Quintero Country Club: A Rising Star in Phoenix's West Valley

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

Peoria, Ariz. - Gary McClung owns the largest volume Ford dealership in the U.S., so when the Kansas City, Mo. based business mogul decided to open a golf course, you can be sure he didn't cut any corners.

First there was location.

McClung wanted a breathtaking piece of land located in a moderate climate with excellent access to a full service, international airport. Being a member at Scottsdale's Troon Golf Club, McClung also wanted to locate the course in an affluent area that would have the demographics to support an upscale, private country club.

After testing the waters in San Diego, Napa Valley and Scottsdale, McClung opted for a tract of land surrounded by a federal land reserve at the foot of the Hieroglyphic Mountains in Phoenix's west valley.

Then there was the architect. McClung sought out Rees Jones, a.k.a. the U.S. Open doctor, to design his dream course and put it on equal footing as some of the Valley's swankest addresses.

On November 3, 2000, location, designer, and owner in synch, the Founders Course of the Quintero Golf and Country Club sprung to life in a remote corner of Peoria, thus changing the landscape of upscale golf in the west valley.

"This is about one man's vision and dream to own and operate a golf course," says Quintero head professional Brad Nielson. "Finally he decided to go for it and do it. He contacted Rees Jones through a mutual friend and they decided on the piece of land. Jones routed the course and designed it with the owner's input and here we are today."

At the Founders Course, Jones used a combination of generous fairway landing areas and gently undulating greens to endear his layout to members almost overnight. Nielson says that Jones eschewed the typical desert target course design philosophy for a more player friendly approach.

"I got to walk the fairways quite a bit with Rees as the owner's liaison, and he kept telling me about how he wanted to put the fun back into golf," Nielson said. "One of the best things about this course is that it is straight-forward, but it gets harder as you get towards the green complexes."

Nielson says that Jones didn't design one bad golf hole at Quintero, but a number of holes stand out above and beyond the others.

The No. 6 is a par 3 with over 110 feet of elevation change from tee box to green, and the par 3 ninth serves up a 60-foot drop with a tee shot over a lake. If you like par 5's, the three shot No. 14 hole could be your favorite. The hole features 16 bunkers and is often compared to the ninth hole at Jones' famed Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

And as far as the artist himself is concerned, Nielson says he finally did catch Jones doting over one of his creations.

"No. 8 is Rees's favorite hole but he wouldn't say it," Nielson says. "Every time we got to the green he would say, man this is a great hole. The dogleg makes it impossible to get on in two, and it goes uphill into the valley."

Quintero will add another 18 holes to its compound in the fall of 2003. Greg Norman is designing the Charter Course, which has already been routed through the property.

Quintero Overview

Quintero Golf & Country Club is a low-density, private membership club located 45 minutes north of Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport. It comprises 283 homesites, including 85 estate lots sized up to 14 acres. Homesites and golf villas will be available for sale in late 2001. Club membership is by invitation only - no real estate purchase is necessary - however, only Quintero members may buy real estate. Membership is non-equity and, upon completion of the second golf course, will be limited to 700 members.

Among its amenities are 36 holes of golf (the 7,174-yard Jones-designed Founders Course opened in November, and the Greg Norman-crafted Charter Course will break ground in 2002); a planned clubhouse, walking/hiking trails, private heliport, welcome center and a proactive concierge service that arranges tee times, housing, dining, airport limousine transportation, pantry/ refrigerator restocking and more. Also, the 10,000-acre Lake Pleasant recreation area (fishing, boating, marina) is located just seven miles east of Quintero.

What to Expect

Developed in the North Valley of Metro Phoenix, Arizona, the Founders Course of Quintero Golf Club offers it's private members a chance to conquer challenging holes and observe natural beauty that surrounds the course.

The course borders acres of protected desert wilderness, and picturesque mountain views are plentiful. The most notable grouping of holes are the par three's, which have been boasted to be some of the best in the west.

In 2003, 18 more holes will be finished, to be named the Charter Course, and will only add to the experience of Quintero.

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.

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