Course Review - Ocotillo Golf Club
Water water everywhere and not a single cactus to see. At first glance you may
think you have fallen victim to a desert mirage while playing at the Ocotillo
Golf Club. Although the word ocotillo means cactus branch, you won’t see a
cactus or a mountain peak at this golf course located in Chandler, Arizona.
Ocotillo is not for golfers seeking a pure desert golf experience. Ocotillo is
a vacation from the desert, with its luscious rolling fairways and abundance of
crystal blue water.
The drive up to the clubhouse is a foreshadowing of the round that awaits you.
The signature hole is showcased on the right side as you enter the clubhouse.
Sparkling water runs along the entire left side of the emerald fairway as it is
fed by gigantic green-side cascading waterfalls.
Managed by Troon Golf, Ocotillo Golf Resort adheres to the highest standards of
course conditions, customer service and amenities, creating a country club
experience at what has become known as one of the nation’s finest daily-fee
facilities. The landscape throughout the 27 Hole Ted Robinson design is full of
soothing rich greens and deep blues. Using many of his well-known trademarks in
the creation of this masterpiece, Ocotillo is a panorama of cascading
waterfalls, palm trees, gently rolling fairways and brightly colored flowerbeds
that have been blended into a remarkable golfer’s paradise. This truly superb
27 hole championship facility, is now located only minutes from most of the
Valley’s prominent resorts and hotels via the newly opened 101 Price Freeway.
Ocotillo Golf Resort’s golf shop has been voted as one of the “Top 100 Golf
Shop in the country”. For after golf dining, guests can enjoy the casual club
bar or the more luxurious atmosphere of Bernard’s Restaurant. Private parties
can choose between the newly added indoor-outdoor Crown Terrace Ballroom for
hundreds of guests or the more intimate Director’s room for up to 35.
Ocotillo Golf Club’s 27 hole layout (3 separate nines) winds through 95 acres,
including 7 miles of shoreline, lakes and cascading water features. Fully
mature trees, lush landscaping and colorful flowerbeds contribute significantly
to the comfort, beauty, and challenge of this elegant Arizona Oasis. Unique
among all others in the Valley, Ocotillo is a lushly landscaped retreat with
superbly maintained grounds and broad rolling fairways that provide golfers
with a refreshing change of pace from the desert style golf where target
fairways are almost always surrounded by unforgiving rocks and cacti.
At Ocotillo the biggest challenge is keeping your ball out of the lakes (water
comes into play on 24 of its 27 holes). There are island fairways, island
greens and even a hole offering both. The big hitters can be aggressive as long
as they are straight. You do not have to lay-up, but must be vigilant of water
on the sides of the fairways and greens. When you keep the ball dry you are
still faced with the challenge of staying out of the 170 strategically placed
sand bunkers. The next challenge is negotiating the subtly contoured greens.
Smart course management along with solid contact and pin point accuracy will
minimize the challenges and allow for an enjoyable day of golf.
Recognized by many as the “Crown Jewel of Arizona Golf” this four star course
was designed in 1986 by Ted Robinson who is a master at maximizing the impact
of water as a decorative and strategic design feature. Robinson feels that
Ocotillo is the brightest star in his worldwide portfolio that includes Koo
Olin Golf Club on Oahu, Hawaii, Mariott Desert Springs Golf Resort in Palm
Desert, CA and the Phoenician Golf course in Phoenix. Golfers have similar
opinions to Robinson on the outcome of his course design, with Golf Digest’s
Reader’s Poll voting Ocotillo as one of the must play courses.
Signature Holes: Collectively, the golf holes flow as
naturally as a page turning novel, yet each one of the nine possesses its own
true standout. On the blue course, that distinction goes to the 404 yard 8th
hole. The tee shot on this par 4 requires a 200 yard carry over water. A pond
flanks the entire right side and intersects the landing area 100 yards from the
green. Two sprawling bunkers consume the left side. A good drive will leave you
a mid iron approach over water to an elevated three tiered green that is a mere
29 yards deep. The putting surface has an expansive sand trap in front and a
steep faced bunker carved from the rearward mounding.
The Gold course’s 8th hole is its signature, a 172 yard par 3. Deceptively
difficult, the elevated tee provides an up front and honest account of the
obstacles before you. The shot is a mid to long iron over water which also hugs
the right side. Three cavernous bunkers triangulate the landing area front,
left, and right. The green is set before a backdrop of a dozen assorted trees.
The bell shaped putting surface, 31 paces deep, slopes severely making for
slippery down hill putts.
The signature hole of the entire golf course goes to the par 4, 332 yard, 4th
hole on the white course. It requires a tee shot over a lagoon to a generous
peninsula of a fairway. A bridge to the landing area is decked in annuals
adding to the aesthetic nourishment. Two large fairway bunkers act as sentinels
to both the left and right sides of the velvety target. The three tiered green
is set on the far side of the lagoon at the base of a large mound. Two medium
sized traps sit on the left. A rock waterfall featuring a floral pattern of
Augusta national proportions flows from the left of the green into the lagoon
and no fewer than 30 towering palm trees frame the hole.
Score Card - Ocotillo Golf Club
Other Information - Ocotillo Golf Club
Practice Facilities: There is a nice driving range, putting and chipping
green with a practice bunker. Range balls are included for free.
Instructional School: VIP Golf School.
19th Hole: Rising as a glowing centerpiece of the resort, this elegant
structure of glistening Texas limestone and soaring wooden arches is home to
the excellent restaurant Bernard’s at Ocotillo. Rated by Phoenix Magazine as
the best golf restaurant in the Valley, guests can relax in surroundings of
casual elegance, while enjoying some of the finest cuisine found anywhere.
Luxurious and delicious, Ocotillo's guests can select from fine dining
(evening) or a casual bar.
Clubhouse: Ocotillo’s beautifully refined contemporary clubhouse garnered
immediate praise by being awarded golf’s prestigious “Crittenden Architecture
Award” as the “Best New Clubhouse in Golf” in its category. This full service
clubhouse with locker-room has an elegant outdoor patio surrounded by water
falls, streams and a plethora of flower beds. Inside arched ceilings and beams
soar 30 feet high. If you have any last minute golfing needs, one of the best
selections of equipment and accessories in the valley can be found in
Ocotillo’s Pro Shop, which was recognized by the PGA as "Merchandiser of the
Year for 2000" and by Golf World Magazine as one of the top 100 Pro Shops in
the United States.
Golf Digest 4 star rating
Golf Digest Reader’s Poll “Must Play Course”
1997 Crittenden Golf, “Best New Daily Fee Clubhouse”
Golf World Business Magazine “Top 100 Golf Shops”
2001 February Phoenix Magazine “Top Seven Restaurants”
Golf World Magazine as one of the top 100 Pro Shops in the United States.
PGA as "Merchandiser of the Year for 2000"
Ping/Southwest Section PGA Championship
Hosted numerous regional and national qualifiers
Ocotillo has had Stage 2 of the PGA Tour Qualifying School here two times, both
in the mid-1990's. During that same period, Ocotillo hosted one of the first
US-based Asian Tour Qualifying Schools. They also hosted the Southwest Section
PGA Stroke Play Championship and numerous mini-tour events. There are several
events that are played here each year with celebrity guests (mostly current or
former professional athletes). As far as an event with a "big name" sponsor
goes, the Ganem Jewelrs/Alice Cooper event is the most notable.
Designer: Ted Robinson
General Manager: Tom Cortabitarte
Head Pro: Steve Morewitz
Superintendent: Justin Reynolds
Golf School: VIP Golf School
Golf Lessons: Private golf lessons are available.
Grass type: Bermuda grass grows during the summer and landscapers
overseed with a Rye in the winter.
Recommended handicap: It is a challenging course with water trying to
swallow up virtually every shot. The course plays longer than the yardage so
when teeing off error on the side of the shorter tee box. That decision might
save you a few balls as well. You must hit straight. Anyone with a handicap
under 25 will really enjoy the course. High handicappers will still have lots
of fun as long as they don’t mind losing a bunch of balls.
1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists: 8 ½
Comments by Meridian Guests:
- “It is still target golf. You just have water instead of desert
surrounding you at every turn.” “After getting beat up on some of the desert
courses I really enjoyed Ocotillo. It made our golf package perfect by mixing
in an oasis of water, flowers, and lush green to our desert golf experience.”
- “I enjoyed watching some of the wildlife on the course.” “Plays very
long and it is very challenging from the back tees. It is about 7000 yards but
plays longer than that. ” “I loved the double island and the island hole.”
- “A beautiful and refreshing mix after playing all those desert style
courses.” “Each hole showcases a variety of breathtaking homes.” “Simply
magnificent.” “It’s the total package: the golf course, the clubhouse, and the
restaurant were all phenomenal.”
The Drive: Within 30 minutes of Meridian CondoResorts. It is also about
30 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport.