While playing the less-than-plush El Conquistador golf course the other day, one of my playing partners – Tucson buddy Bob Thompson of USA Baseball PA fame – mentioned that a course I should play before moving back to Seattle full-time was The Preserve Golf Club, located in nearby Saddlebrooke.
Mr. T is one smart dude.
On another sun-splashed day in the southern Arizona desert – most days in the southern Arizona desert are sun-splashed – the two of us, along with a middle-aged couple from Portland, Ore., spent slightly more than four hours on the well-manicured and eye-pleasing course near the Santa Catalina Mountains.
We started on the back nine, and took our lumps on No. 10, which happens to be the No. 1 handicap hole on the course. It was the longest 528 yards I can remember, with a lot of trouble left, more trouble right and just a bear of a hole. Ever hear of a snowman in the desert? I got one, arghh!!!
The 6,418 yards from the gold tees offers a great test and some remarkably interesting holes, especially the par-3, 147-yard sixth. This gem of a hole is far removed from what you would expect from a “desert” course.
I have been fortunate to play a lot of rounds in the Tucson area, including the world-renowned Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain (still my favorite), but No. 6 at The Preserve moved to the top of my list among favorite holes in southern Arizona.
The tee sits high above the green located in the distance and there is nothing but trouble between you and the dance floor. There is something about hitting downhill that gets the juices flowing. Bob hit first and went about 25 yards too far left, up into the rocks. Mulligan!! I hit an 8-iron short to the right and the ball rolled back into the guck. Takeover!!
With no one challenging our second tee shots (the Phil Mickelson play-the-ball-as-it-lies commercial came to mind) we hit our “real” shots onto the green. Bob two-putted for a par. I three-putted for an almost-par.
We finished the round and both admitted that the $47 through GolfNow price was a great bargain and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.