For generations, Southern Arizona has been a revered getaway for chilled Coloradans looking for a break from winter’s cold and snow. This bastion of Sonoran Desert majesty is augmented by 330 days of bluebird days annually, much of which is presented during the blissful, cool-temperature months of November through March.
Among the region’s more venerated destinations is historic Tubac Golf Resort & Spa. Ensconced 48 miles south of Tucson on the banks of the cottonwood forested Santa Cruz River, this 500-acre property offers 98 hacienda-style lüxe guestrooms; casual dining with breathtaking patio views of the Santa Rita and Tumacácori mountains; tennis, desert hiking and mountain biking, fitness center and award-winning spa; newly renovated pool area with cabanas, bar and two lap lanes; and 8,000 square feet of meeting and conference space further enhanced by a replica 17th century chapel.
Not to be lost among all this grandeur is a 27-hole golf venue that — in addition to featuring the distinctive design talents of course architects Red Lawrence and Ken Kavanaugh — was featured in the 1996 movie, Tin Cup, featuring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo. Spanning both sides of the Santa Cruz River, the highly playable layout is regarded for its tradition-steeped shotlines, diverse elevations, mountain panoramas, lush riparian vegetation and a relaxed country ambiance that pays homage to its historic Otero Ranch locale.
Lots more golf is as close as Tucson, a mere 50-minute drive up Interstate 19. Better properties include 27-hole Dove Mountain, 27-hole La Paloma, 27-hole Omni Tucson National Resort, Sewailo, Starr Pass and 36-hole Ventana Canyon. And 15 miles south, tee it up at the Robert Trent Jones-crafted Rio Rico Golf Club.
Off-property experiences are equally distinct, starting with a day of exploring the myriad galleries, artist studios and gift shops that infuse Tubac, a former Spanish presidio that was established in 1751. Here, cap the day with a dinner at the always authentic, funky and sumptuous Elvira’s Restaurant.
Nearby major points of interest include Madera Canyon, Peña Blanca and Patagonia lakes, Tombstone, Tucson, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Kitt Peak National Observatory and the cultural charms of Nogales.
Still better, plan your stay-and-play escape around some of Southern Arizona’s major festivals and events, including the Tombstone Christmas Light Parade and Courthouse Lighting (Dec. 10); Tucson Marathon (Dec. 10); NOVA Homes Arizona Bowl (Dec. 30); Tucson Jazz Festival (Jan. 12-22); Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase (Jan. 28-Feb. 12); 92nd Annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros/Tucson Rodeo (Feb. 18-23); and the 58th Annual Tubac Festival of the Arts (Feb. 8-12).
[box]Insider’s tip: Book a Tubac Resort & Spa unlimited golf package for two at a great price. Call (800) 848-7893 and ask for the Colorado AvidGolfer Golf Package. Valid through May 1, 2017. For details, click here.[/box]
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer. Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.