Arizona Golf AZGA Buzz: It is one of the oldest private clubs in the Tucson area, but Oro Valley Country Club has remained a relevant player in the golf community by modernizing and delivering quality facilities and superb service.
While many such clubs are named after the towns and cities where they emerge, it worked a little differently in this case. Lou Landon, who was a frequent visitor to the area, saw the need for a course and had this one built, opening in 1959. A town grew up around the course and incorporated 15 years later, taking its name from the golf course to become Oro Valley.
Robert Bruce Harris, a noted golf architect from Texas, handled the design. The entire course was renovated in 1987 under the direction of Keith Foster, who was a protégé of regarded architect Arthur Hills.
Much of OVCC’s charm comes from its location along the beautiful Pusch Ridge section of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The club has hosted the Pac-10 Conference championships as recently as 2006, the Southwest Section of the PGA Championship in 2008 and has been the site of U.S. Open qualifying tournaments.
There are six sets of tees with the longest at 7,023 yards and the shortest at 5,596. From the tips, the course is rated at 73.8 with a slope of 132. It features a traditional style layout and is predominantly flat although there are some nice elevation changes, tree-lined fairways, smooth bent-grass greens and dramatic views on many of the holes.
No. 18 is the obvious signature hole, and was created during the redesign by adding a 1 ½-acre retention lake that runs down the left side. It starts about 225 yards from the tee on this 415-yard par 4 and wraps around the back of the green. A large bunker guards the right side, creating some difficult sand shots that can run all the way across the green and into the lake. That combination makes it one of the tougher finishing holes in the area and, with a waterfall and Pusch Ridge providing the backdrop, one of the most beautiful.
Foster did a particularly good job of creating dogleg holes that entice golfers to cut the corners but those who do are gambling that they can keep their shots clear of bunkers and mature trees on the inside of the elbows.
In 2006, the club built a beautiful $6 million clubhouse, which was four times as much as its members paid for the entire property in 1961. It includes a state-of-the-art fitness facility, several fine-dining options, a tranquil patio area and a busy social schedule.
Oro Valley Country Club has several member options, including regular, executive, single, corporate, intermediate and social memberships. It also has a member-for-a-day policy for prospective members.