The Buzz: Some unique river-wilderness terrain provides the setting for this course, which was donated by its owner to the city of Benson late in 2010. Golfers will remember the San Pedro for a front nine that plays along the San Pedro River and over natural washes, and a back-nine playing through natural canyons with a distinct links feel. Free from the restraints of any real estate development, this course offers an escape from busy life in an historic area known as a long-time transportation hub and the stronghold where Cochise and his warriors waged war with the U.S. Calvary. Designed by Mark Rathert, the course that opened in 2003 features generous, rolling fairway lined with mesquite and bentgrass greens. The back nine is more of a canyon-style layout, with dramatic elevation changes and spectacular views of the Dragoon mountain range to the east. The greens are large, fast and undulated. Water comes into play on several holes in the form of washes, ponds and the San Pedro River. It plays at 7,313-yards from the back tees, and the four-hole stretch starting at No. 12 is the most memorable. The par-4 12th is a dogleg right with a narrow landing area and a narrow approach to a bowl-shaped green. Make sure to take a look back once you reach it as the scenery is stunning. No. 13, a 605-yard par 5, sits at the highest point on the course, which is encased by three mountain ranges, at about 3,600 feet. No. 15 is a par 3 with a 50-foot drop to the green. Take a bit of a breather on 16 and 17 because the par-4 18th is a handful at 457 yards with a split fairway and water in play on the second shot to a green that is well-guarded by a bunker. Golfers relax at the Ironwood Grill and Sunset Terrace after their round. Benson accepted the course donation in October 2010 and earmarked $70,000 for upgrades to the clubhouse and other facilities. If you have more time to spend in the area, it’s a short drive to the dramatic Kartchner Caverns and to Cochise Stronghold, an area in the Dragoons where the Indian chief is buried and where his tribe staked its claim, but be advised that it remains a rugged, desolate area with few facilities available. To the north of the San Pedro course also sets a former stage shop where the Butterfield Overland Stage Company established a transportation hub connecting the east to both Mexico and California. It later became a terminus for the Sonoran Railroad, shipping copper, silver and other goods to the West Coast and linking Benson to Phoenix. As mining declined, ranching, tourism and the Apache Powder Company grew as prominent revenue streams. Along with the golf, this area is an outdoorsman’s paradise with excellent camping, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, birding and four-wheeling.