Forty Niner a Golden Course for Throwback Golfers

By Ryan Finley, Contributor

TUCSON - The ESPN Classic Sports television ad asks, "Are you old school?"

If you go

Forty Niner Country Club

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Forty Niner Country Club is an upscale, semi-private facility designed by William Francis Bell and known for its lush, mature landscaping and excellent course conditioning. It is lined with mesquite, giant cottonwood, eucalyptus and weeping willow trees.

18 Holes | Semi-Private golf course | Par: 72 | 6641 yards | Book online | ... details »

If you're not sure whether or not you prescribe to the playing traditions and styles of golfers past, I have one suggestion: play the Forty Niner Country Club off of Tanque Verde Road in Tucson to find out.

A visual oasis in a town filled with desert-style courses, the Forty Niner is one of a kind in Tucson. Assistant golf pro Wendy Rasmussen explains.

"The course really makes you feel like you're in the country," she said. "I like the desert courses, I play the desert courses, but this is a nice change."

On the Forty Niner course, one can find many challenges. The largest of all of them, however, comes on the third hole, which is a par 3, 167 yarder.

A bunker looms on the right side of the green. The small green slopes front to back, making it nearly impossible to land on.

"It's really weird," Rasmussen said. "If the shot is long, it never stays on. If the shot is short, it won't run up. Basically, the ball will stop exactly where it lands."

The strange green aside, the Forty Niner third hole is unlike many holes in the city on Tucson. Rasmussen recommends that golfers play it one of two ways.

"Try to hit it up high," she advises. "If you land it short, it'll never hop up there. People forget this is a long par three."

Another way would be to try to try a knockdown shot. "You can try to knock down with a four or five iron," Rasmussen said. "From there, you can run it up the short slope and onto the green."

The third hole is just the tip of the iceberg with the course that some claim has the most personality in town.

The Forty Niner just became open to non-members a month ago. Currently, members of the Country Club have priority tee-times, while non-members are open to play in the less-desirable times. Since the integration, business has boomed, according to Rassmussen.

"Business has jumped 50%, maybe more," she said. "Most of the people that play the course for the first time find it very enjoyable. The course, as a whole, is very user-friendly."

For those who are truly "old-school", Rasmussen encourages joining the Country Club full-time.

"You can play every day and not get sick of it," she said. "It's so different than any other place in town, it can be a different place at different times."

Ryan Finley, Contributor

A sophomore majoring in journalism at the University of Arizona, Ryan is the volleyball beat writer for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the student voice of the U of A.

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