The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a one of those places where the spectacular scenery is just as much a part of the experience as is the luxury and opulence of the resort itself. The land is as old as time itself. The colossal rock formations and boulders, from which the resort takes it name, are the residue of a cataclysmic geological upheaval more than 12 million years ago that ultimately led to the creation of the Grand Canyon. The Boulders is wild country, unspoiled, quiet and seemingly as far away from it all as one can get, but is actually only 15 minutes from Scottsdale. The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa is a place to relax, play golf, and become one with a land the likes of which can be found nowhere else on earth.
The resort features two championship, Jay Morrish courses, both designed to incorporate and accentuate the breathtaking surroundings and sweeping panoramic views and to have as little impact upon the delicate Sonoran ecosystem as possible. Both courses stretch across the enchanting Sonoran Desert landscape, splashes of verdant green that meander back and forth among the ancient rock formations, and sun-splashed terrain. It’s a land where tiny critters, ever watchful for the predators – snakes and raptors – that also call the desert home, eke out a daily but sparse existence among the rocks, brush and saguaro. A wayward drive here is an adventure all its own. The rugged terrain, tight fairways and the natural hazards that lie just beyond them, make for a real golfing challenge, but one that’s more enjoyable than punishing – the breathtaking scenery more than makes up for the odd lost ball.
The best time to schedule a round of golf at the Boulders is late afternoon. To spend the afternoon amidst such awesome natural beauty, and then to watch as the late afternoon sun casts its warm glow over the monolithic formations, the light changing second-by-second, is an experience you’re never likely to forget. Finally, when the golf has been played, the action replayed over an ice-cold drink at the 19th hole, what better way to end the day than a visit to the Golden Door Spa?
The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa is listed by just about every influential golf publication and one of the finest, not just in the United States, but across the world:
- In 2006 Travel and Leisure ranked The Boulders the number 7 Golf Resort in the United States and number 1 in the Southwest for 2006 by Travel and Leisure
- In 2005 Travel and Leisure Golf ranked it the number 2 Golf Resort in the United States and number 1 in the Southwest.
- It’s rated among the "Top 100 Courses in the U.S." by GOLF Magazine
- Rated “Top 100 You Can Play” by GOLF Magazine
The North Course, at 6,811-yard, par 72, began its existence as the 9-hole Carefree Municipal Golf Course in 1969. The original 18-hole layout wasn’t completed until the early 1970s. The course of today is the result of Jay Morrish’s innovative restyling, tweaking and refining completed in 1985, and yet again in 1999. While the front nine is regarded as “not so difficult;” the back nine is something else again. The long run in is punctuated by one tough hole after another. The 13th features an elevated, undulating green that sits at the end of a seemingly endless 457-yards of tight, lush fairway closely bounded by rocky, prickly, doom-laden desert. The 14th is an intimidating 183 yards over water from tee to green – one of the Desert’s finest, and most difficult, par 3s. Finally, the 18th doglegs gently to the left and temptingly offers what seems to be a short-cut across the corner to the green, but don’t be fooled; the way to the left is guarded by water and cunningly placed bunkers.
The South Course, at 6,726-yards is slightly shorter than its sister North Course, but no less of a challenge. Jay Morrish finished the design is 1983 and, because of its more dramatic layout, is the more famous of the two courses. The tone is set right on the first tee. Some 110 yards out on this 427-yard par 4, two massive boulders narrow the fairway to make the ever-important first drive one of the most intimidating experiences you’re ever likely to come across – a good name for this hole might be “The Mulligan.” And from there things don’t improve much: the green fronts a huge pile of rocks and desert debris – fly the green and lookout, you’re liable to get your own back in spades; either that or you’ve some soul-searching to do: drop and take the penalty, or risk a prickly trip among the cactus. Then it’s target golf all the way to the finish.
- The Boulders Golf Academy, featuring talented PGA and LGPA instructors, including TOP 100 Teacher Donald Crawley
- The Golden Door Spa:, a two-level, full-service facility featuring private rooms, saunas, whirlpools and a full range of therapeutic treatments and baths, including a traditional Japanese bath.
- Dining: The Boulders boasts 8 restaurants and bars, including The Latilla - Chef Wendy Little creates fresh American cuisine from organic and naturally grown ingredients of the Western Seaboard.
- Grayhawk Golf Club - one of Arizona’s most celebrated daily-fee golf clubs, mostly because of its two exceptional 18-hole golf courses – Talon and Raptor.
- TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course - designed by the team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the TPC Scottsdale is surrounded by the majestic McDowell Mountains.
- Talking Stick Golf Club – Owned by the Salt River Prima-Maricopa Indians, Talking Stick features two grand courses designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
- The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – sun-washed stone, bright green cottonwoods, majestic purple mountains and, of course, golf in the form of two 18-hole, championship courses.
- Troon North Golf Club – in the shadows of Pinnacle Peak in the Sonoran Desert, Troon North features the “New” Monument, a Tom Weiskopf/Jay Morrish designed, championship golf course.
- The Wildfire Golf Club – Nick Faldo’s presentation to Scottsdale features more than 100 bunkers and the breathtaking backdrop of the Camelback Mountains.