#24 Best Golf Courses in Arizona 2017-2018 – Golf Digest
I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Marana, AZ (just northwest of Tucson) this past January, and while on a business trip was lucky to be able to sneak in 36 holes at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. If you haven’t been to Dove Mountain, it’s a great spot to visit. I stayed at the Ritz Carlton there, and the property is absolutely gorgeous. Set up outside of town up into the mountains, the views are amazing, and the landscape is stunning. Mountains, cactus, and wildlife surrounds a luxury resort which is flanked by a pretty darn good golf course.
Let’s start with my only frustration to get it out of the way: The greens were ridiculous. I cannot tell you how many times I hit a good drive into the fairway only to see the pin placement and think to myself “How the hell am I going to make par from here?” To make matters even more difficult, the greens have many different undulations and challenges, but the surrounding landscape of mountains and hills creates a “mountain effect” that none of us in the group could ever figure out. When you are surrounded by mountains, which mountain pulls the ball in its direction? That was the question we asked ourselves for two straight days on the golf course. Couple that with the extreme quickness of the greens and some difficult (almost humorous) pin placements, it was a tough day with the putter (and the short game for that matter). It was hard to get too frustrated though, because you are constantly surrounded by an extremely amazing landscape, with some breathtaking views.
A Jack Nicklaus design, the Golf Club at Dove Mountain has 27 holes to choose from, and I was lucky enough to play all three nines during my stay. This was my first round of the year, and really the first round since October because I had been dealing with Michigan weather. I had some major winter rust but was getting off of the tee surprisingly well which kept me alive. Desert golf is unique because you really cannot spray it around off of the tee and salvage any kind of a round. When the ball goes into the desert, you are lucky to find it and even more lucky if you can hit it out of wherever it went… very different from hitting it out of the trees in Michigan. More reasons why I was happy to keep the ball in play off the tee at Dove Mountain.
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain is a freaking long golf course. Playing at 7240 yards from the tips, when it hosted the WGC Accenture Match Play, it was one of the longest on the tour. I played the Copper tees at 6811 yards on the Saguaro/Tortolita. The next day I played Tortolita/Wild Burro at 6753 yards (7250 from the tips). I managed only 1 birdie in 36 holes, so you can imagine the sight of my scorecard. I was able to make a birdie on the Wild Burro #8 which was a par 3 playing at 161 yards.
After playing the first day, I was dumbfounded by the greens, and how difficult they were. It seemed the greenskeeper was picking the most unbelievable spots to place the flagstick. After doing some research on the course that night, I found that many on the PGA Tour felt the same way and so many were disgruntled by the greens at the course that they switched the WGC Accenture Match Play to another venue. That was relieving to see that it wasn’t just me! Don’t get me wrong, the course is really well laid out, I just think the greenskeeper could’ve given us a break with some of those pins!
All in all, it was a great couple of days. The course was in fabulous condition, the views were unreal, and the company was great.