Tucson Practice Facilities

By Scott Behmer, Contributor

TUCSON, AZ - Sometimes just fifteen minutes practicing can fix that problem you've had for a month. Tucson has southern Arizona's premiere practice facility, The Practice Tee, as well as four courses that offer first-rate practice areas. Whether you want to work on your putting, chipping, pitching, sand shots, or tee balls, these places offer it all.

If you go

The Practice Tee driving range, with nine greens protected by water and bunkers, is designed so that each shot imitates one during a round. No longer are you just beating balls, you're hitting each shot with a specific destination in mind. The Practice Tee offers greens for pitches and sand shots, as well as putting and chipping. The putting green, with a flawless putting surface, rolls about nine on the Stimpmeter, allowing you to concentrate on your stroke without worrying about the grain. The chipping green offers a multitude of hole options for practicing every possible circumstance. Finally, at the last green there are five bunker stalls and plenty of areas to work on your flop shot.

The largest practice facility of any Tucson golf course is at Randolph North-Dell Urich, which offers a range, four putting greens, two 100-yard wedge holes, and a sand and pitching green. The range was recently reconstructed to follow in The Practice Tee's footsteps, with numerous greens to play to. Four conveniently located putting greens allow you to putt until you tee off. The best feature, though, is "the pit." Located in the middle of Randolph North, you can work on all aspects of your wedge game. Tucson's annual hole-in-one contest is held here, and you can get ready ahead of time by hitting 100-yard wedges into either of the two greens. "The pit's" third green has a bunker and is cut to a typical green's speed. You can pitch, putt, flop, chip, or blast on this hole. With so many practice areas, you're sure to find the one that suits your needs.

Silverbell Golf Course offers a modified version of the Randolph North-Dell Urich practice areas, with a traditional, flat driving range, a large putting green, an even larger pitching and sand shot green, and a 100-yard wedge green. The undulating putting green allows you to create almost any putt that you might encounter. A helpful feature is that one hole has a straight putt with an eight-foot chalk line. You'll vastly improve your stroke by following the line back and through. The four pins on the sand and pitching green are spread apart by at least ten yards, so you can work on many different sand and pitch shots without always playing toward the same hole. Finally, the 100-yard wedge green is tiny and not very receptive. Only perfect shots will stay on this green.

If you're going to be playing a course with hard and fast greens, then practice beforehand at El Conquistador Country Club. Open to the public, El Conquistador has an elevated, traditional driving range, pitch area, sand shot green, and putting green. The thirty-yard pitching area allows you to work on those tough in-between yardage's. Don't go long, though, or you've lost your ball into the desert. The sand shot green truly represents El Conquistador: There's not much sand, and the green's impossible to hold. The best practice feature is the large, fast putting green. It has both severe slopes and gradual undulations, so you can practice a wide variety of possible putts.

For golfers who want to hone their short-game skills, Arthur Pack is the place. They do have a driving range, but you're just hitting out to yardage markers down the middle. The practice greens are superb, though, offering true rolls allowing you to concentrate on your stroke. The chipping green is sloped, so you can practice those simple chips or work on the tough, downhill shots. Also, Arthur Pack has a hidden, rarely used practice bunker next to the range. It can be a big help, yet I've never seen anyone else take advantage of it.

There's only one way to get more out of your golf game: practice. Repetition of quality golf shots gives you the confidence to execute when the pressure's on. At these five practice facilities you'll be able to work on all facets of your game. And you can bet that your effort will be rewarded.

Scott Behmer, Contributor

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