El Conquistador's Pusch Ridge Resort Course is More Than Just a Pleasant Diversion

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

TUCSON - Here's the scenario, and I think you'll appreciate it. You are staying at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Resort in Tucson. You've just arrived and you would love to get in a quick nine before heading out to an incredible dinner with your significant other.

El Conquistador's Pusch Ridge Course
The mountains are a perfect backdrop at El Conquistador's Pusch Ridge Course.
El Conquistador's Pusch Ridge Course
If you go

Moreover, you'd like to set up a no holds barred golf binge of 36 holes for the next day, without having to log too many miles in the rental in a town you don't know. Fantasy? Maybe in some other town, at some other resort, but not in Tucson and not at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador.

Upon driving into this flagship of Tucson luxury resorts, you can't help but notice that the entire experience is built around golf. The El Conquistador's nine-hole Pusch Ridge Golf Course graces the foothills surrounding the resort, and sets up for an outstanding afternoon or early morning excursion onto the links.

And that golf binge the next day? Only a ten minute, free shuttle ride away is the El Conquistador Country Club, sporting two 18-hole championship courses in the Sunrise and Sunset tracks.

But back to the Pusch Ridge Resort Course.

"The Resort Course is has very hilly terrain, and lots of undulations," says El Conquistador Director of Golf Mark Bakeman. "Six of the nine holes on the course have movement either up or down hills."

The Resort Course is by no means long - weighing in at around 3000 yards. But the fairways are as tight as the N.L. East pennant race, and a number of short, dog-legged holes take the driver out of most players hands.

"The Pusch Ridge Course is so well intertwined with the Resort," says Bakeman. "The idea was to enable guests to roll out of the resort for a quick nine."

But why stop there? With the establishment of a solid and challenging set of nine holes is always the temptation and the demand for yet another set. But as Bakeman explains, such an indulgence is not an option at the El Conquistador at this time.

"They have talked about adding another nine to the course," says Bakeman, "but they would have to reconfigure the existing nine, and that is not an option right now. The space is out there for the additional nine, it is just not needed with the 36 holes over at the Country Club.

So there you have it. Forty five holes of golf will just half to do it for now at the El Conquistador. But just how challenging is the Pusch Ridge Course? Bakeman ranks it right up there with the Country Club's Sunrise and Sunset Courses in terms of the challenge offered.

The course record is a conservative 32, just three under par, and the first hole at Pusch Ridge sets the tone for the rest of the round. This short par-4 dog-leg left requires only a three-wood or long iron off the tee, and features an approach shot to a small green that leaves no room for error.

Drastic elevation changes, tight fairways, postage stamp size greens, stumbling distance from your room ...what more could you want from a golfing situation?"The only downside of the Resort Course is that it does not provide the same feeling in terms of shots," says Bakeman. "The course can take a few clubs out of your hands, including the driver."

Take away then, Pusch Ridge, because there is nothing finer than pre-dinner niner.

Pusch Ridge Resort Course
Classification: Resort
Guest Policy: Open
Dress Code: No denim, collared shirt and bermuda shorts required.
Season: Open all year
Tee Times: Accepted 2 days in advance.
Earliest Time To Call: 6:00 a.m.
Pro Shop Phone: (520) 544-1800
PRO Shop Opens: 6:00 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 TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

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