What an incredible setting! What an amazing display of nature’s pure beauty! And just think - there are still 26 more holes of golf to play at the Starr Pass Country Club & Spa, where each hole is a remarkable display of the harmony between sensitive golf design and the area’s natural landscape. With names like Rattler, Coyote and Roadrunner, it is clear the course here is a celebration of the grandeur of the Southwest.
Palmer Course Design’s talented team recently completed a $5.5 million renovation project at Starr Pass, a true desert golf course known for its challenging layout and design. The world-renowned golf-course architecture company, whose portfolio consists of more than 300 courses in 24 countries, added nine new holes and remodeled the original 8 at the famous resort.
Starr Pass, site of the Tucson Open from 987 to 996, is known for being one of the most demanding tournament courses. Its infamous hole No. 3 was named the most difficult hole on the PGA Tour in 996. According to Palmer Course Design project architect Eric Wiltse, the reconstruction of the original 8 was planned with golfers at every ability level in mind and resulted in a more user-friendly course with more visible, shallow sand bunkers, softer, larger greens, and wider fairways.
“Starr Pass is a spectacular golf course with some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere in the country,” Wiltse said. “Remodeling the original 8 will allow more players to enjoy this amazing golf experience.”
Starr Pass owner Peter Ansley said: “The course at Starr Pass is now more playable but you can still make it challenging for tournament players and put the sting back into it. It is a true representation of an Arnold Palmer course - there are 27 holes that everyone can enjoy.”
Palmer Course Design added a “Palmer Tee” for golfers who hit their drives like the pros and enlarged the practice area to ensure more players would benefit from the facilities. Players will now enjoy a 33,000 square-foot driving range and a 0,000 square-foot practise green, featuring an area dedicated to the short-game where golfers can practice pitching and hitting from bunkers.
“Palmer Course Design is a first-class organization that is very good at what they do: creating beautiful courses that are enjoyable for golfers at every level,” Ansley added. “From the beginning, we knew this was truly going to be something special because when you work with Palmer Course Design, you get the attention of a true golf icon, Arnold Palmer, as well as the talent and skill of Ed Seay and the entire Palmer team. They met everything we were looking for with both the design of the new nine and the remodeling of the original 8.
Starr Pass ranges from a challenging 7,000 yards to a more manageable 5,23 yards, thus enabling professional players and weekend duffers alike to enjoy the championship resort course. The 3,490-yard Rattler course at Starr Pass begins with a dramatic view of the city
and surrounding mountain ranges as players tee it up towards the elevated green. The course incorporates elevation changes and natural washes, forcing players to make wise club selections to avoid the many hazards.
The Coyote course is a serene and peaceful stretch of land where players are likely to see native wildlife nearby as they go from tee to green. The par-four No. 6 is the signature hole on this course. It capitalizes on Palmer’s risk/reward philosophy and forces players to decide whether to lay up in front of the natural outcropping of rock in the landing area or attempt to drive the ball past, which would leave a much shorter approach shot to the green. At 3,52 yards, the Coyote is a picturesque course that provides plenty of challenges as well as satisfaction for well-played holes and smartly taken decisions.
The newest of the three courses, the 3,24-yard Roadrunner, was designed to compliment the changes made to the original 8 while showcasing the natural beauty of the terrain and native landscape of the Sonoran Desert. There are exciting elevation changes and fewer forced carries on the new track that has four holes situated near the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.
On hole No. 3, players can be easily distracted by the incredible view of the resort, city and surrounding mountains and misjudge the yardage down its dramatic downhill slope. Needless to say, careful club selection is a must on this hole. The Roadrunner is a welcome addition to Starr Pass and provides a test for players at every level.
“With a beautiful 27-hole golf course designed by golf’s King and a hotel unrivaled by any other in the area, Starr Pass is really a world-class resort,” Ansley said. “They truly compliment one another.
”According to Ansley, many of the resort’s guests have commented that they would return
to Starr Pass just for the golf experience.
While the 27 holes of spectacular golf are a big attraction at Starr Pass, the new resort showcasing elegant Southwestern flair provides anything but ordinary accommodations for guests. The JW Marriott consists of 575 luxurious rooms and 35 suites with private balconies offering breathtaking views. The rooms feature warm, inviting colors, custom-made furniture, soft beds covered with down duvets and plenty of pillows, and bathrooms with large tubs and separate showers, making guests feel right at home. The JW Marriott also offers first-class amenities including tennis courts, fitness facilities, seven restaurants, a swimming pool and
a separate 20,000 square-foot Hashani spa where guests can forget all their cares.
Guests of the resort can also take advantage of nature’s playground within the 40,000 acres of the nearby Tucson Mountain and Saguaro National parks where there are miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trials.
With 27 holes of fun and challenging golf in an awe-inspiring setting and a resort designed to make every guest feel like royalty, Starr Pass Country Club & Spa is the answer for those who love to golf and those who love golf enthusiasts. It provides a relaxing atmosphere with
a variety of activities and endless opportunities to take in nature’s majesty.
Palmer Course Design
Founded on the philosophy and standards of excellence embraced by the game’s foremost ambassador, Arnold Palmer, Palmer Course Design has created some of golf’s most memorable and awe-inspiring courses throughout the world. With nearly 300 active projects and open golf courses in 38 states and 23 countries, Palmer Course Design applies fundamental design elements to any style of course and is committed to providing an outstanding golf experience as the company continues to develop its exciting new designs.
For more information about Palmer Course Design, call (904) 285-3960 or visit www.palmerdesign.com.
Starr Pass Country Club & Spa:3645 West Starr Pass Blvd.,
Tucson, Arizona, 85745
Phone: (520) 670-0400 Toll Free: (800) 503-2898
Web: www.starrpass.com JW Marriott
Starr Pass Resort:Phone: (520) 792-3500Web: www.jwmarriottstarrpass.com