Tucson is the most relaxed of the desert communities that people flock to each winter. This college town is also home to great golf and dramatic desert vistas, with the Catalina Mountains always in view. On this latest visit we were lucky enough to take in Sewailo Golf Club, which has been voted the best course in a golf-rich state.
The relaxed atmosphere starts right away as you land at Tucson Airport. Nobody is in a hurry, and this state-of-the-art facility features all kinds of room. Just 15 minutes away is downtown Tucson, home to the University of Arizona. If you have not been on any of the top university campuses recently, you are in for a big surprise. You will find new buildings, dorms, and food courts, along with the best in athletic facilities. U of A was no exception after going through a billion-dollar capital project.
Many of the golf resorts are set up close to the Catalinas, and these days they stretch all the way north of Oro Valley, some 30 minutes north of downtown. Getting around is very easy here, and the desert vistas extend in all directions.
About 15 minutes west of the airport and southwest of downtown lies the new Sewailo Golf Club, a Notah Begay layout. That name probably rings a bell as you have no doubt seen him as an analyst on the Golf Channel. Begay was a standout player at Stanford and won three times on the PGA Tour before being sidelined with injuries.
Perhaps what he is best known for is being the only full-blooded Native American on the PGA Tour. He also gets a fair amount of notoriety as one of Tiger Woods’s best friends. Soon his skills as a golf course architect will be noticed, as his Sewailo creation is a southwestern treasure.
Sewailo Golf Club has an unpretentious golf clubhouse, but don’t let that fool you. As soon as you travel behind it a couple hundred yards, you will be treated to one of golf’s great facilities. Not only 18 championship holes but two double-sided grass driving ranges with so many chipping and putting greens that I lost count. All set on a rolling desert terrain with no homes in sight.