Golf Club at Dove Mtn - Tortolita Nine Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.2

Golf - Resort Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
Marana, AZ
Website · Book A Tee Time

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Golf Club at Dove Mtn - Tortolita Nine Review

Review and Rating of Dove Mountain Golf Club's Tortolita Nine in Marana Arizona

Dove Mountain Golf Club is home to three very distinct and unique nine hole courses that were designed by legendary champion Jack Nicklaus.  Jack designed each nine to take advantage of the natural high Sonoran desert terrain to create 27 holes that require some strategy, shot making, and excellent putting skills.  The Saguaro nine, which was the front nine for the Accenture Match Play Championship which featured the top 64 players in the official World Golf Ranking, is the flattest and most wide open of the nines as it plays away from the Tortolita mountains and then back up toward the mountains.  The greens on Saguaro are huge and heavily contoured, water on two holes can be troublesome, and the 39 bunkers can add some strokes to your game. 

Tortolita was the back nine for the Accenture Match Play and it is the most difficult and most scenic of the three nines as it plays back into the canyon.  Wild Burro is the favorite with the local residents and is challenging because of it’s tighter fairways, more forced carries, and deeper bunkers.  Here is a link to our review of Wild Burro at Dove Mountain.

With an excellent layout, challenging greens, scenic vistas, near perfect conditions, superb facilities, and good service, it’s not surprising that Dove Mountain has won a number of awards and accolades over the years, some of which include:

  • Arizona Magazine rated it the “Best Course in Arizona”
  • Golf Digest rated it the 27th Best Resort Course in the United States
  • Golfweek Magazine listed it in their list of the “Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona,” “Best Resort Golf Courses,” and “Best New Courses”

Wide sweeping fairways off the tee box, forced carries over the dessert on every hole from the back three tee boxes, 45 strategically placed bunkers, washes to carry on your approach to challenging green complexes, and beautiful views of the mountains and valley is what you'll experience during your round on the Tortolita nine at Dove Mountain Golf Club.  And it’s home to some outstanding holes like:

  • #2 is a fun 559 yard par 5 with a slight dog leg left, a wash that cuts across the fairway at 250 yards out, a string of three bunkers that cross the fairway at 130 out, and a raised severely contoured green
  • #3 is a beautiful 203 yard par three with an elevated tee shot that needs to carry the dessert and avoid a huge sand bunker on the right plus two more bunkers around the smallest (29 yards deep) green on this nine
  • #9 demands some good shot making – off the tee it’s uphill past a bunker on the right and one in the middle of the fairway, then right and over a wash to a raised green surrounded by 3 bunkers

The greens on the Tortolita nine are large (29 to 41 yards deep), most are raised, and all but one are guarded with between one to six bunkers.  They were rolling at a good speed of 10.5 or so, in very good condition (some minor damage around the fringe), ran true, and held the ball well.  All have some combination of slope, contour, ridges, or tiers which requires some study if you don’t want to three putt.

The fairways were near perfect, wide off the tee, and generous leading to the greens. The rough was wide and cut thin and playable but if you miss the rough you’re in the desert with the cactus, brush, and sand.  No homes to worry about and most of the holes are framed by towering saguaros (some of which had several golf balls embedded in them) and the Tortolita Mountains.

The entire course is well groomed and meticulously manicured and the bunkers are outstanding – soft, fluffy, thick sand that I was told is manufactured sand – loved it!  The bunkers range from small pot bunkers to some huge monsters. 

The Ritz Carlton is just up the road and it's a first class 4 star resort with excellent amenities, upscale accommodations, good restaurants, and a good stay and play package.

The slope and rating are based on playing the Wild Burro and Tortolita nines.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 3,404 72.1 132
White 3,102 69.9 128
Gold 3,618 73.9 145
Red 2,638 71.0 125

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jack Nicklaus
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Little hilly
Course Map
Beware of water on 0 holes and the 42 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.2 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$45.00 to $199.00

The pro shop is outstanding (it was rated in the Top 100 Golf Shops), the clubhouse is upscale and Clayton's Burger Bistro serves gourmet burgers, shakes, signature entrees and an extensive selection of Regional Craft Beers.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.