Try Out this Trio: An Arizona Golf Getaway Planned Just for You
PHOENIX - Whether you're a "Zonie" or a visitor, there's a fun, long weekend adventure awaiting you south of Tucson.
Tubac is a little, artsy, historical town about 30 minutes south of Tucson off I-19, and Tubac Country Club is where you want to stay. It's a charming little spot with casitas and posadas (very nice motel rooms), complete with a full restaurant and golf course, which is open to the public.
I'm sure you all know that part of the Tin Cup movie was filmed there, and No.16 has been aptly named the Tin Cup hole since that's where Kevin Costner hit a zillion shots into the water.
Anyway, the course is fun, although it certainly won't rank way up there among the greats. The views of the mountains are wonderful, and the Santa Cruz River runs along the course. The front is not real demanding, and the back is prettier and has some more interesting holes.
I hate it when the course designer tries to take all the hazards out of play for the women. Good examples of this are holes 13 and 18. The men's tees cross the river on both holes, and the women's tees are moved to the other side. Do they think we're that weak? The slope is 120, the rating is 70.5, and the yardage is only 5384 yards.
Tubac is worth playing, though, and a definite must for your overnight. The greens fees are as low as $29 in the summer, $39 in the fall and $59 in the winter. Quite a deal for Arizona.
The next day, jump in your car and head south on I-19 for about 15 minutes to the Rio Rico Resort and Country Club. It's also a nice place to stay, but I'm partial to the casitas at Tubac. However, the golf course is far superior to Tubac. Robert Trent Jones, Sr. created this Sonoran desert masterpiece in 1971 at age 65. He incorporated all the natural beauty of the mesquite, cottonwood and Arizona pine trees into the layout, creating a challenging and demanding golf course.
The bent grass greens are nice and quick, and the fairways are gently rolling but with some good dog legs and elevation. The sand in the traps could be better, but the course has good bunkering. The most interesting holes are probably 5 through 8, number 8 being the number one handicap hole. It's a good par 4 with a pond on the right, trees on the left and traps all around. Take the high road to the green. In general, the front is the more interesting nine holes.
The women's rating is 70.4 with a 126 slope at 5649 yards. Don't get too excited about the pro shop or restaurant. They are both adequate for basic needs, but glitzy, they are not. Rio Rico's money goes into the golf course and resort facility. The greens fees are more than fair - in the $20 range in the summer to a high of about $55 in the winter.
Now that you've finished your round early, you can buzz down to Nogales (another 15 minutes south). Park your car on the Arizona side, and walk over the border for some power shopping. Or lunch at La Roca. Or, maybe just a margarita. Whatever your choice, once you're back in Tubac, there are a couple of restaurants in the little town as well as one at Tubac Country Club where you are staying.
The next morning, check out, grab breakfast and head north about 20 minutes to Green Valley. There are several courses, but my favorite is San Ignacio Golf Club on 4201 So. Camino Del Sol.
San Ignacio is a beautiful setting, with lots of undulations and majestic mountains in the background. If you're off the fairway, you're in jail. In fact, don't even bother looking for your ball. It's a wildlife haven, and I saw a bobcat in the flesh sauntering across the 16th fairway. I gave him full right-of-way to cross before I took out my 4 iron. Great hole, by the way.
Arthur Hills designed the course, and he gave the men quite a few elevated tees, but sent the women down the hill on most of those tee boxes. He does allow us an elevated tee on No. 8, which is the number one handicap hole. It's an easy par 5, but quite narrow. The front has its share of mesquite trees, then when you go under the road to number 10, the feel is totally different.
The 12th hole has a copper mine in the backdrop; there are actually 3 working mines in the area. The 13th hole, which surely must be the signature hole, is absolutely gorgeous, with the elevated tees, views of the mountain ranges and water lining the left. It's birdiable if you're a long hitter, and your second shot is perfect. Otherwise, you're in the water. The finishing hole is a fun par 4, with water in front and traps behind the green. Like many holes here, placement is everything.
The clothes in the pro shop didn't trip my trigger, and the bar/restaurant is good for a beer and snack afterward. Like Rio Rico, they put the money into the course, and it's worth playing. We went in the fall, and the greens fees were $35. The other seasons are similar to Tubac and Rio Rico prices, so it's an affordable trio of courses, all a little different from each other. San Ignacio is only 5200 yards from the women's tees, with a 68.7 rating and a 116 slope. Just be straight.
So, start planning your outing. We're obviously getting into the busier and more expensive season starting January through April, so there's still time to go before the holidays. Weekday prices are always a little less at the resort, so plan accordingly and have a great getaway!
April 13, 2001