Tough Canoa Ranch Golf Club near Tucson: A rugged walk in the southern Arizona aridness

By Travel ArticlesMarch 20, 2012, 4:00 am

GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. -- Canoa Ranch Golf Club, a rugged walk in the southern Arizona aridness, is a difficult, 6,701-yard par 71 designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley that traverses downhill through arroyo-cut terrain. It has a hole that reminds you of its ranching heritage as it skirts a windmill and corral, and takes the golfer back to a high plateau where stout mesquites bend in a desert wind.

Pay attention or your next wayward drive could be unplayable.

Canoa Ranch, which was once as large as Grand Canyon National Park, was a historical compound important as far back as 900 A.D. when Hohokam Indians diverted water from the Santa Cruz River for farming.

Then came the Spanish, who ranched the San Ignacio de Canoa land grant in 1821. Anglos arrived in 1876, taking ownership.

Today, Canoa Ranch is just one of many retirement-age-type communities, about 30 miles south of Tucson, that encompass the area around Green Valley.

Canoa Ranch Golf Club: The course

Since opening in 2003, the nines have been reversed, it's been changed from par 70 to 71, and the initial chaparral rye fairways (an experiment to eliminate rye over-seeding in winter) exchanged for Bermuda. GPS on the carts will help you negotiate the layout.

'I think most golfers like the layout, the views and the rolling landscape,' Canoa Ranch Golf Club Assistant Professional Henry Madril said. 'If you spray the ball sideways, you will have a long day, because the desert is unforgiving, and there are some forced carries that demand precision.'

What you might really like or dislike are the six par 3s -- most of them very challenging and scenic.

The third is a daunting, 239-yard par 3 that is obscured by a rocky hillside to the right, but the putting surface is 7,000 square feet guarded by a bunker on the front left.

No. 13, a 208-yard par 3, requires a carry over huge rocks and brush to a green that is contoured and bunkered.

The ranching heritage can be seen on the scenic sixth, named Cole's Corral, because of the windmill and corral to the right of the fairway on this 400-yard par 4 that goes downhill and curves slightly to the left. That bunker on the right side of the green catches a lot of balls.

No. 11, a 549-yard par 5, wiggles downhill with islands of fairway surrounded by desert.

The finale, a 576-yard par 5, is the No. 1 handicap hole. Not only do you have to nail a drive downhill to a fairway that moves left, you have to be precise -- most likely into a southerly breeze to layup short of an arroyo -- or be perfect to a green that is 50 feet above you.

'It's one of the toughest par 5s I've ever played,' was the sentiment I heard all day from my playing partners. As well as, 'That hole gets the best of me every time.'

Canoa Ranch Golf Club: The verdict

'This is a difficult golf course,' said Barry Nelson, the starter who is a lifetime resident of the area. 'I think people like the views -- one can see vast distances. Also, the elevation changes add to the experience. The greens are very fast, and sometimes you can read a break that's not there, but normally they break toward the Santa Cruz River Valley.'

This is a golf course I'd love to play when the Bermuda has left its dormant status and the wind is not blowing 30 miles per hour. Talk about a challenge. But you can't always have perfect weather in the desert.

Canoa Ranch has an excellent practice area and professional golf lessons are available.

But you might enjoy relaxing at The Grill on the Green's American cuisine that includes grilled salmon, filet mignon, pork tenderloin and rack of lamb, plus entree salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks and desserts.

Elephant Head Mountain is the view from the Grill and the 2,700-square-foot clubhouse, where you can schedule corporate tournaments, meetings, banquets and parties.

Where to stay at Canoa Ranch

The Wyndham Canoa Ranch Golf Resort is just across the street from the clubhouse and offers luxury, relaxation and a spa. Wi-fi is included, and golf packages are available, including for the nearby Torres Blancas Golf Club.

Home and condo owners in Canoa Ranch have access to many amenities including indoor and outdoor pool, fitness center, hobby rooms, library, billiards and more. Canoa Ranch residents are not limited to the amenities within their community. The collective nature of Green Valley means that members can use any of the recreational facilities and amenities throughout the valley.

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.