The Westin La Paloma in Tucson is home to 27 outstanding golf holes that were designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1984. This magnificent private golf club is available for guests of the Weston La Paloma Resort and each of the three nines is a Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and one of his original creations. Each course has it's own unique characteristics and personality and it was impossible for us to pick a favorite - you'll definitely want to play all three:
La Paloma Country Club has a reputation of being one of the best as well as toughest courses in the Tucson area thanks to dramatic elevation changes, forced carries off the tee as well as on the approach shots, plenty of bunkering, challenging greens, and contoured fairways lined with berms, swales, and mounds.
Common to all three courses at La Paloma Country Club are very good conditions, scenic vistas of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tucson valley, excellent service, upscale amenities, and fairways lined by a distinctive desert-scape of flowering cacti, yucca, agave, mature mesquite and Palo Verde trees, and other native vegetation - all of which are meticulously maintained by Troon Management. In April a lot of the desert fauna bloom with a variety of vibrant colors. During your round keep an eye out for quail, dove, toads, lizards, bobcats, javalinas, coyotes, and owls all of whom want to share the course with you at dawn and dusk.
All of that has contributed to La Paloma Country Club winning a number of awards and high accolades, some of which include:
If someone twisted our arm and forced us to pick one the nines that we liked best at La Paloma Country Club, it would have to be the Canyon Nine, but just by a small margin or maybe because it still has three of my golf balls. To us, the Canyon Course offers something of everything that gets us to continue to play this frustrating and expensive game - scenic vistas, elevation changes, forced carries over natural areas and canyons, rolling contoured fairways, plenty of sand and grass bunkers, risk reward opportunities, challenging green complexes, and lots more. Plus it has great conditions and it's a challenging but fair layout with very memorable holes and excellent amenities and service.
Every hole is different and unique and will throw something at you to keep you on your game and to make the hole both fun but challenging. For example:
The fairways and lush and plus and taking a divot made me feel guilty. Most of the fairways are ample and forgiving with a playable first cut, but don't miss them because the canyons and natural areas will devour your golf balls. The fairways have plenty of contour, berms, and mounding with sand as well as challenging grass bunkers.
Protected and stately Saguaros with a variety of interesting arms can block some of your tee shots and if you hit one, even though the Saguaros don't golf, they are reluctant to give up your ball - don't try to retrieve the ball if it gets stuck in the middle of one of the Saguaros unless you enjoy getting stickers and coming away looking like a bloody pin cushion. And don't hit any of the wildlife that are in abundance on the Canyon Course - cute little white tail bunnies, bobcats, ground squirrels, quail, and roadrunners.
The greens and bunkers on the Canyon nine are from the original design in 1984 and are very playable but not in the best condition. The sand is thin and heavy and the greens have some bumpy and rough spots. Troon has plans to redo the greens as well as the bunkers starting in late 2011. But don't let that discourage you from going out of your way to play this fantastic course.
The slope and rated are based on playing the Ridge and Canyon nines together - which is the toughest combination of nines.
Service is good, the pro shop is stocked with everything that you need, the practice facilities are very good, and the club house is spectacular. The restaurant overlooks the course and the mountains and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
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!
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.