Golf Club at Dove Mtn - Wild Burro Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Resort Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
Marana, AZ
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Golf Club at Dove Mtn - Wild Burro Review

Review and Rating of Dove Mountain Golf Club's Wild Burro 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.  Read our review of Tortolita to learn more of this nine that we rated 9.2. Wild Burro is the favorite with the local residents and is challenging because of it’s tighter fairways, more forced carries, and deeper bunkers.

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 Courses 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”

Wild Burro was the Golden Bear's favorite nine of the three at Dove Mountain Golf Club and it's a beauty.  You'll find some wide fairways off the tee box, long nasty bunkers, carries over the desert on almost every hole, a beautiful lake to carry on one hole, dog legs, and some washes to carry to get to the green.

All of the holes are great and a little different from the previous hole, but our favorites were:

  • #2 is 541 yard par five that takes a 90 degree left turn around two side by side fairway bunkers and requires some accuracy to avoid an 80 yard long waste bunker on the way to a green surrounded by 4 bunkers
  • #3 is a 437 yard par 4 with a wide fairway that heads right to a wash crossing the fairway about a hundred yards in front of a green with no room for error - a wash and bunker on the left and desert covering the rest of the green
  • #6 is the #1 handicap and it's a fun 541 yard par 5 with an elevated tee shot over a lake, then down and over a wash to a green with a left and right side bunker

The bent grass greens at Wild Burro were in very good condition, ran at a good speed of around 10.5 or so, and held the ball well.  Some are raised and all of them require an accurate approach shot.  They are a variety of shapes and range from 29 to 36 yards deep.  Slope and contour can make for some demanding putts. 

The fairways at Wild Burro were also in excellent condition.  They are ample off the tee box and a little tighter on the approach shots.  The rough is wide and  playable but if you miss it watch out for the cacti in the desert!  Some beautiful homes are scattered along one side of some of the fairways but shouldn't come into play unless you really spray the ball. 

The bunkers are perfect with soft fluffy thick sand and manageable lips.  They range in size from smaller pot type bunkers to some long and nasty waste bunkers. 

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

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 3,349 71.6 134
White 3,122 68.9 127
Gold 3,632 74.0 144
Red 2,596 70.2 126

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jack Nicklaus
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 1 holes and the 28 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$49.00 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.