Arizona Getaways: Southern Dunes

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club


The 16th hole at Southern Dunes Golf Club. Photo by ALLAN HENRY-GOLF CHRONICLES

If you’re among the Gen Y Fred Couples fans who have fallen in love via social media with sharing ‘grainy’ videos of his buttery swing, then a trip to the Troon-managed Ak-Chin Southern Dunes golf course is the next step in your fandom. Couples advised the designers of Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley as they carved out of the Arizona desert one of the most unique courses in the Southwest. And just like his game, his course design sensibilities are top-notch.

On the Course

The fourth hole at Southern Dunes Golf Club. Photo by ALLAN HENRY-GOLF CHRONICLES

Originally built as a private golf club, Southern Dunes was purchased by the Ak-Chin Indian Community in 2010 and is now offered as a daily-fee or stay-and-play course. So it has the private club pedigree. It has consistently held its own on all the ‘Best Resort Courses You Can Play’ lists for the past decade, and the staff regularly tweaks the layout, traps, greens and practice area to give return visitors a different experience every time.

Photo courtesy Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

You will see sand-trap challenges here unlike anywhere else you have played. It is Australian-desert in its lineage – no cacti, but native grasses and undulations aplenty.  Southern Dunes was also among the first to think more creatively about what visitors needed; in 2015 they redesigned the practice area and driving range to create the #miniDunes. The complex is a driving range by day, then becomes a six-hole short-course by night – allowing parents and children to play comfortably together, or adults to walk around with a cocktail.

Where to Stay

Photo courtesy Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

The stay-and-play options begin with packages available through the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Resort, six miles down the road within the Ak-Chin Community on Phoenix metro area’s southern edge. There are also packages available with the Marriott Courtyard and Fairfield Inn & Suites in Chandler, nearer to the hustle-and-bustle of downtown.

Post Round

The club’s Arroyo Grille offers the traditional club favorites combined with modern twists on Ak-Chin’s fare. Nearby in Maricopa, the Roots Eatery, The Oak and Fork, and Auntie’s Soul Food and Grill are all highly rated.

Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram