Tucson's Best Values

By Scott Behmer, Contributor

TUCSON, Az - When deciding what course to play, golfers typically want to get the best value available. Price isn't everything; service and course conditions also play key roles in determining the best course to play. These are five of the best values in Tucson. They combine low rates, friendly customer service, and excellent playing conditions.

The Golf Club at Vistoso
The Golf Club at Vistoso is one of the best value plays in Tucson.
The Golf Club at Vistoso
If you go

Recently, the Golf Club at Vistoso has had many specials, but their newest deal is two rounds with a shared cart for only $99. Regularly $125 a round, this is an exceptional price. From the moment you drop your bag, the friendly customer assistants make sure that everything is going well. Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the course architecture harkens back to the origins of golf, with square tee boxes, wide fairways, and large greens.

The course is well kept and the greens are flawless. Soft spikes required, the firm greens roll true and fast. Miss these greens into the rough or bunkers and it will be tough to make par. However, to make up for these miscues, three of the par 5's are reachable in two and are definitely birdieable. Then after your round, you can relax at the grill on the patio and look out over the beautiful surrounding desert.

Another desert course offering an excellent deal is Fred Enke Municipal Golf Course. After 9am, a round with cart and lunch ticket is only $15. This same special also applies at Silverbell and El Rio municipal golf courses, but it's the creative desert layout that makes Fred Enke the best selection. With the tightest course in Tucson, desert is in play on every swing. Yet make a mistake and you can atone for the error by playing the next hole well. 14 of the holes can be birdied relatively easily with solid shots. Fred Enke has a large clubhouse and a very helpful pro shop. In fact, head pro Mike Hayes was named Southern Arizona Golf Professional of the Year in 1998.

Tucson's other superb desert value is Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course. It's $31 a round or $13 for all-you-can-play after 3pm. Players come out as late as 5pm to take advantage of this deal. For years Arthur Pack has been known for its smooth greens, and now the entire course is in pristine condition. Designed as a more driver friendly course that Fred Enke, almost every hole offers a side of the fairway that's not guarded by desert. Arthur Pack's the site of the Pima County Amateur in May as well as the qualifying course for the Arizona Open. Additionally, they have friendly PGA pros and the large clubhouse offers great hot dogs.

A more conventional layout is Randolph North Municipal Golf Course, home of the LPGA's Welch's Championship in March. A round is $25, and even tough they don't have any specials, it's still worth the price. Randolph North is one of Tucson's best tests of golf.

A very demanding course from the tees, to score well you must hit solid, accurate drives. The greens are small, so if you hit one you'll have a good birdie opportunity. Pine trees line the holes creating plenty of shade, essential for warm weather golf. Randolph has a history of turning out head pros in Tucson, so you know that its PGA pros will help you on any way they can. Finally, they have one of the city's best and largest clubhouses, ideal for relaxing in after a hot summer round.

Randolph North's sister course is Dell Urich. Together they are the second most played public golf complex in the U.S., behind only Torrey Pines, home of the San Diego Open. A round is the same price as Randolph North, and again you are playing an excellent layout. Seven holes measure over 400 yards, but luckily most are downhill or have an elevated tee. On the other hand, there are a few short par 4's, including #4, that may be driveable for the long hitter. Dell Urich's #17 is Tucson's most difficult short par 3. This signature hole plays 137 yards downwind to a firm green. Water surrounds the front and right while a shallow bunker and trees enclose the left. It plays like an island green, and is the most memorable signature hole in all of Tucson.

The warm weather has brought the rates down at many courses, but a fun round requires more than a cheap price. A round at any of these five courses is economically priced, and these courses are also in fine shape, have good clubhouses, and the pro shop assistants are all very helpful. Also, these five offer varying styles of design and are some of Tucson's most respected layouts. Be sure to take advantage of these great values in the Old Pueblo.

Scott Behmer, Contributor


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