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Ocotillo Course Review

Ocotillo Golf Course Scottsdale Arizona Ocotillo Golf Course Scottsdale Arizona Ocotillo Golf Course Scottsdale Arizona Ocotillo Golf Course Scottsdale Arizona

Course Review - Ocotillo Golf Club

Water water everywhere and not a single cactus to see. At first glance you may think you have fallen victim to a desert mirage while playing at the Ocotillo Golf Club. Although the word ocotillo means cactus branch, you won’t see a cactus or a mountain peak at this golf course located in Chandler, Arizona. Ocotillo is not for golfers seeking a pure desert golf experience. Ocotillo is a vacation from the desert, with its luscious rolling fairways and abundance of crystal blue water.

The drive up to the clubhouse is a foreshadowing of the round that awaits you. The signature hole is showcased on the right side as you enter the clubhouse. Sparkling water runs along the entire left side of the emerald fairway as it is fed by gigantic green-side cascading waterfalls.

Managed by Troon Golf, Ocotillo Golf Resort adheres to the highest standards of course conditions, customer service and amenities, creating a country club experience at what has become known as one of the nation’s finest daily-fee facilities. The landscape throughout the 27 Hole Ted Robinson design is full of soothing rich greens and deep blues. Using many of his well-known trademarks in the creation of this masterpiece, Ocotillo is a panorama of cascading waterfalls, palm trees, gently rolling fairways and brightly colored flowerbeds that have been blended into a remarkable golfer’s paradise. This truly superb 27 hole championship facility, is now located only minutes from most of the Valley’s prominent resorts and hotels via the newly opened 101 Price Freeway. Ocotillo Golf Resort’s golf shop has been voted as one of the “Top 100 Golf Shop in the country”. For after golf dining, guests can enjoy the casual club bar or the more luxurious atmosphere of Bernard’s Restaurant. Private parties can choose between the newly added indoor-outdoor Crown Terrace Ballroom for hundreds of guests or the more intimate Director’s room for up to 35.

Ocotillo Golf Club’s 27 hole layout (3 separate nines) winds through 95 acres, including 7 miles of shoreline, lakes and cascading water features. Fully mature trees, lush landscaping and colorful flowerbeds contribute significantly to the comfort, beauty, and challenge of this elegant Arizona Oasis. Unique among all others in the Valley, Ocotillo is a lushly landscaped retreat with superbly maintained grounds and broad rolling fairways that provide golfers with a refreshing change of pace from the desert style golf where target fairways are almost always surrounded by unforgiving rocks and cacti.

At Ocotillo the biggest challenge is keeping your ball out of the lakes (water comes into play on 24 of its 27 holes). There are island fairways, island greens and even a hole offering both. The big hitters can be aggressive as long as they are straight. You do not have to lay-up, but must be vigilant of water on the sides of the fairways and greens. When you keep the ball dry you are still faced with the challenge of staying out of the 170 strategically placed sand bunkers. The next challenge is negotiating the subtly contoured greens. Smart course management along with solid contact and pin point accuracy will minimize the challenges and allow for an enjoyable day of golf.

Recognized by many as the “Crown Jewel of Arizona Golf” this four star course was designed in 1986 by Ted Robinson who is a master at maximizing the impact of water as a decorative and strategic design feature. Robinson feels that Ocotillo is the brightest star in his worldwide portfolio that includes Koo Olin Golf Club on Oahu, Hawaii, Mariott Desert Springs Golf Resort in Palm Desert, CA and the Phoenician Golf course in Phoenix. Golfers have similar opinions to Robinson on the outcome of his course design, with Golf Digest’s Reader’s Poll voting Ocotillo as one of the must play courses.

Signature Holes: Collectively, the golf holes flow as naturally as a page turning novel, yet each one of the nine possesses its own true standout. On the blue course, that distinction goes to the 404 yard 8th hole. The tee shot on this par 4 requires a 200 yard carry over water. A pond flanks the entire right side and intersects the landing area 100 yards from the green. Two sprawling bunkers consume the left side. A good drive will leave you a mid iron approach over water to an elevated three tiered green that is a mere 29 yards deep. The putting surface has an expansive sand trap in front and a steep faced bunker carved from the rearward mounding.

The Gold course’s 8th hole is its signature, a 172 yard par 3. Deceptively difficult, the elevated tee provides an up front and honest account of the obstacles before you. The shot is a mid to long iron over water which also hugs the right side. Three cavernous bunkers triangulate the landing area front, left, and right. The green is set before a backdrop of a dozen assorted trees. The bell shaped putting surface, 31 paces deep, slopes severely making for slippery down hill putts.

The signature hole of the entire golf course goes to the par 4, 332 yard, 4th hole on the white course. It requires a tee shot over a lagoon to a generous peninsula of a fairway. A bridge to the landing area is decked in annuals adding to the aesthetic nourishment. Two large fairway bunkers act as sentinels to both the left and right sides of the velvety target. The three tiered green is set on the far side of the lagoon at the base of a large mound. Two medium sized traps sit on the left. A rock waterfall featuring a floral pattern of Augusta national proportions flows from the left of the green into the lagoon and no fewer than 30 towering palm trees frame the hole.

Score Card - Ocotillo Golf Club

Other Information - Ocotillo Golf Club

Practice Facilities: There is a nice driving range, putting and chipping green with a practice bunker. Range balls are included for free.

Instructional School: VIP Golf School.

19th Hole: Rising as a glowing centerpiece of the resort, this elegant structure of glistening Texas limestone and soaring wooden arches is home to the excellent restaurant Bernard’s at Ocotillo. Rated by Phoenix Magazine as the best golf restaurant in the Valley, guests can relax in surroundings of casual elegance, while enjoying some of the finest cuisine found anywhere. Luxurious and delicious, Ocotillo's guests can select from fine dining (evening) or a casual bar.

Clubhouse: Ocotillo’s beautifully refined contemporary clubhouse garnered immediate praise by being awarded golf’s prestigious “Crittenden Architecture Award” as the “Best New Clubhouse in Golf” in its category. This full service clubhouse with locker-room has an elegant outdoor patio surrounded by water falls, streams and a plethora of flower beds. Inside arched ceilings and beams soar 30 feet high. If you have any last minute golfing needs, one of the best selections of equipment and accessories in the valley can be found in Ocotillo’s Pro Shop, which was recognized by the PGA as "Merchandiser of the Year for 2000" and by Golf World Magazine as one of the top 100 Pro Shops in the United States.

Golf Digest 4 star rating
Golf Digest Reader’s Poll “Must Play Course”
1997 Crittenden Golf, “Best New Daily Fee Clubhouse”

Golf World Business Magazine “Top 100 Golf Shops”
2001 February Phoenix Magazine “Top Seven Restaurants”
Golf World Magazine as one of the top 100 Pro Shops in the United States.
PGA as "Merchandiser of the Year for 2000"

Ping/Southwest Section PGA Championship
Hosted numerous regional and national qualifiers
Ocotillo has had Stage 2 of the PGA Tour Qualifying School here two times, both in the mid-1990's. During that same period, Ocotillo hosted one of the first US-based Asian Tour Qualifying Schools. They also hosted the Southwest Section PGA Stroke Play Championship and numerous mini-tour events. There are several events that are played here each year with celebrity guests (mostly current or former professional athletes). As far as an event with a "big name" sponsor goes, the Ganem Jewelrs/Alice Cooper event is the most notable.

The Players:

  • Designer: Ted Robinson
  • General Manager: Tom Cortabitarte
  • Head Pro: Steve Morewitz
  • Superintendent: Justin Reynolds
  • Golf School: VIP Golf School
  • Golf Lessons: Private golf lessons are available.

Grass type: Bermuda grass grows during the summer and landscapers overseed with a Rye in the winter.

Recommended handicap: It is a challenging course with water trying to swallow up virtually every shot. The course plays longer than the yardage so when teeing off error on the side of the shorter tee box. That decision might save you a few balls as well. You must hit straight. Anyone with a handicap under 25 will really enjoy the course. High handicappers will still have lots of fun as long as they don’t mind losing a bunch of balls.

1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists: 8 ½

Comments by Meridian Guests:

  • “It is still target golf. You just have water instead of desert surrounding you at every turn.” “After getting beat up on some of the desert courses I really enjoyed Ocotillo. It made our golf package perfect by mixing in an oasis of water, flowers, and lush green to our desert golf experience.”
  • “I enjoyed watching some of the wildlife on the course.” “Plays very long and it is very challenging from the back tees. It is about 7000 yards but plays longer than that. ” “I loved the double island and the island hole.”
  • “A beautiful and refreshing mix after playing all those desert style courses.” “Each hole showcases a variety of breathtaking homes.” “Simply magnificent.” “It’s the total package: the golf course, the clubhouse, and the restaurant were all phenomenal.”

The Drive: Within 30 minutes of Meridian CondoResorts. It is also about 30 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport.

Ocotillo Golf Club

3751 S Clubhouse Dr
Chandler, AZ 85248

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