Tucson-area favorite has it going on
In my way of thinking, golf is an umbrella term that covers much more than just playing the game. Things like dining, entertainment, junior golf, leagues, charity events, socializing, shopping and instruction are all moons that revolve around the planet golf. It seems like a growing number of golf clubs are beginning to capitalize on this fact, including the Golf Club at Vistoso.
Let’s start out by taking a look at the golf experience. The Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course is punctuated by the views of Tortolita and Santa Catalina Mountains. Ribbons of green grass unfold through groves of Mesquite, Palo Verde and stately Saguaros to provide Vistoso with a healthy element of risk and reward in addition to Weiskopf’s signature drivable par 4s.
“The concept came to me while competing at the Open Championship at Saint Andrews in 1970,” said Weiskopf. “It’s similar to a reachable par 5, the risk-reward challenge is the same.”
Weiskopf also shook up the scorecard a bit with five par 5s and five par 3s, but still ended up with a par-72 layout that begins with a manageable 373-yard par 4. The second hole – a par 5 named Double Cross – gives golfers a glimpse into the options that will be available to them throughout the round.
When standing on the tee, some of the fairways are concealed by sweeping undulations and desert areas that pinch into the landing zones. While this may frustrate some first-time players, it provides an element of discovery that keeps the experience fresh.
The golf course ambles on to the par-5 6th hole with another double-carry to a green that is reachable only by the biggest hitters. Careful consideration of the yardage guide is a must at the par-4 14th, aptly dubbed “Risky.” And the round finishes with two long holes at 16 and 17 before unwinding with the reachable par-5 18th.
What does it cost to play? You’ll be happy to know that even the rack rate is equitable at Vistoso. Further savings are available by joining the Mountain Club, Vistoso’s version of an annual membership. The Catalina Card is another option, with its preferred year-round rates and other benefits. The usual suspects also gather for the Sundown Skins Game every Friday afternoon at 3:00pm.
No matter what the green fees are, it’s worth every penny when you play well. To that end, Vistoso’s instruction team has you covered. Kortney Krueger globe trotted his way around the golf world helping hackers from Arizona and California to Canada, and most recently, Ireland.
Kortney can positively impact any golfer, no matter their ability, and likewise, he takes particular pride in passing the game on to the next generation through their junior golf programs. Plus, the unlimited range balls and golf after 2:30 pm offered by the Player Development program is a great way to ingrain those stroke-saving lessons.
Whether beating balls on the practice tee or chasing skins, the final destination is usually the Tortilla Terrace. This Southwestern-inspired covered patio offers a cozy place to enjoy post-round cold brews and mountain views. A roaring fireplace warms the crisp desert air and rustic timber beams accent this desert-lodge-style hangout.
At the Terrace, they serve up a healthy heaping of club favorites with a massive Cobb salad, savory Miss Piggy pulled-pork sandwich, or the granddaddy of them all: the gut-busting Albatross Burger. This beast boasts two half-pound angus burgers served on two grilled cheese sandwiches, topped with double cheese, double bacon, and double green chilies. If you can eat it all – plus the chips – you get a free golf cap.
Next time you’re looking for something to do, go to the club. As the Golf Club at Vistoso illustrated, you don’t always need to have a tee time to have a blast. Instead, you could take a lesson, pick up a new polo shirt or enjoy a signature “Cadillac Margarita” on Tortilla Terrace – gotta drink something to wash down the Albatross Burger. And if you don’t achieve the desired effect, repeat!