Architect Jack Nicklaus created 27 holes of challenging and scenic golf at Dove Mountain Golf Club. Blending natural desert saguaros with countless bunkers and waste areas makes this a difficult golf course. Striking vistas of the surrounding Tortolita Mountains ease the pain and the elegant Ritz-Carlton hotel nearby enhances the experience. You can spend hours honing your game at the extensive practice facility. By the same token, the comfortable stone clubhouse with its outdoor fireplace is perfect for an afternoon lunch or sunset cocktails. A scarcity of homes adds to the ambiance and opens hillside vistas.
The Club hosted the Accenture World Match Play Championship for six years from 2009 to 2014. The Championship was played on the Saguaro and Torolita nines which ranked #8 in Arizona by Golf Magazine in 2-16-2017. The third nine, Wild Burro, is said to be Nicklaus’ favorite and is more difficult. To be sure Nicklaus has littered these golf courses with hundreds of bunkers.
Fairway bunkering was much more difficult than expected. For example, bunkers are often in play on both sides of the fairway. Most of these pot bunkers incorporate sloping perimeters making them difficult to avoid. Occasionally, extended waste areas abut the fairway further narrowing the landing areas. It‘s a tighter course than it appears. And it’s easy to get uneven lies. Bunkers are placed either beyond the tee shot landing area or many yards ahead of the green fooling your sense of distance. In addition, the distinctive desert brush terrain of the Sonoran desert is menacing. In the same fashion, more than half of the holes have a desert wash area bisecting the fairway.
As is typical with a Nicklaus design, the greens are large and contoured and you won’t find many level putts. Undulations around the greens require precise chip and pitch shots., Hole #6 on the Torolita nine is an excellent hole. In the tournament, tee locations make it a driveable Par4. The rocky/sandy desert area 200-220 yards from the tee requires risk/reward decision making.
Dove Mountain Golf Club is difficult. Expect to find challenging bunker situations. Accept just getting your ball back into play. Without a doubt, we found the conditioning superb and the setting tranquil.