Walk in the footsteps of Roy 'Tin Cup' McAvoy at Tubac Golf Resort south of Tucson

By Erik Peterson, Contributor

Interested in playing the course where "Tin Cup" was filmed? Check out Tubac Golf Resort and Spa, south of Tucson.

Tubac Golf Resort - Rancho Course - hole 3
Walk in the footsteps of Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy at Tubac Golf Resort.
Tubac Golf Resort - Rancho Course - hole 3Tin Cup - Tubac Golf Resort and SpaTubac Golf Resort - Rancho Course - hole 4Tubac Golf Resort - cowTubac Golf ResortTubac Golf Resort - Tubac Triangle - Rancho Course
If you go

TUBAC, Ariz. – A 45 minute drive south of Tucson sits Tubac Golf Resort and Spa, an oasis in the middle of the Arizona desert. It's a delightfully unconventional golf resort that's off the beaten path, and a spot where golfers can walk in the footsteps of Roy McAvoy, Kevin Costner's character in the classic golf film, "Tin Cup."

Most golfers love nothing more than to follow the sport's lore. Why else would you blow a mortgage payment on Pebble Beach? Or sleep in your car to play Bethpage Black? And if you appreciate the story of McAvoy, the aimless driving-range pro turned U.S. Open contender, then Tubac deserves a spot on your golfing bucket list alongside Pebble and Bethpage.

Remember the scene in which McAvoy goes Ken Caminiti on 13 of his golf clubs, then tries to convince anyone in the gallery to bet him that he can't par out with his 7-iron? That was filmed on the third tee of Tubac's Rancho nine.

At 377 yards from the tips, this uphill, dogleg left is a fun par 4. The closer you cut the corner, the shorter your approach shot. For McAvoy, it's two solid 7-irons.

On the next hole, McAvoy caddies for his nemesis, David Simms, daring him to go for the green in two. After Simms refuses and lays up, McAvoy – at the urging of onlookers Craig Stadler, Gary McCord, and Phil Mickelson – tries himself and succeeds.

Want to reenact this scene and knock it over the greenside Tin Cup Lake? Prepare to crush your tee shot, because this par 5 tips out at 568 yards and plays 488 from the white tees. If you try to clear the lake with your second shot and fail, hey, at least Tin Cup would have approved.

Other than the Rancho nine, the other two nines at this 27-hole resort are labeled Anza and Otero.

After finishing the Tin Cup holes on the Rancho nine, golfers are introduced to the Tubac Triangle, a scenic but difficult three-hole stretch that features the longest par 4, par 3 and par 5 at Tubac. The par-5 eighth hole - named Train Wreck – tips out at 651 yards, longer than all but a few par fives on the PGA Tour.

Also from the silver screen, you might recognize the restaurant patio, where Simms and McAvoy engage in more testosterone-infused bickering and stage a long-drive contest with their 7-irons. The patio has been remodeled since the 1995 filming, and the driving range has moved.

Despite the Hollywood connection, Tubac Golf Resort is hardly superficial

Despite the resort's Hollywood connection, the feeling at Tubac is about as far from Tinseltown as you can get. With cows roaming the fairways and native oaks sprinkled throughout the golf course, it's the antithesis of superficial. The only unnatural aspect of Tubac is Tin Cup Lake, dug for the filming of the movie.

Situated along the banks of the Santa Cruz River, Tubac is naturally green - a fresh deviation from the arid, dusty landscape that dominates the region. Instead of cacti as far as the eye can see, Tubac serves as home to old oaks and the largest cottonwood grove in the United States. You still get the warm, dry climate of southern Arizona, but with the colors of a much more northern destination.

For casual golf fans, Tubac Golf Resort and Spa is a fun experience. But for the serious golfer, it's more than that. It's an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of one of the most famous underdogs in golf history.

Erik PetersonErik Peterson, Contributor

Erik Peterson is a former editor for GolfChannel.com, specializing in courses and travel content. He earned his bachelor's degree at University of Oregon's award-winning school of journalism and communication. He enjoys playing competitive golf and carries a 2 handicap, but appreciates strolling the fairways with people from all walks of life.

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