Second Chance for the Club
When the Golf Club of Vistoso debuted in 1995, nobody could have anticipated the financial difficulties it would face after the financial downturn that effected so many clubs. Luckily for the Vistoso, the golf was just too good for it to become a ghost town, so a Canadian mortgage firm gave Vistoso a second chance to do what it does best – treat golfers to a wonderful day of golf in the captivating Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona. If you haven’t played it lately, it’s definitely worth another look.
The beauty of the Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course is punctuated by the views of Tortolita and Santa Catalina Mountains that can be enjoyed from just about anywhere on the property. Ribbons of green grass unfold through groves of Mesquite, Palo Verde and stately Saguaros to provide Vistoso with a healthy element of risk and reward as well as Weiskopf’s signature driveable par 4s.
“The concept came to me while competing at the Open Championship at Saint Andrews in 1970,” said Weiskopf. “It’s similar to a reachable par 5, the risk-reward challenge is the same.”
Weiskopf also shook up the traditional complexion of golf holes by designing Vistoso with five par 5s and five par 3s, but still ended up with a par-72 layout that begins with a manageable 373-yard par 4. The second hole – a par 5 named Double Cross – gives golfers a glimpse into the options that will be available to them throughout the round.
When standing on the tee, some of the fairways tend to be partially concealed by sweeping undulations and desert areas that pinch into the landing areas. However, once golfers wander down to the fairway, their true depth and breadth are reveled along with Weiskopf’s intent. While this may frustrate some first-time players, it provides an element of discovery that keeps the experience fresh. A little local knowledge goes a long way.
The golf experience ambles on at the par-5 6th hole with another double-carry to a green that is reachable only by the biggest hitters. The 11th plays as a long par 4 with an iconic Saguaro guarding the green. Careful consideration of the yardage guide is a must at the par-4 14th, aptly dubbed “Risky.” And the golf experience finishes with two long holes (589-yard, par-5 16th and the 210-yard, par-3 17th) before unwinding with the reachable par-5 18th.
After a few years of financial adversity, the Golf Club of Vistoso is back on track and firing on all cylinders. Anything less would be a shame. Thanks to the direction of management firm, OB Sports, and diligent ground game of longtime Southern Arizona golf stalwart, Rich Elias, the second go-round for Vistoso it sure to be much more rewarding than the first.
By Jeff Locke