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Tubac Golf Resort & Spa Stay & Play Review
Tubac, Arizona - February 2011
, one of the best golf resorts in Arizona, is a unique golf resort with 27 holes of golf, outstanding golf stay and play lodging, good amenities, a couple restaurants serving very tasty entrees, friendly service, and a spa to massage away the sore golf muscles. Tubac Golf Resort & Spa is located about 90 minutes south of Tucson and is situated on the 500 acre historic Otero Ranch which was established in 1789 when the Otero family moved from Spain in search of a prized area for raising cattle. The Resort property is intersected by the Santa Cruz River, surrounded by stately cottonwood trees, and has the Santa Rita Mountains as a backdrop on the east and the Tumacacori Mountain range on the east. As soon as we entered the gate to Tubac Resort and started to experience the dramatic desert landscape, the majestic mountain ranges, the grazing cattle, the duck and geese enjoying the pond around the 9th green, the lush golf course, the cows grazing in the fields, the winding brick pathways, the rustic elegance of the architecture, the 200 year old Otero House, the cascading fountains, and the friendly staff, we knew we were in for a special treat and an enjoyable couple of days. And we weren't disappointed. All of that may be some of the reasons that Tubac Golf Resort & Spa has been recognized by Conde Nast Johansens as one of two finalists for the prestigious 2011 Awards for Excellence as "The Most Excellent Golf Resort."
Tubac Resort Golf Courses
Tubac Golf Resort was made famous thanks to a number of scenes from Kevin Costner's "Tin Cup" which were filmed at the Resort and on the Rancho Nine. It was fun reliving some of the scenes during our stay but not that much fun duplicating what Costner did when he drove several balls into the water on Rancho's 4th hole! But we didn't select Tubac Golf Resort just to try and clear the water and stuff it on the green with a 7 iron, we stayed here to enjoy what we had heard was the jewel of the Resort - twenty seven holes of golf. The courses have majestic views of the Tumacacori and Santa Rita Mountains as they play through the desert, along stately cottonwood and mesquite groves, and across the untamed Santa Cruz River. The first 18 holes were designed in the 60's and in 2006 another nine holes was added. Each of the nines is unique and different with it's own personality and characteristics, but common to all three nines are:
The Otero Nine was named after the original Spanish land grant family that came to Tubac in 1789. Otero was the front nine of the original 18 holes that was designed by Red Lawrence and opened in the 1960's. Like most older courses, Otero is short at 3241 yards from the tips and fairly traditional and straightforward with 4 doglegs, water on 3 holes, and 23 bunkers to keep you focused on your game.
This nine plays through cottonwoods and mesquite groves and has some fun and challenging holes like: #2 which is a 529 par 5 with a sharp dog leg right leading to a well guarded green; or the tough 185 yard par 3 that plays over water and between two mammoth cottonwood trees. Our review of the Otero Golf Course has pictures and some reasons why we liked this nine. Keep in mind that we played in February when the course and trees were dormant. All of the nines would be much more scenic and lush and green during the season. The desert would come alive with vibrant colors of red, white, yellow, and lavender in April!
Anza was named after the infamous Juan Bautista De Anza, who in 1775 led a contingent of 30 soldiers and their families to found a presidio and mission on California's San Franciso Bay. Anza has a desert look and feel on the first few holes followed by tree lined fairways. On the desert holes, if you miss the fairways you'll be among the sagebrush and cactus that are anxiously waiting for you to try and get your golf ball out of their sharp thorny needles - they are daring you to try and get it and they are very protective of what they think is theirs.
This nine will test your game with a little bit of everything - forced carries off the tee box and on the approach shots, uphill and downhill shots, prevailing winds to manage, 26 treacherous bunkers, dog legs, well guarded green complexes, and water that will come into play. Anza is home to what we think are two of the best holes on the course - a 511 yard par 5 that dog legs right around a pond and 5 bunkers of all sizes on the way to a green with a couple bunkers and water around half of the green; or the Signature 9th hole which requires an accurate tee shot to an island green and a gallery on the patio watching every shot. Here is a link to our review of Tubac Resort's Anza Golf Course.
This nine was named after Rancho Manana, a course in Cave Creek that is owned by the family that also owns Tubac Resort. If we had to pick a favorite nine, Rancho would be the choice - it's fun, scenic, somewhat challenging, and has some great holes. Rancho is the toughest and longest of the nines with yardages ranging from 2648 to 3629 yards. Locals have named the last three holes the "Tubac Triangle" - a perilous three hole stretch that will test the best players. For example, the 651 yard par 5 8th hole, called the "Train Wreck" is a fun but challenging dog leg left with a tough approach to the green thanks to a bunker guarding the front and a big lake that stretches from the middle of the fairway to the green.
Rancho will test you with dog legs, 20 bunkers, water, and a couple carries across the Santa Cruz River. You'll remember Rancho #4 if you saw "Tin Cup" - this hole was the setting for the scene in the movie where Kevin Costner was caddying for Don Johnson and Johnson wanted to lay up with a seven iron. Costner said he could do it and that is when Gary McCord, Peter Kostis, Craig Stadler and a young Phil Mickelson began to wager on whether or not he could pull it off. To learn more, read our review of the Rancho Golf Course at Tubac Resort.
The Tubac Golf Resort pro shop has all the gear you'll need to look good as well as turn in a good score. Make sure you hit the range and putting green before heading out - all of the courses require some shot making. I should have taken a lesson from one of the pros, or at least attended one of the weekly golf clinics or better yet their golf school. I could use the help!
Golf Stay & Play Accommodations at Tubac Golf Resort
Tubac Golf Resort is a small quaint resort with ninety eight distinctive guest accommodations that are spread out over four landscaped and gardened acres. All of the accommodations have easy access to the resort amenities - our Hacienda Suite was an easy nine iron shot to the pro shop. Tubac Resort's accommodations have been recognized nationally as one of "Arizona's 100 Best Kept Rooms" and there are a variety of options as part of a golf stay and play package. You can choose from Hacienda suites, Casitas, Posadas, or a large historic home. During our visit, we stayed in one of the 52 Hacienda Suites and were impressed with our Suite, which had:
Our Hacienda Suite was spotless, roomy at 650 square feet, and perfect for a fun weekend. Within a couple minutes walk we could be lounging in the pool or hot tub, teeing off, or enjoying lunch on the patio. We also liked the ample parking right in front of our Hacienda door - no big parking lot where your rentals can get lost, no need for valet parking, and no need to lug your bags and body up and down stairs to get to your room.
For larger groups, the 200 year old Otero House is a good choice. It has a large living room, luxurious king bedroom, den with kitchenette, large fireplace, and a private patio overlooking the golf course and mountains. The 16 Casita Suites are 800 square feet with beautifully decorated living rooms, fireplaces, separated bedrooms, private patios, and a sleeper sofa. One of the Casitas has two bedrooms. Or you can stay in one of the Posadas which are 350 square feet and more traditional style rooms with a choice of a king or two queen beds, dressing room, and some have a separate seating area. The resort is pet and kid friendly and babysitting and childcare services are available.
Tubac Resort Spa
The hacienda-style Spa at Tubac Resort is a relaxing sanctuary where you can get relief from the kinks from too much golf, rejuvenate after a stressful week at work, or just spend some time being pampered. The Spa offers a variety of treatments, some of which are indigenous to the region. When I walked in the door to check out the Spa and experienced the soothing music, sounds of cascading water, and the scents, I immediately seemed to relax and lose some of that work stress. You'll also feel a sense of history as you enter the Spa which exudes the spirit of Spain, Mexico, and the Southwest.
The Spa has separate men's and women's changing areas, a sauna and eucalyptus steam room, individual lockers, a Boutique with a variety of products, an outdoor whirlpool tub and comfortable furniture, and a complimentary plush robe and sandals for your use. Plus you can enjoy Spa water, tea, juices, and nuts or berries. Some of the spa services that you'll have to choose from include:
Dining At Tubac Golf Resort
After a full day of golfing, you'll be craving some good food and you won't be disappointed. There are three choices for dining, all with patio seating, that offer a variety of savory options:
Weddings, Business Meetings, and Special Events
Tubac Resort has more than 7000 square feet of meeting space that can be divided into six meeting rooms plus plenty of outdoor space with breathtaking sunsets or outdoor patios with heaters, fans, and curtains. During our stay, a large patio overlooking the golf course was being set up for a western buffet with all the appropriate western motif and decorations.
The Geronimo Conference Center is a perfect place for a business function. The Conference Center is equipped with state of the art technology in an intimate classic lodge setting with a fireplace and open beam ceiling. Step out on the Geronimo Deck for a break and enjoy the view of the Santa Rita Mountains and the luscious grounds and the lake surrounding the pin on the 9th hole of the Anza golf course.
If you're planning a wedding, imagine getting married in a beautiful and memorable 1700's replica of a mission style Chapel or on a patio with the golf course and majestic mountains as a backdrop.
Tubac Resort Recreation & Amenities
In addition to eating, golfing, and getting a massage, there are lots of other fun things to see and do at the resort or in and around nearby Tubac. Bring a racquet and enjoy a set of tennis, go for a horseback ride, or spend some time at the pool and hot tub. After all that good food and tasty margaritas, I should have spent some time in the Tubac Resort fitness center, but nope, not me - I spent more time on the patio, enjoying the view, appetizers, and cold drinks. While my best friend and I enjoyed the drinks, the women were checking out the boutique shopping at the Reort's gift shop, Pancho's, and the spa plus spending lots of money on new golf gear at the pro shop. The new gear didn't help much - the guys still won bingo, bango, bongo and skins, but the girls looked much better and more stylish!
The Tubac area is world renowned for birding, so bring your binoculars if you're a bird watcher. The resort rents bikes and we really enjoyed riding into Tubac (an easy 10 minute ride) and riding up and down the streets to check out the shops and restaurants as well as sip a couple margaritas. On our way to visit historic Tombstone we couldn't resist stopping at a unique spice shop called Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company and we left with a bag full of spices and salsas. Along the route to Tombstone are several wineries, which we also had to stop and sample and buy some wine - we badly needed something to go with the chips and salsa.
Nearby Things To See and Do
A few blocks from the Resort is downtown Tubac, Arizona which is where art and history meet. This small (7 or so square blocks) quaint town is row after row of unique shops, art galleries, good restaurants, historic attractions, and places to sleep. The town is rich with history since Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino ventured into the Santa Cruz River Valley in 1691 in search of souls to save. Since then Tubac has endured cycles of destruction and desolation only to recover and grow again into the unique community that it is today. You can't leave the Resort without spending a few hours exploring the shops, art galleries, restaurants, and everything else this funky small town has to offer.
Tubac Golf Resort is conveniently located to lots of nearby fun things to see and do, here are just a few choices, all of which are within an hour or less:
If for some strange reason you get bored playing the courses at Tubac Golf Resort, then you have several other nearby choices for another round of golf. This Arizona Golf Map will help you find a nearby course to play or you can read our reviews of Tucson Golf Courses that we played when we stayed in Tucson.
What are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and give Tubac Golf Resort & Spa a call and book a room and a round on each of the golf courses.