Northern Arizona Show Low

Torreon Golf Club – Tower Course / Cabin Course

Arizona Golf Courses — Torreon Golf CLub

The late Robert Von Hagge worked as a commercial artist before he became a golf course architect and liked to sketch his projects before they became reality. Many who have played Torreon’s Tower and Cabin courses say he created a masterpiece here, but then, he started with a pretty awesome canvas that lies in the heart of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

torreon-golf-club-cabin-course-photoVon Hagge, who died in 2010, has always been considered an eccentric designer. But his course designs at Doral’s Blue Monster and Tucson National are traditional classics, and he was completely captivated by the topography he found at the Torreon site amid the natural beauty of the White Mountains in northeastern Arizona.

“It’s beautiful, rolling country with stands of Ponderosa Pine you wouldn’t believe,” he said while he was designing the Tower Course, which opened in 1999. “We have some spectacular open meadows and marshlands, so we have all the natural elements we need to create a premier, world-class facility.”

Tower is the first of the two golf courses built at Torreon, a private club located in the White Mountains community of Show Low. At the wish of Desert Troon of Scottsdale, which spearheaded this project, Von Hagge created holes that were both memorable and distinctive. His design embraces the landscape with seven lakes bringing plenty of water into play, and each green seems to have its own personality. Forced carries approaching several greens add to the challenge. The Tower Course has five sets of tees ranging from 5,195 to 7,134 yards and is rated at 72.3 with a slope of 143 from the tips.

Highlights of the layout include the eighth, ninth and 15th holes. The par-5 eighth is the longest hole on the course at 593 yards and features a double dogleg that can be shortened slightly by attempting to carry the first bunker complex along the right side. From there, it plays downhill and to the left, requiring a shot over a series of pot bunkers to cut off a little more length.

The ninth is a 424-yard par 4 that doglegs right, around a tree-lined corner to a green situated between two ponds and surrounded by wetlands. No. 15 is a 181-yard par 3 that leaves little margin for error, although there is some bailout room on the right side. The putting surface is a medium-sized target but is protected by a small pond in front and three bunkers around the left side. Tower also has a delightful risk-reward finishing hole; the 377-yard par 4 plays through more wetlands to a green in a serene postcard setting.

The Cabin Course, completed in 2007, has a little more of a wilderness feel. It is set among a thick pine forest and travels over hilly terrain with a lot more change in elevation than the Tower Course. With elevated tees on virtually every hole, and small greens with subtle undulations, it presents some terrific downhill approach shots and some challenging uphill climbs, with par-3 offerings being the strength of the layout.

Von Hagge was joined by his longtime partners Michael Smelek and Richard Baril in this design, and it’s routed in the classic manner of nine holes out and nine holes back to the clubhouse, with the popular namesake “Cabin” located at the turn. This unique rustic building serves as a snack bar during golf rounds and a delightful dining establishment in the evenings.

The Cabin Course has five sets of tees ranging from 5,348 to 7,148 yards, with a rating of 73.5 and slope of 138 from the back tees. The front nine presents some interesting routing with three par-3’s, three par-4’s and three par-5’s. The Cabin’s par-3 collection plays at 172, 211, 237, 162 and 222-yards, and they leave quite an impression on first-timers to the course. The ninth is the longest of those and features a penalizing wash that runs from the front of the tee area down the left side of the hole; a high draw is the shot required to avoid a bunker and wash to reach the green.

No. 12 is the shortest of the group and is a deceptive hole with a green framed by water and fronted by a small pot bunker. With the elevation here, you can afford to take one club less than the yardage suggests and that will help in avoiding the water behind the green. Some consider the fifth to be the signature hole, however. This par 4, which plays at 416 yards from the tips, requires a tee shot over a ravine and an approach over another ravine to reach an elevated green.

Very few homes encroach upon the Cabin Course property, which presents views from the highest elevations of the sprawling White Mountains, a landmark engulfed by the wondrous playground that is known as the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and spans 2.63 million acres. Once inhabited by Native American tribes and pioneers, it now serves as a wonderful summer respite for residents of the often-sweltering deserts of Arizona.

Torreon, another word for fortress, is a private club with three membership levels, for property owners and non-owners. Members have access to first-rate dining facilities, a fully equipped fitness and aquatic center, spa, tennis facilities, an equestrian center and family recreation center. This area of the White Mountains is an outdoor activities paradise with more than 600 miles of streams, more than 40 lakes and a 200-mile trail system, that offers some of the best hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, and of course golf, in the Arizona.

Northern Arizona Sedona

Sedona Golf Resort

Arizona Golf Courses – Sedona Golf Resort

Located in the surreal red rocks that surround Sedona, a new player may suddenly realize the primary challenge of teeing it up at the golf resort of the same name is Mother nature. Yes, the toughest test in the “Land of Awe’’ is simply staying focused on the golf shot at hand as panoramic vistas, majestic mountain backdrops, and contrasting tones of red and green present boundless distractions.


And the golf’s pretty good, too. What’s weird about Sedona Golf Resort is that despite the 18 awesome holes designed by Gary Panks (well, 17, if you don’t count the 18th), this pristine property has gone bust – twice. That’s right, Sedona Golf Resort filed for BK in 1989, made a righteous comeback for 20 years and counting, and then fell back into bankruptcy in 2010.

Considering the course’s entertaining variety and spectacular views, not to mention some beautiful bent-grass greens, it makes an avid golfer shake his or her head.

Certainly the 210-yard 10th hole will blow your golf socks off, as the par 3 stretches out before your eyes with regal Cathedral Rock rising up in the background. It’s the single best view of Sedona’s red-rock splendor and those unfortunate souls who don’t play golf never see it.

In fact there are numerous red-rock formations of note in almost every direction, all day long. And the 10th is not the only stellar par 3 on the course, as the 17th, a 155-yard mid-iron over water to a semi-island green, is also worthy of signature status.

And the same can be said of Nos. 4, 6, 11, 13, 15 and 16. But NOT 18, which is a downhill par 4, with water on the left, that simply runs out of room. And, by the way, if you slice the ball at the 18th, expect to pay for one of those ubiquitous condo windows that frame the right side, at least that’s what it says on the irritating sign posted on the tee box.

It’s all just a modest reminder that really good stuff in life is not all good, all the time. Sedona Golf Resort is so good, though, it warrants consideration as a one-day turnaround day trip from the Phoenix-Scottsdale metro area. Better yet, wine and dine around town, spend the night and make a loop or two the next day as well, it’s that good.

The Arizona Golf Authority AZGA “Local Hang” for Sedona Golf Resort is no drive at all; the onsite bar and restaurant has perhaps the best view of well-known Bell Rock, with a picture window that literally frames it like a masterpiece. In other words, the perfect spot to enjoy a Oak Creek Amber that just happens to be brewed right down the road.

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It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.

Flagstaff Northern Arizona

Pine Canyon Golf Club

Arizona Golf Courses — Pine Canyon Golf Club

Flagstaff is known for having some pretty awesome private clubs and this one, surrounded by Coconino National Forest, definitely ranks among the finest in the state. Pine Canyon was one of the last courses designed by Jay Morrish before his retirement. When you visit you’ll see he certainly saved some of his best for last.

Pine Canyon Golf Club’s tag line calls it the place “where upscale meets down to earth” and that is apropos for this facility that rests at about 7,000 feet of elevation with the impressive San Francisco Peaks providing a stunning backdrop.


Combine that with an award-winning clubhouse, soaring pine forests and aspen trees, seven ponds and lakes, numerous winding streams, generous fairways, six-to-10 tee boxes on each hole and lush bent-grass greens and you’ve got a truly memorable golf experience.

From the tips, it plays at 7,272 yards and is rated at 73.1 with a slope of 133. While it has plenty of challenges and hazards, especially from the back tees, Morrish made this a player-friendly layout with open landing areas in the fairways and open-entry greens like those found on links courses.

“It certainly isn’t Scotland, but I’ve always liked that type of golf where you can hit knockdown shots and run your ball up to the green,” Morrish said. “I think you need to give golfers options to play a variety of shots.”

There are so many good holes and postcard views at Pine Canyon, which opened in 2004, that it’s tough to pick a signature, but many would choose the 18th. The downhill dogleg par 4 plays at 487 yards from the tips to a green with a pond along the front and right side. A large lake stands behind the green with San Francisco Peaks in the background.

The entire back nine is a delight, starting with the 10th hole, a 435-yard par 4 that has a lake wrapping around the right side of the green, a creek cutting across in front, four bunkers surrounding the back and a fairway that slopes toward the water.

Hole 11 – Eagle’s Nest – Pine Canyon Golf Club, Flagstaff, Arizona

Next up is a 152-yard par 3 to a peninsula green, and then the 12th, named “High Five”, a risk-reward 548-yard par 5 with a long sweeping dogleg right where cutting the corner is tempting but only the longest of hitters dare try.

No. 16 also gets votes for “signature” honors. It is a 595-yard par 5 with a double dogleg, Dawson’s Creek running down the left side and a lake on the right with another stream cutting across the front of the green and wrapping around the left.

Once your last putt drops, you can actually fish for trout in the lake behind the 18th hole or you can head to the 19th hole, aptly named “Double or Nothing” to settle your final bets.

Along with its captivating course, Pine Canyon has an award-winning 35,000-square-foot clubhouse with gourmet dining, outdoor dining, whirlpools, a steam room, health and fitness facility and a full-service spa that offers manicures and massages.

Pine Canyon also has its own trail system and it’s just two miles to historic Walnut Canyon where Sinagua Indians built their dwellings into the cliff faces over 800 years ago; in 1915 it was declared a national monument. It’s worth the short drive to see the remnants of this remarkable feat.

Central Arizona Northern Arizona Wickenburg

Wickenburg Country Club

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Golfers who are familiar with the “old” Wickenburg Country Club, but haven’t teed it up here in a few years, will be pleasantly surprised to discover how much things have changed, and all for the better. This was the first course built in Wickenburg, opening in 1949, and was designed by the father-son duo of William F. Bell and William P. Bell, who made a name for themselves in the Southwest by creating such gems as Torrey Pines in San Diego and Papago Municipal Golf Course in Phoenix.

Wickenburg CC was created as a private club, but in 2006, at a time when many courses were scaling back, it expanded, adding a second nine. One result is that it became a semi-private club that welcomes public play but still sells full memberships and, in 2011, waived the initiation fee.

Wickenburg CC is a desert-style layout with rolling hills that puts a premium on accuracy rather than length, with tight fairways lined by mature trees being common. The front is devoid of water but it comes into play on four holes of the new nine. The par-71 layout now has three sets of tees at 6,320, 5,562 and 4,674 yards with a rating of 70.5 and slope of 128 from the back tees.

The course serves up plenty of birdie opportunities for golfers who keep their shots under control, particularly on the par-5 holes, which play at 454, 509 and 513 yards. The latter is the finishing hole and the longest on the course. The fourth hole, a 373-yard par 4, remains the No. 1 handicap hole, but there are a couple challenging par 3s at 235 and 229 yards.

The design is a little unconventional because the front nine has just one par 3 and one par 5 and the back features three par-3 holes in a four-hole stretch. The expansion project also included a new clubhouse that has full dining facilities at Ringo’s Restaurant, a lounge bar, snack shop and an open patio with circular views of the course and surrounding mountains. Practice facilities include a driving range, putting green, practice green and practice bunker.

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Northern Arizona Page

Lake Powell National Golf Course

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Looking over this northeast Arizona landscape, or is it “moonscape,” you might wonder if you’re playing golf on another planet. The answer is “no, it just appears that way” as Lake Powell National is constructed on a high mesa outcropping of red sandstone that contrasts with the lush green fairways to create a surreal scene.

More difficult is figuring out how they convinced that green carpet to grow here. Turns out, it took a few sticks of dynamite and several years of nurturing to accomplish the task and the result truly is one of Arizona’s hidden golf course gems.

Lake Powell National bills itself as the “Crown Jewel” of golf in northern Arizona and that’s not just hype. Having most likely driven to this part of Arizona, one of the first things to strike you is the golf course features the only grass you’ve seen in some time, as this is where the federal government chose to build Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, creating Lake Powell.

Lake Powell provides water storage for drought-plagued Arizona, but a major side benefit was creating a recreation paradise featuring 186-miles of boating waterways, with 96 major canyons and 1,960 miles of shoreline.

The golf course, designed by Tempe architect William Phillips, takes full advantage of what nature and man created here, with a golf course that opened in 1995 and has received as many as four stars from Golf Digest.

Here’s more good news: Lake Powell National is officially deemed a municipal course owned by the town of Page, which translates to reasonable green fees. The permanent population is rather sparse in these parts so you can often tee it up without even scheduling a tee time in advance.

Lake Powell National overlooks the dam, Lake Powell and Vermillion Cliffs; the course is loaded with stunning vistas and excellent, challenging golf holes. From the tips, which stretch to 7,030 yards, Lake Powell National is rated at 73.4 with a slope of 145, which means you need to pay attention to something besides the surroundings. There are four sets of tees, with the shortest playing at 3,850 yards.

The two nines are known as the Upper and Lower Mesas, with a 300-foot elevation change between them. The back-9 is the most memorable but the course starts pretty strong with a 524-yard par-5 that has a lake in play on the tee shot. The par-3 2nd demands a 203-yard tee ball that must carry water.

The views on the back-9 are captivating and the four-hole stretch starting at No. 11 is the highlight of the round. This workout begins with a 510-yard par-5, the 12th is a 394-yard par-4, then a 207-yard carry at the par-3 13th, to a green that appears to be suspended in mid-air, and finishes with the (gulp) 508-yard par-4 fourteenth.

For many players, the par-3 15th is considered the signature hole. Called “Cliffhanger,” the par-3 plays to 191 yards with a 175-foot drop to the green below and has an official looking sign warning golfers: “Caution! Cliff Edge.”

It should read “Go to your golf bag, grab all your old balls and use them here.”

Next up is the par-4 458-yard 16th called “Widowmaker” that’s framed by the Mesa of the Dead. The 17th wins the thrill-ride award; it’s a monster par-5 that rambles 641 yards down the hill and over a creek, twice!

The finishing stretch may wear you out, but that just makes the 19th hole even more inviting; the Veranda Bar & Grille offers up great fare and some incredible views, particularly at sunset.

Lake Powell National also has excellent practice facilities, including two putting greens, and offers stay-and-play packages with several nearby hotels. If you have extra time to spend in the area before or after your round, time on and around Lake Powell is worth every minute you can spare.

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA “Local Hang” for Lake Powell National is right where you are; the Veranda has you front and center for one of the finest sunset shows Mother Nature and man have produced anywhere in the world.

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