Ocotillo Golf Resort Revolutionizes the Golf Vacation

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

CHANDLER, AZ - If you've ever taken a golf vacation, you've probably booked a suite or room at a resort, and then had the concierge or golf director arrange your tee times at surrounding golf courses.

What if you found a golf course you love, and you wanted to approach the trip from the opposite angle, having the golf course secure your accommodations?

This style of "reverse" marketing is fully operational at the Ocotillo Golf Resort, and Executive Vice President Tom Bishop says is might revolutionize the way golf trips are planned in the Valley of the Sun.

"Generally, we go in on bended knee and ask hotels to send us their guests, but now we are using reverse marketing to send them patrons," Bishop says. "We put in a concierge center here at the course and we changed the name from Ocotillo Golf Club to Ocotillo Resort, signifying that you can have a complete stay and play deal right here."

Bishop says that Ocotillo has corporate rates with a number of resorts and hotels in the South Valley, ranging from the garden-variety chains to five star resorts. The new service is part of an overall bolstering of guest services at this award-winning golf facility, a strategy that Bishop believes makes Ocotillo the premier golf stop in the area.

"We have used a process of bench marking competitive Arizona courses, and we've developed a list of amenities that match any course in the area," he says. "And our golf course has been lengthened to over 7000 yards, and is continually rated with four stars by Golf Digest. Other four and four and a half star courses in the valley charge over $200 in the peak season, but we keep our rate around $150."

Other recent improvements at Ocotillo include the enclosing of the event area where weddings are held Friday through Sunday. Bishop says that the facility is now available for business seminars Monday through Friday, and that the enclosed area can hold up to 250 people.

On the golf course, all carts have now been outfitted with GPS units, and the course's blue, white and gold nines have been lengthen to just under 7100 yards to provide a true championship golf experience from the back tees.

"The last amenity that we were looking for was a golf school, and VIP Advantage Golf is now located here and they are one of the best one on one schools in the country," Bishop says.

Ocotillo operates one of the Top 25 proshops in the country, as rated by Golf Business Magazine, and the Ted Robinson designed course is in the best shape since it's opening. Ocotillo's three nines come together to provide a player friendly golf experience, devoid of the penal target golf that dominates so many courses in the Valley.

Bishop says he is also excited about Ocotillo's location in the up-and-coming Chandler area.

"On the external side, Chandler, where we are located, has equaled the playing field with Scottsdale," he says. "Now we have West Corp, a mall developer, that opened the most elite retail shopping facility in Arizona five minutes from the club. We have the new freeway, 101, that is open and you can get from northern Phoenix to here quicker than you can get to Troon or Boulders."

Ocotillo was also voted the "Most Wired Course in the Valley." Check it out online at www.ocotillogolfclub.com.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Ocotillo, Schmocotillo

    Jay wrote on: Feb 5, 2008

    You must be kidding; this course has more bird crap on the greens that the Phoenix zoo's bird house. Bring an ample supply of towels and some hand sanitizer to use lifting your ball. More phonied up water carries by tee placement than I've seen on a beach course; cheez! And, the 9th hole of each nine should be a 5 par realistically fellas, come on; we're not all el tigre.