Lush fairways, a trio of lakes, and more than 1,500 mature trees comprise the Golf Course at Francisco Grande Hotel and Golf Resort. It's all part of the vision of renowned architect Ralph Plummer, a man known for his uncanny ability to shape greens and bunkers by the eye instead of first sketching them on a Magna Doodle. Visitors reap the benefits of Plummer's picturesque design as they work their way across the par 72 course, especially at the signature third hole, where they step up to a two-tiered elevated tee. Beautiful as this course is, though, it's not architect Plummer's only masterwork: his portfolio also includes Shady Oaks Country Club, the home course of golf icon Ben Hogan.
Course at a Glance
The Bear Creek Golf Complex contains two courses with very different challenges. Stretching across 3,552 yards, the par 59 Cub Course tests experienced players with swales and collection areas but is also a good way to ease beginners into the game. On the par 71 Bear Course, meanwhile, golfers pit their skills against rolling fairways and strategic bunkering.
GolfTEC has three convenient locations in the Phoenix area and one in Tucson, all staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of golfing robotics. Motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor the golfer’s swing and break it down on a high-definition video display. GolfTEC’s PGA specialists point out golfers' flaws and strengths, and coach them on how to permanently improve their game, from tee to green. Sensors chirp with approval when golfers execute a perfect stroke or crack an especially witty golfing joke. Customers will also benefit from a $10 gift certificate to Golfsmith, the golf equipment superstore housing GolfTEC’s Chandler, Scottsdale, and Tucson locations. Each of Golfsmith's four Arizona locations is stocked with cutting-edge equipment and custom-fitted clubs.
At Whirlwind Golf Club, 36 holes appear as emerald gashes on the surrounding arid landscape while the Superstition Mountains and Sierra Estrella paint a craggy buffer between the horizon and the blue skies above. The verdant path is divided into two 18-hole courses—Cattail and Devil's Claw—each measuring more than 7,000 yards from the longest tees. On Cattail, the longer of the two, three large ponds and a stream intersect the course, along with numerous bunkers, canyons, and tumbleweeds unafraid to roll right over putting lines. Devil's Claw, meanwhile, pits players against many of the same elements, including blind tee shots and classic risk-reward gambles over watery doglegs.
The Cattail Course at a Glance:
The Devil's Claw Course at a Glance:
Technically, Lone Tree Golf Club is a misnomer—the course has more than just one tree—but it still reflects the general makeup of the course. The course has a few smatterings of palm trees, relying instead on five ponds, grizzled desert waste areas, and contoured greens to rattle players' confidence as they transition from hole to hole. At one of the ponds, an elaborate waterfall sends sheets of water tumbling down four rocky tiers; on another, a central fountain sends a vertical ribbon of mist into the air to memorialize all golf balls that have perished in its depths.
Course at a Glance:
Sculpted in the foreground of the Superstition Mountains, Mountain Brook Golf Club charms golfers with a 6,620-yard course that blankets the arid desert with immaculate fairways and greens. Water hazards, crushed-marble sand traps, and desert wilderness await balls that stray from their path due to an open clubface or the desire to snuggle a cactus.
The club's 12-acre practice facility blasts bogeys off scorecards with a full-length grass-tee driving range, a putting green, and two short-game practice areas where players can rehearse greenside chips, bunker shots, and approaches from as far as 100 yards. Brand-name golf apparel and equipment populates the pro shop, which sells merchandise emblazoned with the Mountain Brook Golf Club logo for those looking to obtain a souvenir from their round without having to adopt a rambunctious tumbleweed.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Length of 6,620 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 69.4 from the farthest tees
Three tee options