Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Arizona Golf Course Review: Located just north of the Mexican border in southeastern Arizona, Shadow Mountain golf course is the reason the Sunsites community became known as “The Little Town That Could.”
Shadow Mountain, built in 1963, is the social and recreational center of this retirement community of 1,500 residents and visitors located in the heart of one of Arizona’s most historic and picturesque areas.
So, they were stunned when the course owner informed residents in 2008 that he would need to shut it down due to failing finances. Almost overnight, they came up with a plan in which they would lease the course for $1 per year and residents would pay $50 each per month to keep it open, with four one-year options to renew the lease.
Within a matter of weeks, their offer was accepted and the course is now operated and maintained by volunteers, who are entitled to a 50 percent discount although most continue to pay the full cost of golf, which is about 25 bucks during peak season.
While the course is a relatively simple, traditional design, the surroundings are spectacular. Shadow Mountain climbs to elevations of 4,500 feet with wonderful views of the surrounding Dragoon and Chiricahua Mountains and Wonderland Rocks.
From most fairways, golfers find a panorama of Cochise Stronghold, where the great Apache chief made his last stand for more than a decade. That adds up to some pretty special scenery on a course that has three sets of tees at 6,632, 6,324 and 5,432 yards. Men’s par is 72, women’s par is 70 and the course is rated at 70.2 and 73 respectively.
Water is in play on five holes, including two on the front nine that are the favorites of most local players. No. 2 is a 142-yard par-3 that requires a tee shot over a pond to a bunkered green. The fifth hole, a 383-yard par-4, also requires a shot over a lake on the approach.
The finish is the strongest part of the course with a 200-yard par-3, a 549-yard par-5 that is the No. 1 handicap hole and longest on the course, and a tough 406-yard par-4.
Shadow Mountain offers putting and chipping greens but the range is limited and located away from the clubhouse. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch daily and for dinner on Saturdays. The clubhouse also serves as the site of many social activities such as frequent parties and dances.
The surrounding area features pistachio and pecan groves and some of the best hiking, camping and birding in the state, along with museums displaying early American Indian artifacts.
The nearby Chiricahua National Monument offers beauty rivaling that of the Grand Canyon. A good lodging choice is the quaint Mountain View Motel near the golf course which is modern, clean and comfortable and has reasonable rates.
It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.