Tucson's Crooked Tree Golf Course
A Great Find In A Desert Setting...don't miss this one!
Story & Photos by: Ed Stone
(Some photos provided by courses.)
The Crooked Tree Golf Club practice facility is well designed, practice facility providing a variety of short game shots from sand traps and beyond, spacious driving range for full swing shots.
When Lee Trevino and Dave Bennett, ASGCA, designed Crooked Tree Golf Course in 1977, they created one of those pleasant surprises not often found in the search for a nice golf course with reasonable rates. On a recent visit to Tucson, we found time to slip in a round but did not want to overload and already spent budget. Crooked Tree was highly recommended by one of the hotel’s front desk employees. The course is a short 10 minute drive from downtown Tucson.
Five of the 18 holes have water that does or can come into play.
We found the golf shop to be adequately equipped with rental clubs and other items we needed to play 18 holes. The staff was most accommodating and worked us in with another couple who were delightful and visiting the area from Denver. I might add that the grille serves up a very delicious hamburger, fries and other tasty sandwiches. The price to play was a great bargain. Rather than put a price here, just go on line at: www.crookedtreegc.com and you’ll be able to book a tee time that fits your schedule and pocketbook. The golf director and manager is Brian Stevens with Wildcat Partners, the overall operators of this Pima County owned facility. They do an impeccable job of taking care of the course, clubhouse and CUSTOMERS.
The Crooked Tree Golf Club practice facility is well designed and offers a 13,000 sq ft. putting green, a separate pitching green providing a variety of short game shots from sand traps and beyond, as well as a large, spacious driving range for full swing shots. For people living in the area, this is a perfect place to sharpen their game whether playing the beautiful course or wanting some time for improving their swing.
Once on the course, we found it to be a fairly traditional layout with generous fairways, small greens and ample chipping areas surrounding the green complexes. The ideal setting of Crooked Tree makes it more special as you play and view the beautiful ironwoods, mesquites and saguaros of the Sonoran Desert. The rugged terrain and scenery surrounding the course is only enhanced by the fact that no homes are lining its fairways…just the rugged beauty of the desert southwest.
You would think that water hazards would not come into play in this part of the country. Well, at least five of the 18 holes have water that does or can come into play. There are three water basins on the course used for irrigation. The layout allows for excellent use of these small lakes, making the course just that much more enjoyable and challenging. The par 72, 7,062 yards Crooked Tree course has a 72.2 rating, and 132 slope making it a pleasure to play by the intermediate and scratch golfer.
Overall, the Tucson area is just as delightful as the Phoenix/Scottsdale region, located about 90 minutes north. This is truly a great golfing destination with more mountains, elevations and slightly cooler in the late spring, summer and fall. Even in the heat of summer, golfing can be enjoyed in the early morning and late evening with comfortable temperatures. In addition to the Crooked Tree Golf Course, the following are just a few of the excellent golf courses in the Tucson area and we can highly recommend them.
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain:
In 2009, the Golf Club at Dove Mountain was presented to a global audience. Hosting the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship gave the Tucson area a way to showcase more than just desert. This is when the top 64 plyers in the World Rankings came and enjoyed the gorgeous course designed by Jack Nicklaus. He created one of his many Signature courses in a terrain that allows for scenic views from almost every tee and green…and in between. Nicklaus can take lots of pride in the way he created 27 holes among the saguaros surrounded by the Tortolita Mountain Range.
Preserve at SaddleBrooke:
Using the Santa Catalina Mountains as a backdrop to some of Arizona’s best golf experience, the Preserve at SaddleBrooke rates in the top tier. This is one of the unique locations in all of “The Grand Canyon State.”
The 18-hole championship Preserve Golf Course plays to 7,006 yards from the tips and is a par 72 layout. Well worth your time and dollars to play this one, if nothing more than to enjoy the spectacular views.
Rio Rico Country Club:
Rio Rico Golf Club and Tubac Resort was recently named “a hidden gem” by the automobile club of Arizona. The article described Rio Rico with “fabulous foothills with mountain backdrops” and one of Robert Trent Jones signature golf courses.
Jones finished the construction of Rio Rico in 1971, at the height of his career. His philosophy of risk reward architecture is never more evident than at Rio Rico. Huge bunkers and greens, strategically placed hazards, and multiple dog legs all place a premium on shot making. Jones also was obsessed with making sure the lay-out complimented and even improved the natural beauty of the land…and he achieved it with Rio Rico GC. With a championship length of 7200 yards, Rio Rico has been the site of multiple PGA sponsored events.
Winding through the canyons and arroyos of this fabulous 600-acre high Sonoran Desert preserve are the two spectacular Tom Fazio-designed championship golf courses that are on every list of the nation's very best.
The golf experience at Ventana Canyon offers a unique blend of challenge and playability. Both the Mountain and the Canyon courses meander from one unique hole to another. Four sets of tees allow each player to test his or her ability on a well-marked and manicured course. A spacious practice facility, an award winning Pro Shop with an attractive line of clothing, equipment and merchandise, and a player service staff to meet your every need all come together to round out a truly memorable day and an unforgettable round.
Vistoso Golf Club:
The Golf Club at Vistoso is part of the master-planned community, Rancho Vistoso, located in Northwest Tucson. Although part of a large development, you are still able to get the feel for being in the middle of the desert on every hole. No two holes run parallel to each other as the golf course is designed in a figure eight flow. At Vistoso, pristine Sonoran desert plays host to stately saguaros, beautiful desert flora and Spectacular Mountain views.
Designed by Tom Weiskopf, this par-72 course offers yardage ranges from 6,932 for championships, to 5,165 for ladies and juniors. With every hole a "postcard," this true desert golf experience is challenging yet playable.
Voted "Best Course in Tucson" by Golf Digest in 1999 and the "Number three public course in Arizona," the Golf Club at Vistoso has acquired a reputation for creating the perfect golf experience by providing the highest level of quality service and maintaining an immaculate facility that exceeds the player's expectations.
Vistoso has a state of the art practice facility with front and back tees on the range, a large putting green and a fairway bunker on the range for extensive practice. Vistoso is host to the Arizona Golf Academy.
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