Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club

Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club
  • Director of Golf: Bob O’Brian
  • Course Architect: Tom Fazio
  • Mountain Course, Par 72 – 6898 yards from the tips Slope/Rating:  73.2/145; 71.7/141; 69.0/136; 71.4/131; 68.2/125
  • Canyon Course, par 72 – 6836 yards from the tips
  • Slope/Rating:  71.9/139; 70.8/136; 68.4/131; 73.1/132; 71.1/121
  • Phone: 800- 828-5701   Local: (520) 577-1400
  • 6200 North Clubhouse Lane,  Tucson, Arizona 85750

Ventana means window in Spanish and the Ventana Canyon Golf covenurses in Tucson provide a naturally spectacular tee to green window to the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon and the valley floor of Tucson below. Not merely the best visual experience, oratory senses are delighted as well, by the symphony of birds and the babbling sound of mountain streams.

Nestled in the bosom of the Catalinas, the mountain course emits a sense of well being on the very first hole. Every hour shines a different light on the near and distant vistas, while the layout of each hole provides a golfer’s challenge. Members Arlene and Elaine, were welcoming and insightful throughout the Mountain course round.

Hole #3, par 3, 107 yards, Mountain Course From all tee boxes, but especially the tips, this can be an intimidating adventure. Surrounded by rock boulders looking out to a canyon creek drop off, it is like hitting into the devil’s mouth with only his uvula to land on. Nothing left, right, short or long will suffice. It is one of the most photographed holes in Arizona.

 Hole #4, par 5, 598 yards, Mountain Course Ladies, march on up to the black tees on this one (even if there are no tip players in the foursome, go for the view) and then thank God you are a lady so you don’t have to hit your drive across the expansive desert to reach the fairway. It’s a monster par 5 with an extremely elevated tee. A goat would enjoy trekking to the top over the rock path. After catching your breath, you realize you just lost it again. A well struck ball floats like a butterfly as it makes its way to the elbow of the dogleg. An errant shot will sting like a bee. Next, you are faced with trees and severe mounds on the left side of the corner and a lake that guards the right side of the remaining 300 yards to an elevated green. Good luck and good night.

After playing the Mountain Course, you might figure the Canyon course cannot equate, but not true. They are equally spectacular in views and condition. The Ventana courses are owned by members who joined The Alliance, including our Canyon course partners Tom and Joyce Dewitt. It is a solvent proposition in these trying economic times when many predominantly private courses are struggling. The property is managed at the highest level without concern for profits in the financial equation. Members typically research golf destinations extensively before moving here from all parts of the world, making them a very special group. Check out membership options on their website or make a reservation to stay and play at Lowe’s Resort or the Lodge at Ventana Canyon, both providing luxury accommodations.

Hole #10, par 4, 336 yards, Canyon Course A truly unique greenside “whaleback boulder” on the left distinguishes this hole. It appears the size of six whales, really. Any strategy to bank off the boulder and bounce the ball on the green may backfire, perhaps back halfway down the fairway!

Hole #18, par 5, 503 yards, Canyon Course Finishing holes don’t get any prettier at the finish than with this green surrounded by water, including a long wall of falls that you must hear as well as see, to appreciate its profound beauty.

Director Bob O’Brian is loved by all, a friendly guy with an instant smile. A veteran of golf management, from Buffalo, NY, his career has taken him to Texas, Maine and 8 years at Turning Stone in New York before finding the warm treasures at Ventana Canyon. It’s a busy place with a pace that is just right in all parts of the massive complex.

Membership has its privileges and course knowledge is a real privilege here because the greens roll smooth, but have subtle turns, supposedly away from the mountains; but how much and when? Putts stay on line until they reach the hole and suddenly swerve left or right, inducing a rise in blood pressure. It’s a great rise. Go check it out!

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