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Tucson, Arizona Golf Course Reviews
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Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course 9101 N. Thornydale Road
Tucson, AZ 85742
The Phantom gives this report from the Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course in Tucson Arizona.

The Phantom says Arthur Pack is an eighteen hole par 72 golf course located in, and owned by Pima County in Southern Arizona. It, like all the rest of the courses in the Tucson area, is always packed. But, if you’ve got an hour or so, you can usually walk on.

What the Phantom liked about the course is, it really is a true desert course. If you don’t make the fairways you can go chumming with the rattlesnakes and prickly pear cactus. Needless to say the group left a few white eggs on the great Sonora Desert.

Favorite holes on the course were seven and thirteen. The Phantom is a sucker for par threes over the water. There was interesting tee placement at both holes. Apparently the forward tees, sometimes referred to as ladies or red tees, were actually no closer than the championship or rear tees, sometimes referred to as men’s tees. They were just on a different part of the semi-circle.

The hardest hold is number eight. This par five is five hundred and sixty nine yards from the professional tees. This baby is a killer if you don’t stay to the left. The desert inches into the right side of the course and even if you stay to the left watch out for the bunkers. There are sand holes starting from one hundred yards from the green all the way to the front.

Eighteen holes cost $27.50, and a cart is another $16. Not a bad price with the added bonus of an on-course beverage cart. The only problem is you never see it on the course.

The pro shop has some fun stuff in it but the decorations are nothing to crow about. The same can be said for the clubhouse which could also use a facelift. The Phantom adds what do you expect for 23 bucks? She’ll take good greens and friendly people over decoration anytime!! Back to the top

Dell Urich Municipal Golf Course 600 S. Alvernon Way
Tucson, Arizona 85711
The City of Tucson owns 5 public golf courses. Smack dab in the center of the city is Dell Urich. The Dell Urich course is 5,774 yards and a Par 70. Don’t be fooled by the shortened Par rating. This is a tough little course.

Although Dell Urich is in the desert, it does not have a desert type layout. In fact, the only Saguaros you will see are on a hill in the middle of the course located next door. What it does have are lots of tree-lined fairways and man-made lakes.

The course was formerly known as Randolph South until it underwent a complete renovation about a year ago and was renamed.

The most difficult hole on the course according to the scorecard is number 14. No comment since everyone in the foursome either made Par or Bogie on the hole. The Phantom would choose hole nuber 8 as the toughest. It is 379 yards and a Par 4 from the forward tees. The fairway narrows as you get clse to the hold and for this reason it makes it difficult to reach in two. It also is a slight doglet to the left that can leave your ball stranded in the tall grasses to the right of the hole. Caution--don’t get off the fairway. The first and second cuts can easily tangle with your clubhead and throw your shots off to the left or leave them short.

Holes 16 and 17 can also be a little tricky. With 16, water comes into play on the right side of the fairway at least a quarter of the way to the green which is shadowed by it. The 17th is a fun hole with a tee shot over the lake to a green framed by a stone wall. Leave it short and you lose your ball in the water. Hit it long and you can scour the trees.

On your way in be sure and visit the new clubhouse recently erected. There is an outside patio area just right for people watching. The pro shop is well stocked and the Phantom loved the starter hut which a nice way to keep things rolling.

The cost is $18.50 for residents with a Tucson Parks and Recreation card. It is $28.50 for non-residents and $16 for a cart. You can save yourself $16 if you have good feet and knees. The course is totally walkable with very few variations in the terrain.

Phantom Tip: Don’t be put off by the location along busy Broadway and Alvernon. You barely notice the traffice once you are on the course.

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Sheraton El Conquistador 10000 N. Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85737
This is 18 of the 45 holes owned by the Sheraton Resort of the same name. Just on the other side is the Sunrise Course which sports the so-called " Toughest Par 3 in Tucson". The difference between the two courses (although same architects) is the Sunrise Course plays from mostly elevated tees back to elevated greens.

The Phantom’s foursome took on the more flat layout of the Sunset Course. Both courses are great, but the first trip you have take is inside. The group split into twosomes. One headed for the pro shop and the Phantoms went for the cafe.

Upon ordering four cups of coffee, the young lady behind the counter said, "That will be $10 please." Now folks, we are talking foam cups, 4 inches deep with brown colored water served hot. Apparently, members do get a better rate. They should get it for free with that kind of subsidy from non-members.

The other twosome bounced out of the proshop talking about $300 Golf shoes. They said that was all the shop carried but, "they were really nice". The shoes better give you a pedicure and foot massage for that price.

Back at the course we were summoned to the tee with "Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Phantom and Mrs. Jackson up in fifteen minutes". We all looked at each other kind of funny. To our group, whose members are no longer married or have never been, this came as a hysterical shock. For the country club stock this is probably the norm. The Phantom says she would prefer "Ms." or just plain old Phantom will do.

Once on the course the par 3’s proved very deceiving. At number 7, 160 yards uphill, would seem to take a pitching wedge or nine iron. The Phantom choked down on a 4.5 wood and hit just to the back of the green which is guarded by a sheer hill. They all are a little tricky with water or sand bunkers coming into play.

The rest of the course you just need to keep it in the fairway. There are a few fairway dips that will make your ball run to the right or left but no real trouble spots.

Houses and clean desert surround the fairways so there is not much chance to get into trouble here either.

Play is $115.00 in the winter and $95 in the summer and that includes a cart.

The Phantom’s final tip about the El Conquistador Sunset Course is take your own shoes and drink the water. It’s FREE! Back to the top

El Conquistador 9 Hole Course 10000 N. Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85737
This Phantom Golfer course review is of the Sheraton El Conquistador Resort Course. It is also referred to as the Pusch Ridge Course and the Nine Hole Course.

Sheraton owns 3 courses in the area with 45 holes for your playing pleasure. This is the one located at the resort on Oracle Road and El Conquistador. The other 36 holes are located about three miles away. Thank goodness they require you to use a cart! There is over a 170 feet change in elevation. You still need to be part Mountain Goat to scale the elevated greens in order to putt.

Another skill that can come in handy is the ability to accurately fade and draw the ball. There are some tricky doglegs in both directions. Don’t take this par 35, 9 holer for granted. Many would pass because it is not 18. You will get full use of everything in the bag.

Yardage from the red tees goes from 84 yards for par 3’s to 491yards, for a par 5. From the blue tees, it’s a 529 yard par 5.

The Phantom was eaten alive but will try the course again. The course is hard but fair, and besides that, you don’t always get paired with an arrogant jerk intent on ruining your afternoon of golf. Most players are genuinely nice people.

The rate is $35 for winter and summer rates. These prices do include a cart. The Phantom leaves you with a final tip----Play in the evening. You won’t find a better view of the valley, than from this course. Back to the top

Fred Enke Municipal Golf Course 8251 E. Irvington Road
Tucson, Arizona 85730
This is one of those courses you either love or don’t have much of an opinion about right from the start. It’s location is way on the east side of town near the Pima Air and Space Museum which is the largest privately funded air museum in the world. It is also home to the airplane junk yard. On your way to the course you will see miles of planes that have seen better days and are now being used for parts.

Fred Enke Muni is a Par 72 course with 4 Par 5’s ranging in length from 573 yards from the gold or professional tees, to 380 yards from the red or forward tees. Once you are at the course you will notice it is not an estetically pleasing area in which to play. It is surrounded by mostly brush with a few homes out in the distance. The course appearance upon entering is not all that great either but initial feelings of angst can soon dissapate once play starts.

The first hole is 272 yards from the red tees and a blind shot to this dogleg to the right. A large pond is also to the right with sand on the left side of the front of the green. If you’ve got the skills you can shoot directly over the pond and be on in one. If you miss though, you will never find your ball. Better hit a provisional lay up if you choose this route. The hole is a forgiving Par 4 giving players who lay up an easy par and if you can sink the first putt, a bird. Nice way to begin a round.

Another blind shot hole is 7. It is 316 yards from the red tees. It takes a heavy first shot to make it up and over the green hill that lies before you but if you go too far you are out of bounds. Too short, and you can’t see the next shot you need to make to the green. The second shot needs to be a perfect high pitch. Misjudge the distance short and you will be in the cavern that lies around the front. It is better to be too long here and hit the hill in the back. This Par 4 is very makeable.

Remember that if you play this course or any other in Arizona in the summer, it can be very hot. Be sure and keep plenty of cold water with you, wear a hat and sunscreen. Placing a cold bandanna around your neck is helpful too. The Phantom’s foursome got down to two people when we played this course on Mother’s Day. The Phantom was disappointed to lose members of the group but understood why upon looking at the temperature gauge coming back to the car. It said it was 116 degrees. Because the other two members didn’t drink enough fluids their bodies became overwhelmed by the heat. It is hot, but if you take care of yourself it is not a problem. Also, use a cart and park or stand in the shade whenever you get the chance.

Fred Enke is one of five courses owned by the City of Tucson. All are reasonably priced and good challenges for the price. Weekday and weekend play is $26.50 and $16 for a cart. If you have a resident card you can save money on all five courses. Resident cards are available from the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department for a nominal fee.

This course is usually easier to get a tee time for on the weekends than any of the other five, but for overall challenge this is the best one. You will get a chance to use all your skills here.

Phantom Tip: If you are okay with the heat play this course during the summer. The rates are better and it is easier to get on. Summer rates for courses in Tucson go down anywhere from 25 to 200 percent in comparison to Winter rates, depending on the course. Back to the top

Randolph Golf Course 600 S. Alvernon Way
Tucson, AZ 85711
Randolph North Municipal Golf Course is a par 72 regulation course located in the heart of Tucson. It is the home to the Ping/Circle K LPGA Tournament. The location along busy Broadway and Alvernon streets should be a drawback but the traffic is hardly noticeable.

There is a lot to be impressed by with a new cafe and pro shop, but that isn’t the beauty of this course. The greens are well manicured and the fairways are green and rolling, but that isn’t the beauty of this course. The personnel are accommodating and helpful and still--that isn’t the beauty of the course. The beauty is in the fairness of the par 5’s. We can reach them in regulation. That is three nicely placed shots and we are on for a birdie putt.

For the average player that does not happen very often. The Phantom is usually struggling to be on the green in four or five with no chance for the illustrious bird. And, if you watch the pros, this is where they usually help their scores the most.

Why can we play the par 5’s at Randolph North so much better? It is in the yardage with three of the four par 5’s ranging from the regular tees (notice the word regular and not ladies) and it says that on the scorecard, too.

The men in the Phantom’s foursome got their wish too by playing the par 5’s from the championship tees, it also says that on the scorecard.

This course is well laid out with water hazards on seven out of the eighteen holes. This may seem like the course has a lot of water on it but it doesn’t. Pieces of it just seem to touch a lot of different playing areas.

But be warned, good tee times are not easy to get but it is worth going late just to play nine.

Green fees are $28.50 for eighteen holes and a cart is $14. The Phantom say this is an extremely walkable course. Back to the top

The Raven Golf Club at Sabino Springs 9777 E. Sabino Greens Drive
Tucson, AZ 85749
This relatively new desert course is filled with the most gorgeous natural scenery you have ever seen. Legend has it that each saguaro cactus carries the soul of an Indian of the past and you will marvel at the wildlife and soulfulness of this golf site.

As you drive up to the clubhouse, you are greeted by a gentleman with a headset who instructs another to unload your vehicle. You then park and go into a mesmerizing pro shop. Everything has the Raven logo and is displayed exquisitely.

Bring every club you have because you will need all of them . All of the components of a challenging game are here.

From the Raven tees the total yardages is 6,900 yards and a par 71. Don’t be fooled by this course par 71. The par 5’s can range from 575 yards to 625 yards. And you can go from one of these 500 yard holes to the next hole that is only 98 yards.

The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., which means there are plenty of fairway twists and turns that can really play havoc with your score. The downhill and sidehill lies were killer.

The most challenging hole for the Phantom was the par 3, number 4. Hit the ball too long or too short and it is lost in the desert. Hit to the right or left and you are buried in sand with a very tricky, very short second shot to get on the green.

The best hole is the 18th. It is a BACKWARD "S" fairway, par 5. It encloses a beautiful man-made pond to the left. Behind the pond is a picturesque clubhouse. You can make the green in two with perfectly placed shots as you make your way to the 19th hole.

There is a moderately decorated bar and cafe and the food is great, just like the service. Two of the players in the Phantom’s foursome opted for the massage available in the lobby before eating.

The cost is $140, from October through May and $65 June through September. The Raven also offers a twilight rate of $30.

The Phantom leaves you with a final tip: Save your pennies and practice alot before you play this course.

The Raven is an outstanding golf vacation, even if you live in Tucson.

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Silverbell Golf Course 3600 Silverbell Road
Tucson, AZ 85745
Silverbell is an 18 hole Municipal Golf Course located off Interstate 10, on none other than Silverbell Road. It, like all the rest of the municipal courses in the area, is always packed. The only time the Phantom ever got a decent tee time there, was on Christmas Day. The location of the course make it a little difficult to find at first. The Phantom was lost for an hour driving, but it is never hard to find again after you get there the first time.

This should have been a likable course with all the doglegs, but the experience went from bad to worse. The starter was demanding about identification for rental of the cart. The group had to deal with some serious wind on the first and second tees!! And the final blow was a man the Phantom’s group named THE ENFORCER. The guy followed the group everywhere swooping down from elevated perches to enforce course rules. The Phantom likes Marshals but they should remember the old saying, "It’s not what you say, but how you say it". A piece of advice to golf course owners, get rid of the grumpy and bring out the charming. Golfers need reminding, not enforcing. After all it is a game.

The course is well laid out with water hazards and sand bunkers but the greens seem a bit small. There is nothing even remotely desert about this course. It has lots of palm and pines and dead grass fairways.

The Phantom adds, even though she was not impressed, go play this course. Many people really like it. It is very challenging and checkout the blind shot over a ravine and a lake to the flag on Number Eleven.

Green fees are $20 for Eighteen holes and carts are $14. Back to the top

The Golf Club at Vistoso 955 W. Vistoso Highlands Drive
Tucson, AZ 85737
Vistoso, designed by Tom Weiskopf, is everything a golf outing should be and more.

Located in Oro Valley in south Arizona, this one is a pearl in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. When you play it you will think you have joined a private club but this is a public course.

Park your car, put on your golf shoes and out comes a young man to carry your clubs to your cart. Pay your $90 fee and you get 18 holes of championship golf, range balls and a golf cart.

On each cart is a mini igloo filled with ice. Have a seat and find your score card and course rules ready to go. Pay attention to the names of each hole. They are a dead giveaway to how hard the hole will play and what you will play through.

For instance there is Prickly Pear which is exactly the type of cactus you will find in the middle of the fairway. There is Side Winder in which the fairway is laid out like a snake going first to the right and then to the left. Double Cross is probably the hardest par 5 on the course. Don’t pull out the big stick on this one or you will wind up in the mid fairway desert oasis.

This course is challenging but it is fair. The tees are equitable and the boxes are usually raised.

Food and beverages are available out on the course or at the cafe but don’t look for any hot dogs. Everything is very gourmet. Even the hamburgers come freshly barbecued on an onion roll with sprouts. No paper plates or plastic forks here either. The 19th hole could provide a lot faster service but the food is worth the wait.

As you come back to the clubhouse your clubs are cleaned and delivered to your vehicle. Should you tip for someone cleaning your clubs? The Phantom was told firmly but nicely, "Most people usually do!" I only hope two bucks was enough!  Green fees are $125 for 18 holes.

The Phantom will leave you with a tip about The Golf Club at Vistoso--Play this one soon. Rancho Vistoso is building three more course in the area and the rumor is The Golf Club at Vistoso will become private. Back to the top

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