different skill-level competitions. In addition, two bocce courts add to the excitement. Whether you are playing or a spectator, it is great fun for all!
Rio Verde residents are forever learning. Many attend the on-site ASU lectures featuring an array of topics. The community is also complemented by “The Community Church of the Verdes.” It is interdenominational with two services, weekly bible studies, choir and book club.
The holidays are extra special at Rio Verde, as more than 6,000 luminaries line the streets on Christmas Eve each year. But it is not just the holidays when the residents offer their kindness. Residents can choose to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Reigning Grace Ranch, the local food bank and many more.
Should an emergency arise at Rio Verde, the fire department is located just 223 seconds away. Also, Rio Verde has a full-service post office where residents can pick up their mail or send out letters and overnight packages.
Audubon International, Firewise and Xeriscape have recognized Rio Verde for its water sustainability and as an eco-minded community.
On your next visit to the Arizona High Sonoran Desert, take 20 minutes and escape the city to experience something totally unexpected and enjoyable – the inviting Rio Verde Country Club Community.