Tag Archives: Arizona

Enroute to the LPGA

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Most golfers wonder what it would be like to play on tour. We’re playing a Pro-Am on the Symetra Tour this morning and enroute to the golf course, I’m wondering if the lesson I had yesterday will straighten my wayward drives.

The Symetra Tour, a well-travelled road to the LPGA, makes its inaugural stop in Mesa, Arizona at the Longbow Golf Course.  At the end of each season, the top-10 money winners on the Symetra Tour earn LPGA Tour membership for the following year. Top alums include Stacy Lewis, Christie Kerr, Karrie Webb, Christina Kim, Angela Stanford, and Song-Hee Kim.

We met our tour pro Tzu Chi Lin on the first tee box and as I’m first up, I’m a little nervous. The format is best ball scramble in four person teams plus the tour pro. On the first tee I pipe my drive down the center of the fairway and thank the Arizona Golf Resort for the lesson. We all have fun contributing to a 10 under round on the beautifully maintained par 72 desert track, set up at 6506 yards.

Good luck to our tour pro Tzu Chi Lin on her 2013 Symetra tour season and thanks to our team-mate Michelle Streeter at Visit Mesa.

Golf Ventana Canyon Tucson

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Both award-winning golf courses at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon are early Tom Fazio designs, offering a true desert golf experience in the Santa Catalina foothills.

As Ventana Canyon is a semi-private club, management reserves one course everyday to accommodate members. The superb Canyon course, best suited to players seeking to avoid hills, is available only on odd-numbered days.

For the best scenery and maximum variety and challenges, try to golf the Mountain course, available to the public and resort guests on even numbered days. Around every bend en route to these tee boxes, golfers encounter endless groves of saguaro cactus against mountain backdrops.

Almost every hole on the Mountain course is exceptional with a few real gems, notably, those with elevated tees. The course is trickier than it looks, but never discouraging. Good shots are easy to make from well – groomed fairways and fairly forgiving rough. Both courses feature excellent signage and generous markers that give three distance readings as per flag position.

Indigenous cacti used in the intricate and attractive landscaping highlight entrances to the tee boxes. Large, shiny stones lacquered in black, gold, silver, turquoise and copper designate a separate tee box (many elevated) for five skill levels.

At first glance, putting appears easy thanks to the generous greens. These are quite undulating however and like many desert courses, hard and fast. When reading these greens, remember everything slopes away from the mountain. When shooting toward the mountains, be aware that the elevation is higher and the hills are steeper than they first appear. Take an extra club.

Ventana Canyon is a natural delight. The outdoor café, adjacent a tee box, hosts a diabetic woodpecker that swoops down to grab brown sugar packets off the tables. Nearby, morning doves, cactus wrens and some 20 quail hover nearby awaiting food scraps. Finches and shimmering red cardinals with orange beaks watch from the safety of the trees. Timid cotton-tailed rabbits prefer the tee boxes while roadrunners and the occasional small, sleek bobcat dart across the fairways.

Signs posted in the golf carts warn of potentially hazardous snakes camouflaged in the surrounding desert rough. Best to let that lost ball lie.

January is a good time to visit, as the weather is warm enough for golf and sometimes even swimming. The acacia trees are in bloom giving off a subtle, sweet fragrance all around the property. February marks the beginning of high season.

Cons:

  • No GPS on carts

Pros:

  • Five sets of tee boxes
  • Laid back golf experience
  • Excellent facilities
  • High handicapper friendly
  • Abundant wildlife

Description:

  • Desert style target courses
  • Full swing practice areas with groomed Bermuda grass
  • Short game range complete with bunkers
  • Two large putting greens
  • Tennis, spa and pool on site
  • Roomy, loft-style rooms available

The Lodge at Ventana Canyon

  • 6200 North Clubhouse Lane,
  • Tucson, Arizona 85750
  • Toll Free: (800) 828-5701
  • Local: (520) 577-1400