The Pointe Is This

There are golf resorts and golf courses that appeal to specific and individual needs, depends on what you are looking for. Are you traveling with a few friends for a weekend outing, are you going with the spouse and/or bringing the kids, are you planning on non-golf activities, are you taking a business trip mixed with pleasure or perhaps looking for a place to hold the departmental meeting and get in a little golf and bonding time with the staff? The Pointe is this…with so many choices to look at, there is one resort in Phoenix that makes the decision easy, no matter what the reason for the get away.

The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs and Lookout Mountain Golf Course has an appeal and something for everyone.

The resort is essentially located in the middle of the Phoenix Valley. Nestled in the granite bluffs of the Phoenix Mountain Reserve, it is easy to get to from anywhere and only 20 minutes away from Sky Harbor Airport. I made the short drive from Tucson in plenty of time for an afternoon round with a companion on the Lookout Mountain Golf Course at the resort. Having played here a number of times many years ago, I was looking forward to seeing it once again. To me, one sure sign of a great golf course is when you remember it, no matter how long ago you last played it, and can’t wait to tackle it again.

After being greeted by our first friendly encounter with a “Pointe People” at the bag drop, we checked in with Jeff Raymond, the Director of Golf, for some last minute advice before heading to the range. Jeff told me that the course recently received an environmental transformation focused on optimal water conservation. Certain holes had complete ponds removed and others had their shorelines dramatically reduced. The ball grabbing bodies of water were replaced with new hazard complexes of bunkers and native desert areas. Not only was I impressed with their efforts to help the environment, I was happy to not have to face the carry over the pond that used to be on #18. Jeff also filled us in on one of their missions to help grow and sustain the game, a responsibility for us all. Lookout Mountain and the Hilton Golf Academy are introducing a series of clinics designed to help golfers of any skill level improve their game and introduce new players to the basics. Six different small group clinics covering everything from the fundamentals, to short game, full swing, putting and course management are scheduled monthly, November through April. We told him we (well companion anyway) might need some instruction based on how we played that day and headed to the first tee.

The golf course starts you out with some easy holes to let you get warmed up and post some early pars. By the time you get to #7 you had better be on your game because this is where things start to get interesting. This beautiful par 5 really asks you to think about every shot. Off the tee down the right side gives you a better look at what’s to come, leave it left and you are blinded, as well as blocked, by some healthy trees and a treacherous little canyon sticking out into the fairway. Don’t go in there my partner will tell you from personal experience! The smart play lays up to the right of the trouble and leaves you a short iron to the uphill green. A couple holes later and the long climb up to the #10 tee box is rewarded with a stop at the convenient halfway house and the view from the highest point (or should I say Pointe) on the course. You know the expression “it’s all downhill from here”? Not only does that refer to my companion’s game, but quite literally to this hole. The drop to the fairway on this par 4 takes forever as the ball falls and falls and falls, hopefully coming to rest on something green way down below you. I had remembered that there is one of the great driveable par 4’s on this course…for the long hitters anyway. On the 14th tee box I was reminded that this was it, time to getat least a birdie back on the card. Play safe (which I did) straight out with a three wood and turn sharp left for a short approach or cut the corner (which my worthy opponent unsuccessfully tried) and you could be dancing or at least chipping to the green. Our match closed out here, but we couldn’t wait to see the finishing holes regardless.

There is something about a suite as compared to a room and at The Pointe there are nothing but suites. Every room, outside of a few even larger Grande suites, offers a living area separate from the bedroom. It’s almost like being home on the couch; watching sports on a flat screen TV with an in-room fridge and well-stocked mini-bar close at hand. Life is good!

With some time to kill before dinner I decided to take a stroll around the grounds as opposed to succumbing to the Tocaloma Spa & Salon for a relaxing massage. Could be my mistake…golf can be so strenuous you know. Unlike other resorts out on the flat desert terrain, The Pointe Tapatio Cliffs is more vertically oriented. Perched on the side of the mountain, every building and amenity is up or down from the next. Quite spectacular and breathtaking…literally. For those of us not in shape, don’t worry, one of the Pointe People will pick you up in a bellcart and take you wherever you want to go if the hills are a bit too much. There are 8 different idyllic swimming pools scattered about the resort, but the jewel in the crown is the Falls Water Village. This man made oasis features a 40 ft cascading waterfall, two large free form pools, a 138 ft enclosed waterslide, acres of deck space with little quiet corners or sun drenched terraces, and just like a Hollywood movie, 23 private poolside cabanas to enjoy a private lunch out of the sun. Lunch and beverages are served fresh and fast from the Cascades Café at the water village, no reason to leave this little piece of Heaven! Great place to soak up some sun and relax, if only golf were not in the forecast for tomorrow. Oh well, next time.

Dinner time finds my recent ASU graduate daughter (sorry Cat fans) joining me at the more casual restaurant, Pointe in Tyme. In the capable hands of Tim (he must be the leader of the Pointe People we decided) we had a wonderful dinner, sampling some of his favorite menu items and tasting his concoctions from the bar. There is always a sense of assurance in a restaurant choice when you realize there are many locals here. Tim confirmed that before sending us up to the resorts other restaurant for an after dinner nightcap. The Different Pointe of View is truly what the name implies. Situated on the precipice of the mountainside property the view is a magnificent backdrop to a fine dining establishment.

This AAA Four-Diamond restaurant has been recognized internationally as one of the more sophisticated restaurants in Arizona. My daughter is urging me to return with Mom and experience this romantic room and menu next time. I’m thinking to myself, you bet I will. With so much to do at The Pointe Tapatio Cliffs, I can play lots of guilt free golf while she shops nearby, or goes to the spa, works out at the fitness center or lounges poolside, or maybe, just maybe, even takes a golf lesson. The Pointe is this…I will return!
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Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and Lookout Mountain Golf Course
11111 North 7th St
Phoenix, Az 85020
Tee Times 602 866-6356
Reservations 800 947-9784
www.tapatiocliffshilton.com

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