It's not just snowy in Tucson: Three new happenings to the area golf scene

By Brandon TuckerFebruary 27, 2013, 2:55 am

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Poorly timed snow storms aside, Tucson is set to have a great golf year in 2013 thanks to a handful of new developments. One resort is wrapping up extensive renovations, a prestigious private club is opening its tee sheet and even a brand new golf course is coming to southern Arizona. 

Here's the skinny on what's hot (no WGC irony intended) in Tucson's golf scene: 

Next to Dove Mountain, The Gallery Golf Club opens its tee sheet

Across the street from the 27-hole Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Golf Club is the The Gallery Golf Club, a private 36-hole facility that began offering a limited amount of public tee times on both the North and South courses this year.

The Gallery was the first high-end golf club to come to Marana just north of Tucson, opening its first 18 in 1998. After initiatively offering some public preview play in its opening years, the club went fully private until now. Current operations, which were assumed by Troon Golf last fall, call for alternating public tee times between the North and South courses daily.

Currently, morning rates are $169 while twilight rates are $79 and can be booked on their website. The North Course checked in at No. 25 on Golf Digest's Best-in-State rankings in Arizona for 2011-12, while the South hosted the WGC Accenture Match Play in 2007-08 before it moved to Dove Mountain.


More Choices in Marana: 36-hole Gallery Golf Club now offers public play. 

Hotel and golf course renovations nearing completion at the Westin La Paloma

Along the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountains is the rejuvenated Westin La Paloma Resort, a 497-room hotel that shares 250 acres with La Paloma Country Club and the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. In 2010, the property filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and is now emerging on the other side with extensive, $30 million enhancements that are touching just about every part of the property. Nearly all guest rooms have been entirely redone to this point, while the resort's pool area, slated to reopen April 19th, is the last major component to be finished.

The golf course, open only to members and hotel guests, helped usher in Tucson's high-end course boom in the mid-1980s. It recently completed a full renovation of its greens and bunkers (but are still far more different than Jack's topsy-turvy greens at Dove Mountain up the road). Now seeded with Miniverde Bermuda, La Paloma's greens are no longer over-seeded in the fall like most other area courses. Instead, greenskeepers apply a dye applicant that keeps them green and pure rolling throughout the winter without browning. The practice not only helps green health and saves water but also bids transition periods in the spring and fall adieu.

New golf: Sewailo Golf Club set to open in July at Casino Del Sol

Sewailo Golf Club

Southern Arizona will be the site of a rare brand new course opening in the United States this year, Sewailo Golf Club. This course will be an amenity of the Casino Del Sol, located southwest of Tucson on Pascua Yaqui Tribe property. The 215-room casino hotel, which opened in 2011, features seven restaurants and seven bars to go with live table gaming and slots. Outside, a large pool area is the centerpiece for warm weather fun to go along with a 5,000 seat amphitheater that attracts big acts like Van Halen, Don Henley and James Taylor.

Sewailo, designed by former PGA Tour player Notah Begay III and golf course architect Ty Butler, translates to 'Flower World' and promises an oasis setting full of lush vegetation and water features. 

“We started with a completely flat piece of desert terrain and created a dramatic golf course winding seamlessly through rolling terrain,” Butler told the American Society of Golf Course Architects recently. “Notah and I worked hard to create a mix of superbly crafted strategic holes combined with a wonderful range of shot values and aesthetics.”

The course will be accompanied by a Jack Nicklaus Academy housed in the practice range's 2,000-square-foot, climate-controlled teaching facility. 

Sewailo is scheduled to open in July, which isn't exactly peak golf season in southern Arizona. That said, snow shouldn't be in the forecast on opening day. 

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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.