BUCKEYE, AZ – Many times when you play in a wild Arizona setting – complete with rocks, boulders, saguaro, ironwood, palo verde, howling coyotes and a stunning view like the White Tank Mountains – you might envision a setting for native Americans and hardscrabble pioneers.
But at Verrado Golf Club, just a short drive west of Phoenix, there’s something different about the lay of the land for the Founder’s and Victory 18s. These courses are set on just over 8,800 acres once used as the Caterpillar proving grounds. DMB, Inc., gave PGA Tour star and Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman and John Fought a rugged canvas to develop a top Phoenix area golf experience. You just have to make the drive to this upscale daily-fee experience.
“It’s 30 minutes west from Sky Harbor Airport, but once you get off I-10 the roads go from wide to narrow and it is like driving in to a small town community,” said Jeff Sorkness, Director of Golf.
“When I first looked out at the courses and saw the White Tank Mountains, the 20,000 trees they planted, I realized why these courses are both ranked Top 20 in Arizona by Golfweek. And the greens are fast and amazing – I haven’t had once person say they were too fast.” Sorkness also loves the ruggedness and explains that the fairways are wide, but with the rocks your drive is likely lost if you flare shots right or left.
“I like the visibility, but there are some blind shots, so it takes a few rounds to learn the best strategy. The greens are huge and the quarry holes are scenic. Tee times come at nine minute intervals.
“Another thing you don’t normally see at 36-hole complexes is two separate practice facilities. They are a mile and a half apart and excellent,” Sorkness continued. “The Victory Course even has a short-game facility with five greens. The Canadian PGA has brought students down to take advantage of that.”
The Victory Golf Playground is a 12-acre practice facility with a great driving range and a unique short game practice area with five individual holes ranging in length from 50 yards to almost 100 yards. The individual holes at the Golf Playground are programmed by the professional staff at the Verrado Golf Club for private events for Victory residents, friends and golf club members to enjoy a fun format.
Full-time residents have a choice of three different pass holder options – Eagle Pass, Par Pass and Afternoon Pass.
Victory at Verrado
Opened in 2017, the Victory course measures 7,258 yards at par 72 and has an outstanding finish. The final four holes play away from the mountains and the 18th is especially scenic, 590 yards from the tips with a tee shot over water, downhill with quarry walls surrounding the green. The pro shop is above.
You will also like the drivable par-4, 14th hole. The hole is reachable from all tee boxes and must be strategic because of the large rock wall heading down the middle of the fairway. Poor tee shots will make it difficult making the long green. Go for it – you might be rewarded.
The original layout for Verrado, opened in January of 2004, comes with large desert washes, rock outcroppings, box canyons and elevation changes. From the tips it is a long, 7,300 yards and features the mountains and Phoenix skyline in the distance.
Your favorite hole might be the downhill par-3, third. It is 222 yards, with the tee box well above the green, with a great view of the surrounding valley. A deep bowl on the right side leads to a difficult pitch back onto the green. Just go for the middle of the green and two-putt.
The Verrado Golf Club was hosting a college tournament during my visit and it has hosted numerous other charity fundraisers including the Banner Thunderbird tournament, the Buckeye Valley Chamber, The Aqua Fria Foundation, and Walmart.
If you are searching for an upscale 55-and-older community check it out at www.verrado.com.
The Verrado Grille restaurant offers a great menu to traditional golf course dining. The restaurant combines flawless service, a lively atmosphere, and incredible views to provide an unforgettable experience. Additionally, the open patio, unique indoor and outdoor bar, and spacious seating allow for viewing of the Sonoran Desert sunsets.
The Verrado Grille restaurant resides in the rustic contemporary clubhouse of the Founder’s Club. An atmosphere conducive to an elegant night out is created by the intimate and comforting while intriguing interior structure and decor.
Story by David R. Holland