About the time most CEOs fretted about the unfounded fallout of Y2K on their organizations, Arizona Golf Hall of Famer Bill Huffman penned Arizona’s Greatest Golf Courses, which included an insightful forward by sport legend Tom Weiskopf.
While the technological meltdown never materialized, CEOs everywhere rejoiced and took solace in Huffman’s manifesto, adding the Grand Canyon State to their deal-making seasonal circuit that includes Florida, California and New York. The best of the best private and semi-private courses anchor some of the state’s toniest vacation home communities like Estancia, DC Ranch and Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Torreon in Show Low, and Stone Canyon and Dove Mountain in the Tucson area. Golf-loving CEOs and the well-to-do still flock to these enclaves 25 years later.
Arizona’s Greatest Golf Courses includes about 70 of the state’s 280-plus top golf tracts. Forbes.jobs presents just a smattering here, you need to head to Arizona to experience what makes golf in the desert so special.
The one that started it all. Since it’s humble beginnings in 1986 when compadres Lyle Anderson, a respected developer, and golf great Jack Nicklaus secured the old Carefree Cattle Ranch and sketched out the first 18 holes of the Renegade Course, something special was clearly in the works in North Scottsdale.
Fast-forward three decades, and seven Nicklaus-designed courses and 2,000 landmark homes dot more than 8,000 acres of pristine high Sonoran Desert, replete with mammoth saguaros, glistening pools and clubhouses, trails and more in one of the most heralded golf course communities in the world. At present, homes start at about $1 million for a townhome, and spiral northwards of $13 million. Visit the Desert Mountain website to learn more.
The Country Club at DC Ranch
Probably the most family-friendly of the bunch. In fact, you’ll see multi-generational golfers mixing on the fairways and in the clubhouse of this private club and course designed by PGA Tour pro Tom Lehman and John Fought. The practice facility is especially intriguing as it features a par 3 9-hole in addition to more than 50 hitting stations, so busy executives can always squeeze in a workout and a little fun between meetings. The complex and format also lends itself to lessons for the kids.
Several membership levels are available, including full equity, golf-only, clubhouse, sport-social, family members, and may be paired with or without real estate. Visit the Country Club at DC Ranch website.
The Estancia Club
This ultra-exclusive private residential community and golf club set in north Scottsdale at the base of the iconic Pinnacle Peak features more than 7,300 yards across 18 holes of Tom Fazio-designed greatness that includes bent grass greens and year-round caddie program.
A recent check of real estate options started at $1.7 million for a mere l acre parcel to $8 million for a 7,400 square foot new build on an acre. The good news, residents never want to leave; it’s all here – fine dining, a world-class fitness center, tennis and pickleball courts, aquatic facilities, social clubs and more. Visit the Estancia Club website.
This spectacular club and community is not just one of our favorites, but a Golf Digest Top 100 in the United States. Spread out over 1,400 acres, players of all skill levels never feel rushed playing the Jay Moorish-designed 18 holes in the northern section of Tucson in Oro Valley. The towering Tortolita Mountains enhance the sense of seclusion and privacy.
Executives will want to consider a membership to take advantage of the many recreational and social opportunities available, including leagues, social clubs and dining events and more. New and resale residence options also are available. Visit the Stone Canyon website.
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain
Who can forget the 2009 launch of the 27 Jack Nicklaus-designed holes at the World Golf Championships, which featured 64 top golfers from across the globe for an epic match play duel in the desert? The saguaro-rich Sonoran landscape dominated the television visuals and wowed giants of the game like Tiger, Phil, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy as The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain glistened in the background.
It’s pure desert magic, which continues today. Many executives appreciate the turn-key opportunity afforded to home owners, which includes privileges at the Ritz-Carlton, all 27 holes, the 46,000-square-foot clubhouse and other impressive amenities. Visit the Dove Mountain website.
Finally, Arizona is fresh off an epic Super Bowl this past February, where the Kansas City Chiefs squeaked past the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 at Glendale’s State Farm Stadium. Ponder that iconic event with the Phoenix-area’s annual Barrett-Jackson auto auction and, of course, the monster of all PGA Tour Arizona golf events, the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Scottsdale Airpark, Phoenix Sky Harbor and Phoenix Deer Valley airports handled more private jets than Southwest Airlines flights during the weeks surrounding those international blockbuster events.
That in mind, Arizona golf and the corresponding networking opportunities take on whole new dimensions, do they not?
Photo by Country Club at DC Ranch