Ventana Canyon -The Ultimate Arizona Experience

By Tanner Nolan, Contributor

TUCSON - If you are looking for the ultimate Arizona golf experience look no further than The Lodge at Ventana Canyon. This secluded resort offers some of the best service in Arizona. The Lodge at Ventana Canyon consists of two golf courses that you can play. The courses are imbedded within the Santa Catalina mountains.

The service at Ventana Canyon is exceptional. Upon arriving at the front gate you will be greeted by name, and the bell man will get your clubs ready and on a cart for your round of golf. While you are golfing the service does not end, but only begins. A cart girl comes around every 4th or 5th hole with refreshments and sandwiches to quench you hunger and thirst. There are also telephones at certain hole were you can place food orders and have it delivered to your cart while you are golfing.

The Mountain Course is the prestigious course to play at Ventana. This course gives even scratch golfers fits with slim fairways and fast greens. The first problem that you will face is driving your ball to the narrow fairway surrounded by desert. If you have straight, long, and accurate drives this should be the least concern. Once you are on the fairway you might think that your troubles are over, but believe me they have just begun. The greens are not only small, but also very hard and fast. Do not be surprised if you find yourself three putting every hole if you are not careful.

The signature hole at Ventana Canyon would be the #3 on the Mountain Course. This hole is known for its scenery. There are mountains that surround three sides of the green, while a deep canyon protects the front. Imagine riding your cart for five minutes up a mountain just to find your tee box. From the tee box you see the tiny green 123 yards away. That is not the problem because anyone would just pull out a PW and make the green no problem. This is not the case at Ventana. You will need to carry you PW 120 yards over a deep canyon just to reach the green on the other side. If this hole does not intimidate you then you are head and shoulders above the rest.

After a poor performance on #3 the following hole is not much relief. The very next hole may be harder than the par 3. This hole is a 507 yard par 5. This hole is a dog leg left with a lake protecting the right side of the fairway. On this hole, your drive is crucial. You not only need to hit the ball straight but you need to carry about 200 yards of desert to just to reach the fairway. From the lush fairway you're woods need to be accurate also. The lake on the right comes into play more on your second shot then your drive. The small green has water behind it and to the right. The key to this hole is how well you are at laying up. This hole is rated the most difficult on the course with good reason.

My experience with Ventana was very simple. Enjoy the round and scenery because you can not expect to play well with blind shots, narrow fairways, and fast greens. If you are planning on hitting this course while in Arizona, I suggest that you bring your "A" game. On Nolan's scale of 1 to 5, Ventena Canyon receives a 5.

Tanner Nolan, Contributor

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