Heading to the great Southwest for more than painted deserts and enjoying the arid climate? If golf is your passion, there’s a place that hits the spot and you can design your vacation purely around the sport.
The Wigwam has been an Arizona treasure since 1929, rich history of welcoming guests to make memories of their own in an environment that blends casual elegance with the charm of the southwest. The resort, celebrating the 100th Annviersary of its Organization House this year and the 90th Anniversary of opening its doors in 2019, is home to three 18-hole golf courses – the Gold Course, the Blue Course and the Red Course. The retreat also delights golfers and non-golfers alike with a variety of restaurants, a renowned Red Door Spa, three pools and location just minutes from four of the area’s Cactus League spring training facilities.
Established in the 1930’s, The Wigwam Golf Club is the only golf club in Arizona to offer 54 holes of championship golf. The resort is among the Southwest’s last remaining golf resorts built for a pure golf experience. Canals, streams and lakes cascade through the journey while the shadows cast on greens and bunkers are from majestic parkland trees, not multi-story resort buildings. When legendary golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the two courses at The Wigwam in 1965, he named them Blue Course and the Gold Course after the official colors of the property’s original developer and then owner, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
The Wigwam’s Gold Course originally opened for play in 1965, six years after Firestone Country Club’s famed South Course – a club owned by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company competitor, Firestone. Jones Sr. designed the Gold Course to be the West Coast rival of Firestone South (also a Jones Sr. design). Rival or peer, the two courses share many traits in common – both courses measure more than 7,400+ yards from the tips, both include a series of long par-4s and epic par-5s, both feature small elevated greens and both courses have been recognized among Jones Sr.’s finest designs.
Like its sister course the Gold, the Blue Course opened for play in 1965. Both courses feature Trent Jones’ signature small, elevated greens, however that’s where the similarities end. The Blue Course is a shorter course – more than 1,400 yards shorter from the tips – and therefore isn’t quite as demanding off the tee. Shorter hitters and golfers who excel at short and mid-iron play, really enjoy the challenge Trent Jones, Sr. laid out.
Both the Gold and Blue courses underwent recent renovations – the Gold Course in the summer of 2015 and the Blue Course in the summer of 2016. British Open champion and PGA TOUR veteran Tom Lehman led the extensive renovation of the Gold course in collaboration with The Wigwam’s ownership group JDM Partners to modernize the bunkering and layout while maintaining the original strategic intent. Following the renovation, the Gold Course once again stands among the nations’ finest as the polish is back on a classic Robert Trent Jones Sr. design. The Blue Course renovation, led by Nevada-based golf course renovation firm Key Golf, focused on removing bunkers, modernizing and reshaping the remaining bunkers and updating the irrigation system on the 50-year-old golf course.
Designed to complement the Blue and Gold Courses, the Red Course has been a favorite among locals and club members since it opened in 1974. Originally called the West Course, the course was renamed in the late 80s in honor of the club’s head professional of 42 years, V.O. “Red” Allen, and the course’s architect, Robert “Red” Lawrence. The course’s closing stretch of holes (15, 16, 17 and 18) just may be the toughest final four holes in the Phoenix area. The final 591-yard 18th hole is a monster par-5 with a dogleg left off the tee. Three well-played shots are required for a chance at birdie or par on the closing hole.
The Wigwam is also home to the Warren Schutte Player’s Academy. Warren was the first Hall of Fame Golfer at UNLV, and though he has maintained pro status for the last 14 years, his focus has now shifted to helping others excel at golf. From private lessons and clinics to the junior academy to corporate events and group lessons, the academy offers to help everyone from first time golfers to seasoned veterans swing more efficiently and play with more confidence.
Keeping up with the millennials, the course has some additions to the more traditional offerings of the three courses. The Wigwam Golf Club proudly offers footgolf, which combines elements of soccer and gold, requiring players to kick a soccer ball into cups/holes yards away from golf greens with as few attempts as possible. The fun and growing sport offers a shorter course, bigger cups and a chance for the entire family to play together in half the time as a round of golf.