The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa is home to three unique and excellent nine hole courses. Bob Cupp, and PGA Tour Professional, Craig Stadler, together designed and built a first class desert golf experience that offers stunning views of Tucson and the surrounding mountains and some fun golf holes that are fair but challenging for all skill levels. During your round you'll find natural arroyos, contoured sweeping fairways, dramatic elevation changes, bunkers of all shapes and sizes, challenging green complexes, uphill and downhill shots, and swirling winds created by the Tucson Mountains - all of which require you to focus on your club selection and shot making if you want to score well.
The original 18 holes opened for play in 1986 and was home to the Tucson Open between 1987 and 1996. Arnold Palmer was hired to redesign the original 18 holes and add another 9, creating a fantastic Arnold Palmer Signature golf Facility with 27 of some of the best golf holes in Tucson. Each of the three Starr Pass courses wind up and down the Tucson mountains and are aptly named for the ever present desert wildlife - Rattler, Roadrunner, and Coyote. Each of the nines is different and unique and has it's own personality:
Common to all three nines is a true Sonoran Desert luxury golf experience, excellent conditions, first class service, and top notch facilities including the JW Marriott Resort and Spa and a 20,000 square foot clubhouse. You may also find that some of the holes at Starr Pass may frustrate you, enamor you, drive you to the beverage cart, or leave you scratching your head regarding Arnold's true intent. But one thing that is bound to happen is you'll walk off the 18th hole saying that was "awesome" and thinking when you can get back to play it again.
As we reflected back on our golf at Starr Pass we were awe inspired:
It just doesn’t get much better than all of that!
The Roadrunner nine at Starr Pass Country Club is the easiest and shortest of the three nines at 3217 yards but it is no walk in the park and if the wind is blowing, Roadrunner may be the hardest of the three courses. This nine is really chiseled out of the mountains and is characterized by dramatic elevation changes, more bunkers, and true desert golf with some outstanding holes, for example:
Roadrunner was in fantastic condition when we played but it's not as lush and plush as Rattler because the sloping terrain doesn't hold the water as well. It also seemed to have the smallest greens but they may have also been the easiest with less slope and undulation, and some of the most stunning views plus several huge beautiful homes dotting the hillside. This nine got the most "Wows!"
Rating and Slope was based on Roadrunner/Coyote Course play.
Rates: $49.00 to $215.00
Service is top notch and very friendly, the 20,000 square foot clubhouse is home to a well stocked pro shop and excellent restaurant. The practice facilities are excellent.
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.