Green Valley Golf: Great atmosphere and just a short drive from Tucson

By Scott Behmer, Contributor

TUCSON, Az - Green Valley's peaceful golfing atmosphere is ideal for a relaxing round. With the closest course just thirty minutes from the Old Pueblo, the courses are all near enough for visitors staying in Tucson, yet far enough away that they're not over-run with Tucsonans. Notable designers such as Robert Trent Jones and Arthur Hills have created challenging courses which are reasonably priced that work as one with nature. Further, three of the courses are within minutes of each other, making it feasible to enjoy more than one course in a day.

Haven Golf Course
Haven is one of the better golf courses in the Green Valley.
Haven Golf Course
If you go

The economic Haven Golf Course would be an ideal opening round. Only $26 with cart, not many courses in Arizona can match that deal. It's 6800 yards and more open than Green Valley's other courses, allowing you to work on your swing without the fear of adding strokes to your score. Haven is well-kept, and with multiple sets of shorter tees it's a senior favorite.

Torres Blancas Golf Club is another good deal at $35 including cart. Redesigned by Lee Trevino, the seventh hole has garnered such praise as being named to southern Arizona's dream eighteen. It's a beautiful 457-yard par 4. The drive is down a shoot of trees with out-of-bounds left and right. A fairway bunker at 240 yards must also be carried to have a chance at reaching the green in two. The green is guarded by a couple of bunkers and surrounded by mature trees, capping off a stunning hole.

San Ignacio Golf Club is nearby and plays for $45 with cart. Designed by Arthur Hills, the Santa Rita, Rincon and Catalina mountains provide beautiful backdrops on the tee shots and approaches. It's only 6200 yards, don't try to overpower the holes, just club down and consistently find the fairways and greens. Distance control is very important. The multi-tiered greens can cause very difficult putts if your approach lands on a different level.

Further south on I-19 is Tubac Golf Resort. $45 covers a round on this lush course. This time of year the contrast between the green layout and the bare trees is simply beautiful. You may recognize this course from the Kevin Costner movie "Tin Cup." The par 5 #16, with water short of the green, was used in the Pro-Am scene early in the movie. Kevin Costner decided to "define the moment" by going for the green in two and hitting it. From the back the hole plays almost 600 yards, so I suggest playing from the whites. At 515 yards a good drive can leave you a similar opportunity to "define the moment."

Another twenty minutes south is Rio Rico Resort and Country Club. The Robert Trent Jones classic course is $55 a round with cart. Rio Rico's in great condition after just hosting the PGA Tour Qualifying Sectionals. It's carved into the hills with difficult tee shots and slick bent-greens. On the large undulating greens speed control is crucial. Overall, it's a wonderful golf setting with challenging holes and beautiful scenery at an affordable rate.

Visitors and Tucsonans are fortunate to have these high quality courses so close to town. Between just thirty minutes and an hour away, one can tee it up at any of five courses each uniquely different from what Tucson has to offer. It's surprising that more Tucsonans don't take advantage of the great golf valley: Green Valley.

Scott Behmer, Contributor

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