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
Saguaro Aquatics' indoor and outdoor swimming pools double as recreational venues and classrooms. Instructors guide swimmers 6 months and older in group or private swimming lessons that cover the techniques for mastering strokes and growing gills. The noncompetitive synchronized-swimming club practices their aquatic art form twice weekly, and boot camp participants jump in and out of the pool for boxing, cardio, and swimming exercises. During Kids' Night Out, little ones enjoy themed games, crafts, and snacks while a projector showcases a kid-appropriate movie on a 15-foot screen. The club recently expanded its portfolio to include the landsport tennis.
With 10 years of PGA teaching experience and a life's worth of personal golf practice, instructor Brad Volker shares the wealth of his sporting knowledge through hands-on lessons customized to each student. Brad starts by using video analysis software to examine the student’s swing and determine which disco song he or she naturally syncs up with. He uses the collected data to devise a game-improvement plan, which he takes care to communicate slowly and in easy-to-grasp terms to prevent info overload. Over the course of one or three lessons, students learn at their own pace until they're skillful enough to land a watermelon in a hole the size of a kiwi. After training, golf grasshoppers study video footage of the day’s lesson with their sensei, who dispenses visual advice along with the film before turning it into a slow motion blooper reel.
Owned and operated by veteran competitive swimmer David Tait, Evo Swim School leads fun, structured classes that tutor young pupils in the watery arts. The classes start swimmers at a young age, introducing babes as young as 9 months to the water, and range up to lessons in advanced strokes that prep 12-year-olds for competitive swimming. The school sets parents' minds at ease with low student-to-teacher ratios; entry level and intermediate classes have one instructor in the pool for every four students.
During classes, parents are free to relax in the WiFi-enabled waiting room, where pool-overlooking windows provide an easy way to keep an eye on paddling young'uns. A kids' play area is also on hand to keep water-shy siblings and rust-prone sibling bots occupied while their amphibious brethren frolic in the water.
Foothills Golf Group’s four golf courses each carry the company’s signature: immaculately groomed sweeping landscapes. The 7,142-yard behemoth that is Club West Golf Club showcases this purity of the turf with a challenging course design filled with elevation changes and stunning views of the surrounding hillsides. The Duke At Rancho El Dorado and The Foothills Golf Club represent classic Arizona golf, leading players along a lush emerald carpet that winds through a desert landscape peppered with shrubs and cacti. The 6,713-yard Ahwatukee Country Club rounds out the portfolio with a fair layout that challenges all skill levels to keep the ball out of the desert sands haunted by the ghost of Peter O'Toole's caddy.