Most newcomers to this part of the United States should be aware that golf here will be significantly different from the environments in which they are accustomed to playing. Whereas in other parts of the country golf is a strictly seasonal sport, in the Desert Southwest it can be played for pretty much all of the year. For example, in the Phoenix area alone there are over 200 courses located in the Sonoran Desert. It is that availability of ideal golfing conditions for most of the year that keeps the PGA Tour spending roughly a month and a half in this part of the country before going east. The geography itself allows for different course-layouts than will be seen in other locations. Designers are not as hindered by the land as they are elsewhere as it is naturally flatter and provides them with more of a blank slate. They are not as restricted by such elements as topography as they are in parts of the Northeast where the land determines the layout. Even in the desert there will be some undulations in the land but nowhere near that seen in other places.
It should be noted that golfing in the desert can often come with a steep cost, but the benefits include beautifully situated courses like Keith Foster’s Sunridge Golf Course in Fountain Hills and the Coral Canyon Course at the Sand Hollow Resort in Utah. These courses are set in the dramatic barren landscape that most people imagine when they picture the Southwest.
The Desert Willow Golf Resort
This Palm Desert California course provides its guests with the challenging Firecliff Course and the more relaxing Mountain View Course. The bunker-filled Firecliff also provides golfers with views of desert flora such as cacti and acacia trees. Golfers on this course should be ready to encounter desert wildlife as well as to deal with the heavily protected greens. The Desert Willow’s Mountain View Course is considered slightly easier and allows golfers to have fun while still providing them with a challenge. Hole six features a stream that travels down it on one side.
The Sunridge Canyon Golf Course
This course provides an experience unlike any other in Fountain Hills, Arizona. The course winds its way between foothills of the McDowell Mountains and features picturesque canyons and ridges of a type unique to the Arizona wilderness. The gently undulating topography at Sunridge gives golfers large greens and keeps the dramatic surrounding country in view.
This is another Keith Foster course and is set in the rocky and colorful terrain of southwest Utah; it allows golfers to enjoy the unique and largely untouched terrain found in this part of the country. Deep canyons and boulders abound at Coral Canyon, and those who play here will get to enjoy views of Bryce Canyon as well as of nearby Zion National Park.
Located in Las Vegas, Bear’s Best could be considered the Greatest Hits of Jack Nicklaus. This daily-fee course includes replicas of all the best holes designed by the Golden Bear and selected by the man himself. Among the holes replicated at Bear’s Best are ones from the design for the Palmillo Golf Club in Los Cabos and another from the Arizona Castle Pines in Colorado.
About the Author: The Highlands at Dove mountain offers one of the most unique golf courses Tucson, AZ has to offer. Designed to appeal to all levels of golfers this course was the first at the well known Dove Mountain Resort – home of the Accenture Match Play Tournament.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/teaberryeagle/3745430419/