New Wickenburg Ranch Scheduled to Open in February
It’s hard to believe, but in the last six years, only one Arizona golf course—the Notah Begay III-designed Sewailo Golf Club that opened 12 months ago in Tucson—has celebrated a grand opening.
Sure, there have been numerous reworks and renovations of existing layouts, but it’s been quite some time since golfers have enjoyed a new routing that underscores the supernatural confines of the Sonoran Desert, Mogollon Rim or the Grand Canyon.
Of course, there are good-reason circumstances behind the downturn, none more significant than America’s decade-long recession, the no-growth numbers of active golfers, sticky environmental issues, and the complexities of securing ever-shrinking supplies of water.
That said, there are increasing signs that Arizona golf is building upon its current success in the market.
Three months ago we reported that the number of golf rounds in Scottsdale had increased dramatically over just a year prior, suggesting that this popular desert mecca is—at least on paper—the hottest golf destination in the nation. (To view that story, click here.)
Real estate is also rebounding. According to Ed Gowan, executive director of the Arizona Golf Association, the largely tourism- and retirement-driven market is witnessing a significant push in new development.
“There’s been a positive uptick in the last eight or nine months,” said Gowan, who has captained the AGA for nearly 30 years. “There’s a real resurgence in the market.”
Now comes news that a new 3,000-acre resort community will soon open just northwest of Phoenix. Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club will debut Feb. 7 with a semi-private (for now) golf course designed by relative unknowns Bill Brownlee and Wendell Pickett.
What’s remarkable about Wickenburg Ranch is that the 7,000-yard golf course was completed in 2007—right at the height of the recession—but soon after was obliged to lock its gates. However, the bentgrass routing was regularly maintained and occasionally reworked, evolving into a sumptuous, saguaro- and canyon-embellished playground that only allowed about 200 rounds during those seven years.
“Almost brand-spanking new,” Wickenburg Ranch is a compelling motive to take your golf game south this winter. Greens fees are a bargain: $95 for out of state guests, including golf cart, practice balls, and a logoed Travis Mathew polo shirt and overpiece. To find out more and reserve a tee time, go online to wickenburgranch.com.
Chris Duthie is a contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.