Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Golf Club a special place ... despite what the PGA TOUR pros say
I’m not sure if you caught the Golf World/Golf Digest survey of the pros who anonymously ranked the golf courses that host PGA TOUR events.
It wasn’t kind to the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Golf Club in Marana, Ariz., home to this week’s Accenture World Match Play Championship. The pros planted Dove Mountain second to last, No. 51, only ahead of the much-maligned Liberty National in New Jersey on the list (see it here).
This only proves, in my mind, how vastly different pros critique courses than the average player. It’s almost not worth listening to their criticisms. They play a game none of us can relate to, and that affects their opinions of the courses they play.
Yes, Dove Mountain is difficult. Yes, Dove Mountain’s greens are, at times, pure evil. But, let’s be honest, we 10- and 20-handicappers will three putt from eight feet just as often as we will from 40 feet no matter how slopey and saucy the greens are.
I’m here to defend Dove Mountain’s reputation. The pros might not like it, but you will. I’d much rather play Dove Mountain than the TPC Southwind in Memphis (ranked No. 23) or dozens of others rated above it. Dove Mountain just delivers an overall better golf experience than a lot of places - from the service, the scenery, the clubhouse, the food, the golf course, everything.
It’s a gorgeous adventure through the High Sonoran Desert. To most golfers, especially the corporate kind who invade Dove Mountain and its fab Ritz-Carlton, they just don’t care about all this architecture mumbo-jumbo.
They’ll notice the browns of the desert’s boulders sitting high on the Tortolita Mountain Range that turn into pink and orange hues at sunset. They’ll marvel at the thousands of shapely Saguaro Cacti, some hundreds of years old.
The 27-hole golf club opened in Jan. 2009 just in time to host its first Match Play tournament. Spurred on by complaints from the pros that the greens were too severe, designer Jack Nicklaus returned to tweak them prior to the 2010 event. The changes were widely lauded at the time.
“There’s a lot more room to put some pins on the greens. I think all the changes were positive,” Jim Furyk said during the 2010 tournament.
Golfweek rates the layout of the Saguaro and Tortolita nines No. 17 among its list of course that host PGA, LPGA or Champions Tour events, so obviously the raters disagree with the mauling the pros gave the course.
The other first-class amenities - a 50,000-square-foot clubhouse featuring fireplaces and bold stone work and the 263-room Ritz with wonderful restaurants, pools and spa - make this place a pure pleasure for any golfer … except the frat boys of the PGA TOUR.
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