TontoVerde Course Review
Course Review - Tonto Verde Golf Club, Peaks
In Spanish, Tonto Verde translates to “stupid green.” As the saying goes,
“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and certainly don’t judge this golf course
by its name. Both of Tonto Verde’s spectacular golf courses (The Peaks and The
Ranch) are brilliantly designed to respect both the beauty of the desert and
the ability of the golfer
At Tonto Verde you will experience a country club environment and will always
be treated “or spoiled” like a private member. Don’t be surprised to see a
local member riding around the course in their beautifully appointed Mercedes
or Hummer golf cart. Tonto Verde is kept in tournament like conditions
throughout the year. Perfectly manicured tee boxes, fairways and bunkers are
just the beginning. As you get closer to the hole the conditions just get
better. The lightning quick greens are more like the surface of a pool table,
resulting in the ball rolling so true. Watching long putts roll smoothly
towards the hole with no bounce, is thrilling, and will really test your
putting game. Tonto Verde leaves no stone unturned, and when you get close to
the hole you will realize the perfectly cut cup, is even painted.
Before teeing off you can fine tune your putting game on the extraordinary
52,000 square foot, 18-hole putting course (at no extra charge) with
breathtaking views of the Superstition and Mazatzal Mountains.
Tonto Verde is surrounded by magnificent mountain vistas and rich, lush desert
vegetation, which is shared by deer, coyotes, rabbits, javalinas and songbirds
abound. Both “The Peaks” and “The Ranch,” golf courses have been honored with
national awards for their scenic charm and playability. The fairways are gently
rolling, greens have subtle contours and hazards are fair. Majestic mountains
surround you at every turn. Tall saguaros dot the landscape. The desert sky
floats above you, a perfect dome of blue. In this setting, you’ll find many
challenging and breathtaking holes. To speed the pace of play, state-of-the-art
GPS yardage and course information systems are on the golf carts. Golfers are
allowed to leave cart paths and drive directly to their ball as well.
Score Card - Tonto Verde Golf Club, Peaks
Course Review - Tonto Verde Golf Club, Ranch
The Ranch course opened in 1999 and is a fitting compliment to the original
Peaks course at Tonto Verde. While it shares the same picturesque setting with
great mountain views and memorable sunrises and sunsets, the Ranch Course
offers a different sort of challenge to golfers - a longer course with much
broader fairways. As you approach the green the fairways do narrow demanding
precision accuracy from your iron game. It feels very comfortable off the tee,
while elevated greens and strategic bunkering puts a premium on well conceived
approach shots. The sand bunkers on this course are also much more difficult to
get out of, due to more pronounced lips around the edges. The layout is well
balanced with a strong collection of par 3’s, all playing in different
directions and a couple of trademark par 4’s. Each of the par 5’s provides a
scenic challenge with various playing options
Picking one signature hole is virtually impossible
because there are many outstanding unique holes with eye popping desert
scenery. Therefore, we have picked a signature par 3, par 4 and par 5.
The gorgeous 14th hole is a reachable par 4, (around
300 yards and slightly uphill) and the course allows you to go for it. A river
runs along the entire right side adding danger, beauty and tranquility, and yet
it is far enough away not to interfere with your shot. Three humungous bunkers
block your line to the green, but there is more than 40 yards of fairway
clearance between the sand and the green, tempting the big hitter to go for it.
Hit it hard and straight and you will be rewarded with an eagle putt.
The picturesque 15th hole is a 200 yard par 3. Water
and sand surrounds the front and right side of the green. The safe play is
aiming to the left side of the green.
The fabulous risk to reward, dogleg 17th hole, is a reachable 500 + yard par 5
and is the epitome of desert/target golf. The tee shot is to an extremely wide
landing area allowing you to take a rip without any real danger. If you drive
it far and to the left side of the fairway you have the option to go for the
green. This approach shot will have to travel over the desert landscape and if
you don’t “nail it” you will be crawling around cacti trying to find your ball.
The safe play on the 2nd shot is laying up to the 2nd fairway located well to
the right of the green. A good chip from there and you are still putting for
Score Card - Tonto Verde Golf Club, Ranch
Other Information - Tonto Verde Golf Club
Practice Facilities: Driving range, putting and chipping green, sand
bunkers, plus an extraordinary 52,000 square foot, 18-hole putting course with
breathtaking views of the Superstition and Mazatzal Mountains. Range balls are
Instructional School: Yes, they have an onsite golf school called the
Tonto Verde Golf School. Three day golf schools are available.
19th Hole: Two dining rooms offer service and cuisine in a friendly and
casually elegant environment. It offers magnificent views as you enjoy the
great food. There is also a snack bar, and drink cart.
Clubhouse: 27,000 square foot full service clubhouse overlooks the lakes
on holes number nine and eighteen from the Peaks course. It is designed for
indoor and outdoor enjoyment with a floor plan that maximizes sunset views from
outdoor terraces. The pro shop provides everything from professional lessons to
golf apparel and equipment.
Voted 12th best course in Arizona – Golf Digest.
Gold Nugget Award of Merit for the best designed clubhouse recreation facility
(public/private) in the west.
Designer: Peaks: David Graham/ Gary Panks. Ranch: Gary Panks
Director of Golf: David Cox
Golf Pro: Cale Cournoyer
Superintendent: Tyler Koser
Golf Lessons: Yes. Even three day golf schools are available.
Grass type: Bermuda with Rye overseed. Bent grass greens.
Recommended handicap: Both courses have five sets of tees. This allows
golfers of all skill levels to choose the distance that will result in an
enjoyable and challenging round of golf, without getting beat up in the
process. High and low handicappers will enjoy the layout, conditions, peaceful
desert setting, amazing mountain scenery, and will be challenged by the layout
and the greens.
1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists:
Peaks: 8 ½
Ranch: 9 ½
Comments by Meridian Guests:
- “One of the nicest County Club settings I have ever experienced. I can’t wait
to come back next year.” “Similar to GrayHawk. Both have two courses with many
parallels including similar layouts. However, Tonto Verde offers a more
magnificent setting, even better course conditions, and is more fun and
- “My wife went nuts over the views, scenery and country club atmosphere, I
just enjoyed the layout and the conditions.” “Last year I played the Peaks
course and loved it. This year I played the Ranch course and it might even be
better.” “So peaceful, relaxing, and mesmerizing.”
- “The conditions just blew us all away. There is no excuse if you miss a putt
because they roll true.” “Wow! Tonto Verde is heaven.”
The Drive: A scenic and peaceful 30 minute drive through the desert.
TontoVerde Golf Club
18401 El Circulo Drive
Rio Verde, AZ 85263