Verrado Golf Club – Arizona, USA

Well we took over a week to get here but it was worth the wait.  We arrived in Phoenix on Monday the 22nd August and took advantage of a couple of golf specials elsewhere which kept on extending so it wasn’t until Tuesday this week that we finally made it to the Verrado Golf Club.  Being right on our doorstep meant we didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night in order to make our early tee time : ). We had driven and walked past some of the holes so we were excited to get out there and see what it had to offer.

During our first round we played with Eric & Linda, a couple who live in Scottsdale.  They are both physio’s and moved out to Arizona three years ago from Indianapolis. They love the lifestyle here and play a lot of golf.  It was actually their birthdays – yes – they share the same birthday including the same year.  We enjoyed there company and it seems everyone we play with has a snake story!  The last time Eric had played at Verrado he came across the golf course staff dealing with a rattle snake that had been sunning itself on the cart path before the 14th tee block.

We played the course again on Wednesday and were paired up with a couple of older gentleman – Tom & Charlie, who we aptly named Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb.  

We really enjoyed the course and in hindsight we wish we had time for a few more rounds.

The golf course sits in the foothills of the White Tank Mountain Range and was designed by John Fought and PGA Tour professional Tom Lehman.  It has been open since January 2004 and is part of the 8-800 acre Verrado Community.  Between 1965 and 1995, this land was the Caterpillar proving ground and test site.  You can still see one of the steep testing tracks up on the Mountain.

Obviously, the previous owners didn’t put much stock in aesthetics and landscape design where behemoth earth-moving equipment of every sort dug, cut, bladed and scraped endlessly in the granite and scrub. No harm to anyone, but over the years Caterpillar altered the nature considerably, which was a huge consideration in the new design of the golf course.  The developers had four ideas in mind for Verrado. First, they didn’t want the new landscape to appear they had merely worked around the massive pits and gouges. 

Their initial challenge was to restore the site as it was in 1 B.C. — Before Caterpillar. They even reconstructed and re-vegetated an entire mountainside that big D-9s once bulldozed into rubble.

Second, the routing, design and construction of the golf course as the prime water-retention area would direct the mountain runoff away from the community.

Third, DMB wanted a comfortable walking community, which meant leveling and evening out the entire core area to a consistent 1 percent grade from a natural 5 percent grade.

Finally, the corridors between the golf course and homesites were to be open and spacious, with fairways set deep enough into the terrain to afford ample views down onto the golf course.

Ultimately, earthmovers scraped away and redistributed 4.5 million cubic yards to meld the golf course and community site — and have it still look natural. Fought, Lehman and Co. were able to workout a smooth, flowing design without — safe to say — one quirky hole.

We have been really fortunate to be able to stay in our friend’s lovely holiday home in Verrado – we have really enjoyed the house, pool and the community.  We have got to know the layout in the local supermarket, Bashas, very well.  I have also frequented the Blue Daisy Spa which is excellent and of course the Verrado Coffee Company.  We have been for a walk most nights and explored the myriad of streets and had a look in some houses under construction.  What a wonderful little Oasis.

Phoenix

Phoenix is the capital of the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona. Known for its year-round sun and warm temperatures, it anchors a sprawling, multicity metropolitan area known as the Valley of the Sun. It’s known for high-end spa resorts, Jack Nicklaus–designed golf courses and vibrant nightclubs. Other highlights include the Desert Botanical Garden, displaying cacti and numerous native plants.

Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a subtropical desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay (which was important for the cattle industry).  In fact, the “Five C’s” (Cotton, Cattle, Citrus, Climate, and Copper), remained the driving forces of Phoenix’s economy until after World War II, when high-tech industries began to move into the valley and air conditioning made residences much more comfortable in the very hot summers.

A town that had just over sixty-five thousand residents in 1940 became America’s sixth largest city by 2010, with a population of nearly 1.5 million, and millions more in nearby suburbs. When the war ended, many of the men who had undergone their training in Arizona returned bringing their new families. Learning of this large untapped labor pool enticed many large industries to move their operations to the area.  In 1948 high-tech industry, which would become a staple of the state’s economy, arrived in Phoenix when Motorola chose Phoenix for the site of its new research and development center for military electronics. Seeing the same advantages as Motorola, other high-tech companies such as Intel and McDonnell Douglas would also move into the valley and open manufacturing operations.

By 1950, over 105,000 people resided in the city and thousands more in surrounding communities.  The 1950s growth was spurred on by advances in air conditioning, which allowed both homes and businesses to offset the extreme heat experienced in Phoenix and the surrounding areas during its long summers. There was more new construction in Phoenix in 1959 alone than during the period of more than thirty years from 1914 to 1946.

Like many emerging American cities at the time, Phoenix’s spectacular growth did not occur evenly. It largely took place on the city’s north side, a region that was nearly all Caucasian. In 1962, one local activist testified at a US Commission on Civil Rights hearing that of 31,000 homes that had recently sprung up in this neighborhood, not a single one had been sold to an African-American.  Phoenix’s African-American and Mexican-American communities remained largely sequestered on the town’s south side. The color lines were so rigid that no one north of Van Buren Street would rent to the African-American baseball star Willie Mays, in town for spring training in the 1960s.  In 1964, a reporter from the New Republic wrote of segregation in these terms: “Apartheid is complete. The two cities look at each other across a golf course.”

Phoenix has maintained a growth streak in recent years, growing by 24.2% before 2007.  However, 2008 saw Phoenix as one of the cities hardest hit by the subprime mortgage crisis, and by early 2009 the median home price was $150,000, down from its $262,000 peak in 2007.  Recently, downtown Phoenix and the central core have experienced renewed interest and growth, resulting in numerous restaurants, stores, and businesses opening or relocating to central Phoenix.

About SUNGRL

This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
This entry was posted in Arizona, USA, United States of America. Bookmark the permalink.

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