Rancho Mañana is Southern Tranquility

Rancho Manana 18th Hole
The scenic 18th hole at Arizona’s Rancho Mañana. Click for larger view.

Metro Phoenix is a mecca of more than 200 golf courses. By jetting into Sky Harbor International or Scottsdale Airport, frequent flyers are offered an eye-popping palette of major highways, planned communities and burgeoning business districts, all organically amalgamated by craggy mountainscapes and acre upon acre of emerald fairways and greens.

On the northern perimeter of this transcending Sonoran Desert playground, in historic Cave Creek, is Rancho Mañana Resort, a boutique-style destination that, since the 1940s, has spoiled travelers with indelible memories steeped in top-shelf amenities and customer service.

Rancho Mañana Photos:

Rancho Mañana is a laid-back alternative to chic Scottsdale, an Old West heritage property that began as a popular dude ranch for cowboy couture tenderfoots. It remained so for decades until 1988, when 120 acres of Continental Mountains foothills was transformed into a tenacious, semi-private Bill Johnson golf course that gained celebrity for its tricky elevation changes, false-fronts greens and verdant, tee-to-pin fairways.

A pure golf experience with only a smidgen of visible housing, the 6,016-yard par 70 is a Nikon-prompting experience. Its towering saguaros, palo verde trees, cholla cactus and water-carved arroyos are a supernatural stronghold for bobcat, deer, coyote and javalina sweetened even more by panoramic views of Black Mountain, Skull Mesa and Elephant Butte.

Insider’s Tip: Guests can earn two free Rancho Mañana logo golf balls with every paid round. Tee times must be made directly with the golf course website or by phone directly with the golf course staff. Restrictions apply; valid through May 31, 2017.

Back at the 38-casita resort, guests further revel in lüxe-level, two-bedroom suites; a 1,500-square-foot spa and salon; outdoor pool; and Tonto Bar & Grill, a casual dining restaurant that earned top-100 status on OpenTable.com’s 2015 Alfresco Dining Restaurants of America list.

Brian's Black Mountain Barbecue

Should you get an itch to meander, nearby Cave Creek brims with premier restaurants and nightlife like Bryan’s Black Mountain Barbecue, El Encanto Mexican Patio and the always-rambunctious Buffalo Chip Salon & Steakhouse. And if you hanker for outdoor recreation, make your way to the 2,000-acre Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area where trail hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are favored activities.

Brian's Black Mountain Barbecue Menu
Duck tongue is among the specialties at Brian’s Black Mountain Barbecue.

For more about Cave Creek, go online to cavecreeklive.com.

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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.