The 9th on the Gold Course at Omni Tucson National

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

TUCSON - With high profile courses like Ventana, La Paloma, the Raven at Sabino Springs, Vistoso, and the TPC at Starr Pass, it is easy to forget where Tucson's lone PGA Tour event is held each year. That venue, for those of you scoring at home, is the Omni Tucson National Resort and Spa.

Stylistically, Omni National is the antithesis of what you've come to expect from desert golf. The architecture is traditional, the vegetation is mature, lush, and of the tree persuasion, and "hazards" mean things like water, sand, and the like.

But make no mistake. Omni National will give you all you want from the tips, as well as from the middle tees. If you are not a long driver of the ball, then prepare to invoke some serious course management to get down in par or bogey.

The 9th Hole on the Gold Course (Omni National features 27 holes of championship golf) is a perfect example of how non-desert style target golf can still challenge the best of golfers. According to Assistant Pro Dave Simms, the 9th, which plays as the 18th for the Tucson Open as well as for the casual round' is one of the toughest finishing holes on the PGA Tour.

The Hole: The 9th Hole on the Gold Course at Omni Tucson National - a par-4 that plays 439 yards from the tips, 414 from the middle tees, and 342 from the ladies tees. Tee boxes and fairways are Bermuda grass, while the greens are Bermuda mixed with Poa Trivialas.

Architect: Bruce Harris, 1960

The Layout: A more precarious hole Tucson, Arizona has not produced. There is no room for error on the hole, what with water lining the fairway to the left and the right. The tee shot is borders on blind, and will invariably leave a long to mid iron for the approach shot, to what Simms calls a "huge , severely sloping green.

The Strategy: The low handicap, long hitting golfer needs to take all he or she can off the tee in order to get home in two. If you are naturally a fader of the ball, be careful not to cut too much, as the pond to the right will swallow up any miss hits.

The Average Golfer: "Most of our members play this hole like a par-5," says Simms. "They play it like a three shoter, and they lay up inside the 100 yard marker."

Don't Play: A high fade off the tee, or a duck hook on the approach shot. Either one will end up in the drink.

Play the Hole: In the evening, this can be one of the most beautiful holes in Tucson, as the sun drops below the green and the sky boasts hues of pink and yellow.

Wanna Play?

DRESS CODE: No denim, collared shirt and bermuda shorts required.
SEASON: Open all year
TEE TIMES: Accepted 7 days in advance.
PRO SHOP PHONE: 800-767-3574.
PRO SHOP OPENS: 7:00 a.m.

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 from 1997 to 2003.

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