The Buzz: Located in Chandler, where cotton once was king, Ocotillo Golf Resort is the only layout in the Arizona desert where water comes into play on 23 (some say 24) of its 27 holes. Created by the late Ted Robinson, an architect known for his elaborate water features, Ocotillo sports three distinct nines – the Gold, Blue and White. Don’t try to figure out which one is best because the reality is all three are as solid as a bar of bullion, although the locals (here’s your tip) seem to have the most affection for the Gold-White combination, or Gold-Blue as second-best.
The signature hole seems to be the relatively short, par-4 fifth hole on the Blue Nine, where water must be negotiated twice in order to arrive safely at the green. In every way the hole is a work of art, with palm trees, two fingers of water and an elegant waterfall making for the exotic “WaterWorld’’ feel guests only get at Ocotillo. Don’t be afraid about dunking a few shots, as the tees are positioned so that high handicappers get to move up and avoid most of the H2O. Besides, to experience water-laden Ocotillo is to have a little fun with the courses’ motto: “Do you have the balls to play Ocotillo?’’ Chances are most players won’t find the wet stuff as much as they’ll just enjoy being around it.
And the same can be said of its 19th hole – Bernard’s – where the friendly service and outstanding food and drink make for a perfect ending.