2008 Arizona Stroke Play Championship AM/AM
1. The Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa
Since 1929, the legendary Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa has been providing quality accommodations, activities, cuisine and service. Located in Phoenix’s burgeoning West Valley, The Wigwam’s unique, garden-like setting seems a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Exceptional golf has long been a hallmark of The Wigwam experience. Steeped in tradition, the Wigwam’s three 18-hole championship golf courses offer a diversity that cannot be matched by any other Arizona resort.Here, the golf enthusiast has their pick of three 18-hole courses—54 holes of championship golf including two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. And, in true Wigwam style, each course—The Gold, The Blue and The Red—offers a unique challenge that adds spice and variety to one’s stay at this timeless and relaxing retreat.
The Wigwam offers guests a choice of 331 spacious accommodations from guestrooms to luxury suites spread across a residential-style campus. The resort offers dining pleasures that are as diverse as they are inspired. They include two AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurants—The Arizona Kitchen, featuring fine Southwestern cuisine, and the contemporary, upscale Red’s Steakhouse. The Grill at the Wigwam offers a contemporary take on casual, country club fare.
And the crown jewel of relaxation, the Red Door Spa. The two-story spa facility mirrors The Wigwam’s historic, signature adobe-style architecture and offers relaxing massages, rejuvenating wraps and other signature treatments. Many of the treatment rooms feature outdoor patios and three offer outdoor treatment areas with comfortable lounge chairs and amazing views.
2. The Omni Tucson National Resort
Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains and inspired by the natural environment and scenic desert setting, the Omni Tucson National Resort is Tucson’s true, legendary destination.
Following a $70 million transformation, the resort will unveil a masterful blend of nature, inspiration and luxury throughout 2009. The Omni Tucson National Resort’s new luxurious guest accommodations include well-appointed rooms and suites—all with a private patio or balcony, and extravagant views of lush vegetation, sparkling pools or breathtaking mountains. Additionally, guests can take in the emerald fairways and the pure air of this legendary golf retreat, and experience native Southwestern aromatherapy in a worldclass spa.
Selected as one of Golf Digest’s 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America, the Omni Tucson National Resort is, quite simply, a revered destination retreat featuring two distinctly different championship 18-hole courses. A mere chip shot from the back door lies a rare find—one extraordinary facility and two of the game’s most sought-after challenges.
On the original course, Catalina, championship golf awaits. This 18-hole course, designed by Robert Bruce Harris, offers the gentle contours and treelined fairways of a traditional course. Home to the PGA Tour’s Tucson Open for decades, players measure their game against champions past as they stride manicured fairways where Nicklaus, Trevino and Palmer battled for glory.
The breathtaking Sonoran course is a legend in its own right. Designed by Tour champion and Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman to fit its native desert setting, this target-style course demands precision at every turn, on every hole. Featuring dramatic elevation changes, there isn’t a more dynamic golf experience to challenge golfers of all skill levels.
3. Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club
Winding through the canyons and arroyos of this 600-acre high Sonoran Desert preserve are two Tom Fazio-designed championship golf courses. The golf experience at Ventana Canyon offers a unique blend of challenge and playability. Both the Mountain and the Canyon courses meander from one unique hole to another. Four sets of tees allow each player to test his or her ability on a well-marked and manicured course.
The Mountain: The most photographed hole west of the Mississippi, the celebrated Mountain Number 3, plays across 107 yards of cactus and canyons and the tee offers a breathtaking panorama that stretches for a hundred miles across the Sonoran Desert into Mexico. A classic desertstyle, target course, the Mountain has many changes in elevation and several elevated tees. Putting is a challenge because the greens are undulating and typically fast.
The Canyon: The Canyon Golf Course winds through the inspiring beauty of Esperro Canyon and incorporates the massive rock formation known as Whaleback Rock. Golf at Ventana is a challenging and memorable event. It’s a visit with nature that not only includes the beauty of the desert foliage, but also a visit with wildlife such as deer, roadrunners, quail, rabbits, bobcats and birds of every description.
4. Camelback Golf Club
Luxury comes naturally at Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. You’ll find 36-holes of championship Arizona golf, a signature Spa and lavish meeting space for conferences and events. Hotel casitas with traditional Southwestern décor are spread throughout the resort’s desert landscape. The resort includes an extensive pool complex ideal for family vacations. In November 2003, The Spa at Camelback Inn was re-opened boasting an $8 million “tothe-walls” renovation. The award-winning Spa at Camelback Inn blends the indulgences of a full-service destination spa within a spectacular resort offering the ambiance and magic of the Sonoran
Desert. Featuring a full complement of spa offerings, the 32,000-square-foot world class Spa includes a state-of-the-art fitness center, 32 treatment rooms and Scottsdale’s only spa restaurant, Sprouts. Panoramic views of crimson-hued Camelback and Mummy mountains, fiery Arizona sunsets and the picturesque, desert landscaping can be enjoyed from the Olympic size lap pool and outdoor Jacuzzi.
Padre Course: From the mind of world-renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills comes a course that promises an enjoyable and unforgettable golf adventure. The Padre Course features towering trees, subtle landforms and impressive bunkering to sharpen your game. This 6,903-yard, par 72 design is known for its strategic layout, challenging water holes, recently having had its 9th hole voted the best water hole in the state by Arizona Golf Magazine.
Indian Bend Course: This traditional American links-style course has been created in a breathtaking setting with magnificent mountain backdrops, lush palm and eucalyptus-lined fairways and scenic water holes. The 7,014-yard, par 72-course is a dynamic layout that will be sure to test your skills while offering a friendly golf experience.
5. Arizona Golf Resort
Experience warm, inviting hospitality among fine accommodations, great dining options, picturesque golf course and lush landscaping. Enjoy amazing landscape amidst one hundred foot palms, cottonwood and eucalyptus trees, sparkling swimming pool, relaxing Jacuzzis, luxurious sleeping rooms with full kitchenettes and outdoor barbecue grills. The setting is charming, tranquil and friendly. Vacationing at the Arizona Golf Resort can be just as laid back or active as you desire. Arizona activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, shopping, desert tours, golfing and more.You can also do absolutely nothing but relax poolside or on your patio, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and beautiful scenery.Vacationers and business travelers
alike will enjoy local shopping (Superstition Springs Mall), restaurants, nightlife and entertainment just minutes from your front door.
Exceptional Golf is a tradition at the Arizona Golf Resort.Well renowned for some picturesque and challenging par three holes, the Arizona Golf Resort offers 18-holes of PGA-rated Championship Golf. The lush fairways are lined with massive cottonwood and eucalyptus trees, serene lake settings, mature vegetation, expansive fairways and gently sloping, well-manicured greens. With our championship tee over 6,500 yards, this par 71 resort course is a challenging outing for any level of player. This traditional course offers a great test of accuracy with its tree-lined fairways, bunkers and other hazards.
6. Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
Opened Feb. 23, 1929 to great fanfare, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa was the original Arizona resort that set the stage for the development of the state into a major tourist destination. With its luxurious facilities and distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired design, from the beginning it has been a playground for the rich and famous. At the same time, it has long been a destination of choice for discriminating travelers, whether couples seeking a pampered getaway in an historic setting or families looking for amenities and services for all ages. After 78 years, the Biltmore remains Arizona’s historic Grande Dame—the state’s best-known retreat for a complete luxury resort experience and a storied landmark recognized around the world.
Biltmore guests enjoy preferred tee times at The Links and the Adobe, both located at the adjacent Arizona Biltmore Country Club and set in the shadow of the impressive peaks of Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The Links, the younger of the Biltmore family, is smart, fresh and a bit precocious. Rolling fairways lined with luscious pines meander through the homes in Phoenix, well-bunkered greens demand precision shot selection and the contoured greens roll as they come. The Adobe course is considered stately and grand, a forefather of modern design. The Adobe offers a simplistic beauty hard to find in an era when trickery is a goal in golf course architecture. The lush, 50 year-old fairways and spacious layout are a reminder of the game the way it was meant to be—a time when graphite was for pencil lead and golf balls only came in one color.
Tom Cunningham – Forever Young
By Bill Huffman
Tom Cunningham has been the executive director of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona for the past 13 years. As one of state’s most influential people in the golf industry, Cunningham oversees 1,100 junior golf members with a total reach of up to 3,000 children annually. A long-time resident of Phoenix, Cunningham, 64, is both well-organized and well-respected by his peers, and the children who play under the JGAA banner think the world of him. Recently he sat down with Arizona, The State of Golf to answer some questions about his life and the vision behind the JGAA.
Q: What led you into golf?
A: I started playing a little bit when I was at West High School [in Phoenix], and a little less when I was at Arizona State.When I married my wife of 40 years, Dorothy, that’s when I started playing regularly. She was an avid golfer and we became members at Phoenix Country Club. That’s when I was playing a lot of golf.
Q: Who were the people that influenced your early life the most?
A: I think about that question a lot, because I lost my father when I was 24 and my mother when I was 26. I guess probably my father-inlaw, Frank Middleton, who had a company called the Standard Insurance Agency, where I worked for 20 years. It was a real family business. It was all in the family, so to speak.
Q: How did you make your way to executive director of the JGAA?
A: After I left the insurance company, I went to work for a bank here in town. At that time I also was completing my second term as president of the JGAA, which had become my passion. There was some turmoil in the JGAA at the time, so I took a temporary leave of absence from the bank the summer of 1994 to get things straightened out. Almost immediately, I discovered I loved working with kids, and here I am.
Q: How has the philosophy of the JGAA evolved in your 13 years?
A: My objective originally was to stabilize the organization and reinsert some discipline in our programs. I felt the tail was wagging the dog, and I wanted to bring back the etiquette and discipline that it needed to re-establish that respect factor. Today, we still stick to those basic principles, but promoting the game for all skill levels also is a big
part of that mission.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the JGAA?
A: I hate to say this, but [eroding] family values. They’re just not as strong as they
once were. Sadly, kids get away with too much, but you have to have rules and discipline. For instance, they might not understand why they didn’t get to play
because they were five minutes late for their tee time. But eventually they learn how being late effects golf and their life.
Q: What are the most important lessons you teach junior golfers?
A: Respect, not only for the game of golf, but for the people who help run it.We not only encourage them to do things like fix ball marks and send thank-you notes, we also teach them how to give back through volunteer work. It’s not just about being respectful towards our staff; it’s also about going in and thanking the guy in the pro shop, too.
Q: How does teaching girls differ from teaching boys, and visa versa?
A: What I’ve found over the years is that girls tend to be a little more social about golf than boys. They like to hang out with each other more than the boys do and they’re not as consumed with scores. Boys on the other hand, are a lot more competitive at all levels, even at ages 8, 9 and 10. So you handle them accordingly.
Q: Has the First Tee been as successful as you originally thought it would be?
A: Initially, most of the focus of the First Tee was on getting as many kids in the game as possible, focusing on those who were underprivileged. Unfortunately, it was hard to grow that group because, for many, the game was too hard, or harder than they thought. Then they flipped that philosophy over to the core values of life, and it’s been a big success even if the numbers don’t reflect that yet. But now it’s about quality rather than
quantity, and one of the best at following that path is right here in Phoenix. The First Tee of Phoenix has been a big success.
Q: Are parents getting better or worse when it comes to their role in junior golf?
A: [Laughter] Well, that’s a good question. [More laughter] That’s very hard to answer.
I’ll say this: the biggest problems come from parents who don’t play golf but their kids do. So there’s a lot of explaining that goes on, and a lot of mixed messages. In most cases you just need to be patient.
Q: What’s your advice to parents who have a potential “future star?”
A: Let them be themselves. Let them enjoy the game and allow them to be as competitive as they want to be. Don’t be too quick moving them along, because it’s such a fine line. But if a kid has the talent and has already mastered what he or she needs to master at that level, I don’t mind seeing them moving up [in competition].
Q: Is junior golf growing like you thought it would?
A: It hasn’t quite recovered from 9-11; it really took a hit that year just like golf, in general. Today, there’s a lot more enthusiasm, and we are getting a lot of inquiries. It’s steady, and we’ve actually increased our membership every year for the last four years. The key to growth is accessibility and affordability, and making it as least intrusive as possible for the family. The way I look at it is, if we can get them on the course, they’ll have a good time.
Q: What do you gain the most satisfaction from when it comes to junior golf?
A: At the end of the day, when a kid comes up to me or someone else involved with a tournament or event and says, “Thank you,’’ or if they just mention how much they have enjoyed the day. The other day, Ted Purdy told me if it wasn’t for junior golf, he wouldn’t be where he is today. I’m sure he’s giving us more credit than we might deserve, but that’s a really nice thing to say.
Q: The Thunderbirds have always been a big part of your life. What’s that been like?
A: Being part of the Thunderbirds has been one of the best things about my life. I was active for five years, and I’ve been around for another 20 years doing whatever they needed help with. I’m so proud of the FBR Open, how it’s grown, and all we’ve done for charity. I am eternally grateful I was chosen to be a Thunderbird.
Q: How’s you golf game? Do you get to play much?
A: I did all that earlier in my life. I was a 4 [handicap] at one time, but today I’m an 8 and I can’t break 90. I’m not burned out, but with my job there are time constraints. Maybe when I retire I’ll get back to it. But even then it will probably only be nine holes. I’m not an 18-holer any more.
Q: What’s something that few people know about Tom Cunningham?
A: [Laughing] Well, I’m not an open book. That’s a tough one. I can’t think of any secrets because what you see is what you get. I guess if anything, I bite my tongue a lot. It’s gotten a lot shorter over the years. [More laughter]
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: Being married to my wife for 40 years, and raising our four boys, who all are a joy to be around. That my family loves being a family is very gratifying to me.We’re close; we’re tight. That’s a very comforting, satisfying feeling.
Q: How much longer to you plan to lead the JGAA?
A: We’re in the process of that [retirement] happening with the arrival of Sean Ferris, who will succeed me. I’d like to do the job for two or three more years if my health allows it. I’ve still got a few things to accomplish; mostly getting out JGAA’s message. When I leave I want people to know what the JGAA does, and that our message is clear.
Q: What would you like your legacy to be?
A: That he was honest and treated people fairly, and what he did was always based on improving things and making things better. It’s never been about me; it’s always been about us. I’d like to be known as someone who gave way more than he took.
Davie Gilchrist – A Royal Visitor
By Ed Gowan
Every golfer knows that the game has ancient beginnings and traditions. Many today will still admit that’s an important aspect of golf, though the numbers of those who do are clearly declining.
But, especially for those privileged enough to enjoy the game in Scotland on occasion, a return to bygone days can bring very special experiences and memories.
During this past winter season, we were blessed to have one of golf ’s princes in town, sharing his vision and experience with a few, and now you. His name is David Gilchrist, from the neighborhood of St. Andrews, or more accurately, Kings Barns—just up the road. Davey, as his long-time Arizona friend, J. Michael Meadows calls him, is the Caddie Master at Kings Barns, a wonderful modern edition of Scottish links land golf.
A relationship with a real caddie is a dance, a melding of knowledge, golf skills (or lack thereof), strategic thinking, course analysis and, of course, humor. Don’t forget the humor. In fact, if you
don’t have a sense of humor, avoid Scottish caddies. They will know that, and you will find out, usually in a way that will have your fellow golfers reeling in guffaws.
Caddie stories have abounded for centuries, but like rules and happenings, there are always new ones to be told from nearly every round. Davey has a few. Some take the form of advice:
“It’s best to keep one’s mouth shut until the ball comes to rest,” he says, to keep your psychological controls strong.
“If you drop something, pick it up. A caddie carries clubs, he doesn’t baby-sit them.”
“Sand wedges are for sand only in Scotland,” referring to the normally rock-hard fairways, suited more to bump-and-run shots.
And one of the best lines after your opponent complains about your justplayed shot that gets inside his, “What did you hit, there?” Your caddie will defend you with, “Sir, this is a game of ‘How many?’ not ‘What with?!”
He also will share a story or two if you’re found to be friendly.
“One group played Kings Barns several days in a row, with three players taking caddies and the fourth pulling a trolley. The fourth player quickly gained a reputation for being cheap, as he would
ask the caddies throughout the round for advice, but forget to tip at the end of the day. On the third day, a particularly windy day, the group came to the 15th hole, a dogleg right par 3, close against the sea. In fact, the hole that day was far to the rear, making it mandatory to play over the rocky shore with a strong crosswind blowing out to sea.
“As the caddies were discussing the probable ‘playing club selection’—because in Scotland that’s the only thing that matters (yardage is only part of the equation)—the fourth player asked, ‘Well, boys, what do you think it is?’ Without any hesitation, one caddie replied, ‘Sir, why don’t you ask your Trolley?’ Point made.”
After one PGA Tour player had flung his driver some 60 yards ahead of the 14th tee after a tee shot, Davey reminded him, “Best to throw it forward so you can pick it up on your way to the next hole.”
Or the classic line used by all Scottish caddies when asked after an errant tee shot, “Caddie, what’s over there?” They respond,“Well, Sir, your ball for one thing! Never have been there myself before.”
On the suggestion of his club professional, Davey tried caddying several years ago “You’ll really fall in love with the game in a way you could never imagine.”
Within a few short months, his clubs were packed away, and 36-holes-a-day were the norm, carrying doubles. The money didn’t matter anymore; he had found his dream and home.
A few short years later, here we are in Phoenix with David Gilchrist, taking a few months off for R&R, golf, but still caddying at Phoenix CC. (By the way, a rusty game, his tenth round of the last year [played at Moon Valley], resulted in a reasonable score of 75.)
So, should you join the fortunate with a visit to the spectacular Kings Barns near St. Andrews, book yourself a starting time, and email the club with a request to have Davey Gilchrist “look after your caddie request—you’re a friend from Arizona." As Davey said, “If you love golf, you’re always my friend.” Don’t miss the chance, and say “hi” for the rest of us.
And, please bring us a new story!
It\‘s License Time Again
By Lorraine Thies
It’s once again time for member clubs to renew their license agreement to issue USGA Handicap Indexes. Without a license, clubs cannot issue an official USGA Handicap nor can they use the USGA Course or Slope ratings to calculate a number that they call a handicap.
There are two ways for clubs to obtain a license to issue USGA Handicaps; one is for a club to apply (individually) for a license directly to the USGA. The other is for the club to join an authorized golf association.
Lucky you…if you’ve received this magazine in the mail, it means that you are a member of a club that has chosen the second option.
Why is that a good thing?
As a member, we cover your back. We guide your club through the necessary steps to be in compliance with the rules of the USGA Handicap System. You can be assured that all of our member clubs are aware of the system requirements and act appropriately in order to make the game fair and equitable not only when playing with fellow club members, but also when playing with others outside your club.
As a member, we’re your eyes and ears. You’re entitled to assistance from us in the management of your club and in making sure that you and other clubs in the state utilize the tools that we’ve provided. Having a problem with someone in your club who is winning all your events? We’ll help you develop policies that can manage that individual. Having trouble getting members to post scores? We have tools to reel them in and make them accountable. Having trouble with members not posting scores when traveling or taking a summer hiatus in a cooler climate? We have a way to make it easy for them to post.
What does it take to maintain a license with the AGA/USGA? There is a compliance checklist made up of 17 standards that clubs must agree to follow. A few key items include:
Have a signed license agreement in place with a local authorized golf association or the USGA prior to issuing a USGA Handicap Index to its members.
Have a representative of the club certified in the USGA Handicap System.
Have a Handicap Committee madeup of mostly members and chaired by a member.
Follow the revision schedule of the authorized golf association in that region.
Require the posting of all scores both home and away.
Facilitate peer review of scoring records.
Reduce or increase the Handicap Index of any player whose handicap does not reflect the player’s potential ability.
Utilize equitable stroke control to adjust scores before posting.
Use the course and slope ratings issued by the authorized golf association in your area.
(A complete list of the compliance items can be found in the USGA Handicap System Manual on pg 54.)
The USGA Handicap System is made up of is a series of checks and balances. It’s certainly not a perfect system, but we’ve found that, for the most part, people who post scores following the prescribed rules have a handicap that makes them competitive. Rest assured your golf association is here to make sure that’s the case. If you’re experiencing problems with members and need our assistance, or are just looking for more information about the management tools we provide, contact our Director of Handicapping, Diane Coolidge at 602-944-3035, 800-458-8484 or [email protected]