Tubac Golf Resort - Rancho Nine Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.2

Golf - Resort Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
Tubac, AZ
· Stay & Play

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Tubac Golf Resort - Rancho Nine Review

Tubac Golf Resort & Spa is home to 27 holes of golf that are a real joy to play.  Each nine has its own unique personality and characteristics, for example:

  • Otero has eight of the Resort's original holes and it is the tighter of the three nines, lush from tee to green, and has the smallest greens
  • Rancho is the toughest and most demanding of the three nines thanks to fairways lined with stately cottonwood and mesquite trees and it is known for two of the holes which were made famous by Kevin Costner's Tin Cup
  • Anza is the newest of the nines and it has a desert links look and feel on the first five holes and concludes with four outstanding finishing holes 

Common to all three nines is a first class resort, upscale stay and play lodging, excellent service, near perfect conditions, and beautiful scenery with two mountain ranges as the backdrop.  All three nines are very player friendly and designed to deliver a very playable and enjoyable round of golf.  

Tubac Resort’s Rancho course was our favorite – it’s challenging and demands some club and course management as well as shot making, it’s scenic and secluded as it crosses the Santa Cruz river and winds though some stately and majestic cottonwoods and mesquite trees, and it’s historic thanks to Kevin Costner’s Tin Cup having been filmed here.  In fact, I lost a ball in the same lake that cost Kevin Costner’s Tin Cup character the tournament!  And remember when Kevin’s caddy broke all his clubs, I was ready to do the same as my ball flew into the trees.

Each hole on the Rancho nine is a little different from the others and during your round you find a little bit of everything that makes golf fun and challenging – forced carries, dog legs, elevation changes, challenging green complexes, long par 3s and 5s, tight shots, risk reward opportunities, dog legs, water, and strategically placed bunkers plus the prevailing winds need to be manages.  And then you’ll hit the “Tubac Triangle:”

  • #6 a demanding 464 yard dog leg left that requires accuracy all the way to a well bunkered green
  • #7 a booming 254 yard par 3 that requires both distance and accuracy to stuff it on a smallish 28 yard deep green
  • The “Train Wreck” #8 which is a 651 yard par 5 that requires a precise shot off the tee box to avoid the trees and strategically placed fairway bunkers, a second shot that needs to miss the cottonwood in the middle of the fairway, and a third shot that needs to carry the pond to a fairly large green

The tree lined fairways (only one home on this nine) were in near perfect condition when we played, as were the greens.  The greens, which ranged from 25 to 35 yards deep, seemed to be more challenging that’s to being elevated and with more slope and undulation.  There are only 20 bunkers, most of which are guarding the greens, and the sand is good and the lips are very manageable – in fact, in a few cases we hit the bunker and rolled out and then said a few thank yous. 

A very fun nine with enough challenges to keep you focused and test your game and it’s a great layout with lots of variety as well as some  interesting and memorable holes. 

Slope and rating are based on playing the Rancho/ Otero nines together. 

Read our review of Otero and Anza and to learn more about Tubac Resort, read our Tubac Resort Golf Stay & Play review.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 3,378 69.3 124
White 3,009 66.1 116
Gold 3,629 71.6 130
Red 2,648 69.7 115

Course Information

Course Architect:
Robert "Red" Lawrence
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Course Map
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 20 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$39.00 to $1,094.00

Service is outstanding, the practice facilities are very good, the pro shop is well stocked, and the restaurant is top notch.



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.