View of Ventana Resort
| Clive's Five Top Courses|
Clive's Five Top Holes
Clive’s Five things for after golf
|Golfers are spoilt for choice in Arizona. Take something seemingly uncomplicated like breakfast. My innocent request for eggs on toast opened a veritable Pandora’s box of alternatives. As for bread, such a bewildering range, I wished I'd never asked!|
And don’t think a request for coffee offers a soft option. Once you’re over the regular or decaffeinated hurdle at 7.30 am you're faced with two per cent, skimmed, half-and-half or regular milk.
View of Tubac Resort
|It's much the same with golf - almost too much choice. You can practically hear the golf waitress saying: “We have Phoenix or there’s Scottsdale or you might prefer Tucson or my personal favourite is… .” Stop! “I’ll try a little Tucson, thank you.”|
But even that wasn’t the end of it as Tucson alone has far more courses than you could play in a month, let alone a week. Fortunately, mine were chosen for me.
More decisions came in packing my suitcase. Tucson enjoys more sunshine than any other city in the United States with approximately 325 sunny days and no more than 11 inches of rain a year. Since most of the this falls in the stormy and steaming months of June, July and August, I courageously left my waterproofs behind for my mid-Winter romp around the cacti. Wrong! It rained.
Disappointingly, the desert didn't suddenly burst into bloom as I thought it would. If it had, that would have been some consolation for getting very wet. To be honest, it didn't rain that hard but even that is an event in Arizona.
|People came poured into the streets to stare unprecedented grey skies. Americans think us Brits talk about nothing but the weather. Actually, they weren't so much talking as yelling. “Hey, it's raining!” they screamed, while standing around in little knots staring at puddles and giggling excitedly.|
Not only did it rain but the temperatures also dropped somewhere below the seasonal average, which is normally in the high 70s. In fact, it was rather refreshingly in the mid-60s. In my hotel there was a minor crisis until someone figured out how to reverse the air conditioning and blow hot air back into the rooms rather than suck it out.
View of Ventana Green
|Fortunately, I took a tasteful fawn sweater with me that I figured would not only be handy but would also blend in well against a sandy background. That was a shrewd move because even when it’s very warm during the day the temperature plunges in the evening and both the early mornings and nights are quite chilly, principally because Tucson is about 2,500 feet above sea level.|
The only other tough call I had to make was whether or not to take my 3-iron. A little-used weapon, I reckoned it might be the ideal club to clobber a menacing rattlesnake. Wrong. Snakes hibernate and would be so far underground that not even the deepest divot would disturb their slumber during the winter months.
Just like ‘links’ and ‘parkland,’ ‘desert’ golf is a legitimate category of course. It has its own unique features, hazards and experience. Purists might moan that it looks as if a green carpet has been laid down with the cacti functioning as Grippa-rods around the edge, but some golfers are only really happy when they’re miserable.
One last tip if you decide to go. Be sure to try the Arizona Iced Tea when the drinks’ wagon comes around. But be warned, they have peach flavour, strawberry, lemon, raspberry, regular… .
Golf in Tucson, Arizona