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.

Oro Valley Southern Arizona Tucson

Vistoso Golf Club

Arizona Golf Course Reviews: Located just north of Tucson, the Golf Club at Vistoso marks Tom Weiskopf’s first solo design effort after he parted with architect Jay Morrish and it’s obvious from the get-go that the former PGA Tour pro had a real knack for creating memorable golf holes.

Golf Club at Vistoso

Vistoso is Spanish for “colorful views” and the course offers plenty due to its setting in the picturesque Santa Catalina Mountains, with panoramic views of the nearby Tortolita and Tucson Mountains.

It is a true desert course with all the forced carries one would expect on that style of layout, combined with concepts from classic designers Alister Mackenize, A.W. Tillinghast and Donald Ross including Winged Foot-type finger bunkers and elongated rectangular tee boxes.

The native desert flora and fauna produce a virtual rainbow of colors in cooler months and desert wildlife is abundant here. Little wonder then that after it opened it was nominated by Golf Digest for “Best New Course of the Year” in 1997.

Vistoso has four sets of tees, stretching to 6,932 yards, with a rating of 72.1 and a hefty slope of 147. The front tees play at 5,095 yards.

Head and shoulders above all the great holes here is the signature offering is No. 14, named “Risky.” Every course Weiskopf has designed since features this type of memorable, risk-reward hole but few if any are better than this.

The par-4 measures 350 yards but, because of the dogleg configuration, the green is drivable for long hitters. It has a split fairway and playing to the end of the first portion leaves a 100-yard shot over desert transition to the pin. Hitting to the second portion of fairway leaves a shorter approach but it is to a shallow green with a large bunker in front and three more behind.

No. 8 is memorable as well. The par-4 plays at 389 yards from the tips with a sweeping dogleg left that has a large lake inside the elbow. The lake extends along the left side, wraps behind the green and is backed by a waterfall. Two large bunkers guard the right side of the green and a pot bunker looms on the left side.

The most photographed, however, is the third hole, a 166-yard par-3 named “Tillinghast” in honor of its classic design. The tee shot must find an elevated putting surface featuring two mammoth bunkers on the left side, with the rugged Catalina Mountains serving up a glorious backdrop.

Practice facilities and amenities here are top notch, including the Tortolita Terrace, which is a great spot to relax with wonderful views after the round. The Golf Club at Vistoso is part of the Wildcat Trail network, a local program which offers discounted golf to its members at several of Tucson’s finest courses.

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

Central Arizona Mesa

Dreamland Villa Golf Course

Arizona Golf Course Reviews – Arizona Golf Authority

Dreamland Villa’s public 9-hole executive course is part of the Dreamland community, the first active-adult golf community created by Farnsworth Developers, which began building for retirees in Mesa in the late-1950s. You’ll find two sets of tees at 1,936 and 1,763 yards, level par of 31 and a course rating of 57.6 for an 18-hole loop from the back tees.

The golf course features four par-4 holes and five par 3s; two lakes bring water into play on four holes. Par 3s range from 118-157 yards, which just happen to be the eighth and ninth holes, and both require tee shots over the same lake, which also guards the green at the par-4 second hole.

Another lake is positioned between the fourth and fifth holes, and threatens both the 140-yard par 3 and the 261-yard par 4. The longest hole on the course is the 338-yard par-4 seventh, where wild-right tee shots may also be rinsed for free.

Dreamland does not have a driving range but does have putting and chipping greens available and a café. In 2011, the course adopted a “closed for the summer” policy which may continue in future years.

Farnsworth also created the nearby Sunland Springs Village Golf Course development with three nine-hole executive courses that spans 900 acres.

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

Casa Grande Central Arizona

Tierra Grande Golf Course

Arizona Golf Course List – Arizona Golf Authority Golf Course Guide

The golf course at Tierra Grande, located just west of Casa Grande, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, recently underwent a major makeover.

Originally designed by Arthur “Jack” Snyder, it opened in 1978 as a nine-hole course and has now expanded to 18, with nine new holes interspersed with the existing nine. The course boasts level par of 67 shots, which is generous considering the modest length of the course; new slope and course rating figures are due for assignment in 2012.

From the back tees it plays at 4,433 yards, 3,990 yards from the forward set. Water comes into play on two holes – the par-4 third at 261 yards and the par-3 seventh at 126 yards. Tierra Grande has a putting green available but no driving range and has a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. This is a budget play with rates below $25 most of the year.

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

Central Arizona Phoenix

Vistal Golf Club

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Vistal Golf Club takes advantage of its central Phoenix location and offers up great golf and the best views of the city’s skyline from a fairway, anywhere in town.

Vistal Golf Club

Originally designed by Arizona golf legend Johnny Bulla, the golf course opened in 1957 as the Thunderbird Country Club. The course received a major redesign in 2000 by PGA Tour Design Services, who assigned local resident tour player consultants Howard Twitty, Tom Lehman and Billy Mayfair to the job.

The local boys produced a gem that re-opened in November of 2001 as the Vistal Golf Club to accolades all around. Quickly named a “Top 10 New Public Course in the U.S.” by Sports Illustrated, Vistal Golf Club was selected as the host course for two local U.S. Open qualifying tournaments.

Some of Bulla’s original holes remain intact, particularly on the front nine, and the new back nine winds up through the rugged mountain foothills while maintaining a traditional feel. Four sets of tees range from 7,013 to 5,235 yards with a rating of 72.9 and slope of 129 from the tips, 69.4 and 116 from the most forward tees. More than 80 bunkers add to the challenge and three lakes bring water into play on six holes, most notably at the third, the ninth and 18th.

Vistal entertains right from the start and begins with a birdie, a bogey and the anything from a 2 through “I’m in my pocket” third hole.

The 526-yard par-5 first features an elevated tee and fairway-pinching bunkers in the landing area. Negotiate them successfully and make a putt to bag an opening birdie. The second is a classic 440-yard par-4, straightaway; both the yardage and a swale in the center of the generous green produce a lot of bogeys here.

The par-3 third hole at Vistal is a birdie hole when the pin is left; but if the cup is cut in the right half of the green, you can make numbers that won’t fit on your card. Playing just 167 yards from the tips, 108 forward, the right half of the green is a lake-wrapped peninsula that demands precise yardage control from the tee. You can drown several pieces of ammo if you’re a bit short, a bit long or just a little bit right of your intended line of play. Tournament golf; play left and card a two-putt par – recreational golf; have some fun and have a go.

As you would expect, the PGA Tour player’s authored a strong finishing stretch at Vistal Golf Club. The 16th is 438-yard par-4 with an angry green surface devoid of a single flat spot more than 4-feet in diameter; it’s still a lot of fun to putt. The 17th is 597 yards of 5-par golf into the prevailing breeze in these parts; just play for par.

18th Green - Vistal Golf Club

The par-4 18th is a terrific tournament golf closer. Playing at 427 yards, the tee ball must be shaped into a fairway running on a diagonal to the tee, miss a little left and your second will be played from a bunker. A lake runs along the left side of the fairway, and the left side of the green wraps behind it, so depending on pin placement, you may need to carry it on the approach. Two well struck shots produce a routine birdie putt, but miss either shot just a hair and the leader board can change quite dramatically.

Vistal offers full practice facilities, complete with classic rock music piped in. After the round, the Blue Pig Patio is a good place to relax with excellent views of several holes and the Phoenix skyline in the distance.

Originally, some holes on the back-nine holes were located west of 7th Street. As part of the 2000 redesign, that property has been re-crafted as the Thunderbirds Par-3 Course and the official home of the First Tee of Phoenix program. Designed by Tom Fazio, the course plays at about 600 yards and level par of 27.

After golf, as long as you’re in the neighborhood, spend some time and check out two more Phoenix originals. The entrance to South Mountain Park is just down the street, south on Central Avenue, and you can make the short drive up to the 1,000-foot summit for the view; it’s spectacular, day or night.

And if you’re on south Central Avenue, at #8684 you’ll drive right past one of the best meals in town at the family owned and operated restaurant, Los Dos Molinos. Named by Victoria “The Two Grinders” for the chili grinders she and her husband Eddie each received from their grandmothers, this is hand-crafted New Mexico style cuisine presented in a small, homey atmosphere. The food is great because as Victoria says, “There’s no assembly line here, my daughters and I prepare each dish, with one helper at most.”

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