JW Marriott Desert Ridge is First Class

Wildfire Golf Club
The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa features 36 holes in the form of the Arnold Palmer Signature Course and the Nick Faldo Championship Course.

Life is good for Alex Fisher, a world-traveling snowbird that has dual warm-weather residences in Colorado and Arizona. Thanks to his highly respected status as a PGA Certified Instructor — he is PGA Director of Instruction at Durango’s The Glacier Club and also teaches swing mechanics at the Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix — Fisher enjoys the very best of both worlds.

“I’ve been splitting my winters and summers since 2012, but my first job in the United States was in Phoenix in 2002,” says the Nottingham, England-born swing guru. “A lot has changed in 14 years, and it just keeps getting better.”

No kidding. While Fisher savors his Rocky Mountains lifestyle, he very much treasures the Sonoran Desert where he professes total game improvement at Wildfire Golf Club, a premier amenity that anchors the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Its 36-hole enticement: the Arnold Palmer Signature Course and the Nick Faldo Championship Course.

“Both courses are very player friendly, and certainly not typical of resort-style golf,” says Fisher, a Golf Digest “Top 40 Instructor Under 40” for six consecutive years. “Each course offers a different style of play — the Palmer is a wonderful desert course, and the Faldo is more Australian links styled. Both have proven to be very popular with players of all abilities.”

The Palmer opened in 1986, and the Faldo debuted 16 years later. Since, the facility has become a must-play in Phoenix, underscored by a successful, six-year hosting of the LPGA Tour’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup (played March 16-19).


Centrally located in north Phoenix, the 316-acre property also lists among its AAA Four Diamond comforts six restaurants, a Revive Spa, fitness center, boutique shopping, jogging/fitness trail, tennis and 241,000 square feet of meeting space, plus six pools made even more tantalizing by a lazy river and a serpentine waterslide.

“The JW Marriott Desert Ridge is a beautiful property, so much so that it has become a fashionable ‘staycation’ experience for locals,” says Fisher. “Marriott has very high standards, and we really pride ourselves on our level of service and the extraordinary amenities that extend far beyond the golf course.”

Speaking of golf, the immediate area is packed with celebrated daily-fee courses including 36-hole The Boulders (crafted by Jay Morrish), 36-hole Grayhawk (Tom Fazio; Gary Panks/David Graham), 18-hole Legend Trail (Rees Jones), 36-hole TPC Scottsdale (Tom Weiskopf/Morrish), 36-hole Troon North (Weiskopf/Morrish) and 27-hole Kierland (Scott Miller).

Special Deal: Voted one of the “Top 75 Resorts in North America” by Condé Nast readers, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge offers among its many stay-and-play incentives an Unlimited Golf Experience starting at $379 that is valid through May 1, 2017. Restrictions apply. For details, go online here or call (800) 721-6996 and ask for promotional code GOF. For details about the resort’s esteemed instruction facility, go online here.

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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.