Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club is home to two outstanding Tom Fazio courses and a 50 room boutique hotel that is perfect for a golf stay and play. Playing golf on either course is a challenging and memorable experience enhanced by the beauty of the lush desert foliage, mountain vistas, and the Sonoran wildlife.
Each of the two courses have their own unique personality and characteristics. The Mountain Course winds it way up and down the Santa Catalina Mountains and has some stunning holes, outstanding desert scenery, and majestic panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountain ranges and the Tucson valley. The Mountain Course is the most well known, primarily because of "the most photographed hole west of the Mississippi. The Mountain Course is a little longer from the back tees and is the hardest of the 36 holes with a rating of 73.2 and slope of 145 versus the Canyon's 71.9 rating and 139 slope.
Ventana Canyon's Canyon Course meanders through the Esperero Canyon and leverages the natural desert terrain to add challenges, elevation changes, and scenic beauty to your round.
Both courses have excellent conditions, first class service, and top notch facilities. The Lodge at Ventana Canyon has some excellent stay and play packages as does the four star Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. When you stay here make sure you play both courses for a fantastic golf experience. In fact, just riding the golf cart on what seems like a 100 miles of trails that lead up and down the mountains, twist and turn through the canyon, and wind through the cactus and desert fauna is a fun and scenic experience.
Speaking of cactus, the Saguaro cactus are amazing – tall (over 30') and stately and all shapes and sizes some with several golf balls embedded in their arms and body! During your round on either course you're likely to see an abundance of wildlife – coveys of Gambel's quail, red-tailed hawks, bobcats, deer, rabbits, coyotes, and roadrunners.
The Canyon Course has two distinct nines – the front doesn't seem like a Tom Fazio design, which are traditionally very challenging. The front nine of the Canyon Course has wide expansive forgiving and contoured fairways and more traditional straightforward holes. Whereas the back nine seems much more challenging with some really fun (some might say tricked up) holes, steep and deep bunkers, dog legs, and forced carries. On the back you'll find steep and deep bunkers, tough approaches, roller coaster and sloping greens, risk reward opportunities and lots of cute little bunnies watching me dribble my golf ball down the fairway! The back has some really fun, unique, challenging, and memorable holes, for example:
- #10 is a short 336 yard par four but it has a huge rock outcropping next to the left side of the green and two deep bunkers on the right side of the oblong and severely sloping green
- #12 is a challenging 574 yard par 5 with a carry over a lake from the tips to a sloping fairway that dog legs right then heads uphill past berms and mounds to a green with severe left to right slope
- #13, a short 158 yard par three, requires some target golf to nail the green with no room for error from a dramatically elevated tee box
- #18 is a beautiful million dollar finishing wit a stunning pond and waterfall flowing from in front of Loews Ventana Resort to another pond which surrounds the back side of the green
The fairways, bunkers, and greens were in near perfect condition when we played. Most of the fairways are ample and fair, but don't miss them. The greens vary in shape and most are average size for the Tucson area. But you'll find greens that are elevated, well guarded, and have plenty of slope and undulation. They were running a good speed of around 9 to 10. Most of the bunkers are deep and steep faced with firm sand.
Bottom line – a fantastic Tom Fazio layout where the front nine warms you up for the back – fun, challenging, memorable, and scenic!
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Service is top notice, the facilites are excellent, and the course is well maintained. There are two pro shops, two restaurants, and a snack bar with good burgers, dogs, and sandwiches - one of the pro shops is at Loews and the other is at the Lodge At Ventanta Canyon. Pace of play is excellent and the practice facilites are great.