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:
We loved the Hill nine and found it to have a very interesting layout that is challenging but fair with lots of variety and some really fun holes. During your round you'll find near perfect greens and fairways, plenty of bunkering and natural areas, forced carries from almost every tee box, some good risk reward opportunities, and very scenic vistas of the Santa Catalina mountains and the Tucson valley - it just doesn't get much better than all of that.
Some of the holes that we really liked include:
The fairways are ample from tee box to green but heavily contorued and rolling as well as lined with natural areas, bunkers, swales, and tall ridges. All of which means you can expect some uneven lies. If you miss the fairway, in most cases you'll find a first cut that is playable and then a manageable rough (which was dormant when we played) - after that you're most likely lost in the natural areas which you typically don't want to enter thanks to the wide variety of very sticky cactus. Speaking of cactus, on several tee boxes you'll need to avoid the stately tall saguaros which can block your shot and devour your ball. When we played in late March, the fairways were in perfect condition, soft and lush, and like velvet.
Greens on the Hill Course at La Paloma Country Club were redone in 2009 and the Golden Bear made that a bear - plenty of slope, undulation, contour (a couple felt like a roller coaster ride), and tiers! And most are well guarded with tall mounds, swales, collection areas, and some challenging bunkers. They were in excellent condition, ran around 10 to 11, were true but challenging to read. Pin placement can be a killer. The Hill Course greens vary for a tad small to huge but with lots of contour. Most of the greens were above average size. Practice putting before you head out.
Jack also redid all of the bunkers and they are also near perfect - white, fluffy, thick sand. The lips of the bunkers vary from small to fairly deep and very challenging if you land near the lip.
We stayed at the magnificent Westin La Paloma Resort and played all three courses - loved the Resort and all of it's amenities and we can't wait to get back again. Here is a link to our review of the Westin La Paloma Resort. They have a variety of different stay and play packages that are a pretty good deal.
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.