Notah Begay’s Sewailo Signature Course Opens Near Tucson 0 138

Sewailo Golf Club Tucson

Notah Begay’s second signature golf course, Sewailo Golf Club, opened at the Casino Del Sol Resort on the Pascua Yaqui land southwest of Tucson. It is the first new course to open in Arizona in five years.

Sewailo GC-D Squared-0869finalThe public debut of the 7,400-yard course that spans 200 acres was set for Thursday with a list of celebrities that included rocker Alice Cooper. Sewailo will be the home course of the Arizona Wildcats men’s and women’s golf teams.

“Casino Del Sol Resort is an extraordinary destination on its own. With the addition of Sewailo Golf Club, we’ve introduced the perfect complement to our award-winning property,” said Jim Burns, CEO of Casino Del Sol Resort. “We’re proud to now offer guests and locals alike a round of world-class golf as part of their experience.”

Begay, who took questions from golf writers Wednesday night, said it was important for him to help build an economic base for a Native American tribe. He said it is his dream to design a course in New Mexico.

Notah Begay IIIBegay,  the first full-blooded Native American to compete and win on the PGA Tour, grew up in Albuquerque and attended Albuquerque Academy before attending Stanford University, where he was a teammate of Tiger Woods on the university’s NCAA Division I championship golf team. He is a commentator on the Golf Channel.

Begay worked on Sewailo with former Robert Trent Jones II senior project architect Ty Butler. Begay said he drew on his experience at the 2000 British Open at St. Andrews to include a 22,100-square-foot double green. He said he also took inspiration from his favorite course in New Mexico, the Inn of the Mountain Gods, built by architect Ted Robinson in 1975 on Mescalero Apache land near Ruidoso. The Inn course was the first Native American course in the country.

Sewailo has about 65 bunkers, many of them in the fairway, which force players to choose one of two paths to the green. The path with less risk typically requires a much longer approach shot into the green, Begay said. Most greens are heavily guarded by bunkers. The course has almost no forced carries.

Sewailo is the third course his company, NB3 Consulting, has helped develop and the second Begay signature course after Firekeeper, which he designed for the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Tribe in Kansas. Sewailo will be managed by Troon Golf of Scottsdale. An 18-hole round costs $99, or $129 with Callaway rental clubs, according to the golf club’s online booking engine.

Sewailo has 14 acres of lakes, a waterfall and a creek that meanders across the property. Sewailo means “flower world” in the Yaqui language. The course has 30,000 flowering plants. Named to the list of best new courses for 2013 by Golf Digest, Sewailo was estimated by the magazine to cost $40 million to build because of extensive earth-moving needed to create elevation changes in what originally a flat desert.

Dan Vukelich is editor of Reach him at

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Pinehurst’s Summer Deals 0 166

Pinehurst No 8 Hole 1

Three-night, Four-round Offer Good Through Sept. 4

Two top golf resort brands are offering special stay-and-play deals.

The Pinehurst Resort is offering three nights and four rounds of golf for between $1,033 and $1,299 per person double occupancy from June 1 through Sept, 4.

The package includes accommodations at one of the resort’s three hotels – the Carolina, Holly Inn or Manor Inn – breakfast buffet, three-course dinner each night, unlimited use of the resort’s practice areas, free shuttles to the resort’s nine golf courses, four rounds of golf and club storage.

Pinehurst No. 8The deal is basically a three-round, three-night’s deal with an extra night’s stay and round of golf thrown in.

Kids under 17 stay and play free when sharing a room with a parent. Kids under 12 eat free.

A surcharge of $195 applies for all rounds on Pinehurst No. 2.

A one-night, one-round, double-occupancy package runs $329 to $459 per person. The resort also offers a three-night, four spa-treatment package, double occupancy, for $698 to $999 per person.

The rate is being called the Golf Week subscriber package, but the resort says anyone is eligible.

Omni Hotels Short-fuse Deals

Omni Hotels are offering discounted rates at most of their properties for stays through Sept. 10, provided bookings are made by May 25.

Rates range from $119 (Austin) to $269 (Toronto). Stay-and-play rates are discounted at most Omni golf destinations, including the Donald Ross/A.W. Tillinghast Old Course at Bedford Springs, Pa.

– Dan Vukelich

Los Cabos’ Quivira: Pebble Beach in Mexico 0 185

Quivira Golf Club No 6

Nicklaus Tested by Beautiful, Severe Baja Terrain

“Have you ever walked the golf course,” I asked Quivira Golf Club Los Cabos’ director of golf, Antonio Reynante.

“My assistants and I tried it once, but we couldn’t get past Number 6,” the fit-looking 35-year-old former mini-tour player told me. “We had to call the shop to come out and take us back in golf carts.”

It wasn’t an indictment of his staff’s physical conditioning so much as a testament to architect Jack Nicklaus’ ability to design a golf course that starts at 30 feet above sea level and climbs to nearly 400.

Quivira Hole No 15 “I thought it was a very challenging yet spectacular piece of property,” Nicklaus said when the course opened in 2014.

“I hope most people will think it’s the most spectacular golf course and the best golf course they have ever seen. And yes, some other people will say, “You have got to be kidding.

That’s an honest appraisal. A cynic might say that Quivira is just a clown’s mouth or windmill away from goofy golf, but in my mind Nicklaus cast aside his usual highly engineered approach; instead, he let Quivira’s landscape dictate an appealing compromise between playability for the vacationing player, visual impact and sustainability.

The result is a track that Golf magazine named “Best New International Course” in 2014. In 2016, Golf Digest gave it the magazine’s Editor’s Choice award for best golf resort in Mexico or Central America.

The Challenge

Part of The Golden Bear’s solution to the challenging elevation changes at Quivira is the longest cart path I’ve ever ridden – 1,500 meters, or just shy of a mile – switch-backing its way 250 vertical feet along the flank of a massive dune-topped granite ridge rising above the ocean.

The ride is both exhilarating and relaxing, much like the first long ascent on an amusement park roller coaster. As you climb between Nos. 4 and 5, the views of the receding golf shop, beach, and the occasional humpback whale breaching well beyond the surf break are reasons enough to pat yourself on the back for choosing Cabo.

Quivira Golf Club Hole No 5Cresting the last switchback to the No. 5 tee box brings a truly vertigo-inducing view – the kind that snaps your senses to full alert, makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and announces in no uncertain terms that, yes, your golf vacation has finally begun.

To the left: the Pacific Ocean and a sheer drop of 280 feet. To the right: the ridge rising higher still. To the front: a narrow ribbon of grass leading to an unseen green dangling some 100 feet below the layup spot in the fairway. The putting surface itself is perched 125 feet above the surf.

It’s not often I’m thankful to see a “Cart paths only this hole” sign, but this was one of those times. The thought of our cart launching us a la “Thelma and Louise” into the ocean fleetingly crossed my mind.

Quivira No 6 holeThe Par 3 6th is no less spectacular. I’ll let the course description do the talking: “The tee shot must find and hold a long narrow green that drops off to a cavernous bunker and oblivion on the left.”

“Oblivion” would be the Pacific. From the back tee box, the putting surface is but a speck of green 180 yards away, sky blue above, ocean blue to the left, granite brown to the right.

Multiple Personalities

Quivira Golf Club No 13Once the course turns inland, the rest of Quivira’s holes range in personality from those you’d find on the sandy links courses of Scotland to those you’d find in Scottsdale or tucked in the folds of the hills and ravines of Northern California.

What you’ll likely not find elsewhere, though, are Quivira’s four staffed, on-course food and beverage stations, where complimentary beer, wine, tacos and other hand-held fare are freely offered. The halfway house, called the Oasis, features regional cuisine and a full tequila bar.

Pueblo Bonito Hotel and poolQuivira is part of the Pueblo Bonito family of resorts, which has three Cabo hotels, the Pacifica, an adult-oriented beach-side hotel, the Sunset Beach, a family-oriented hotel sited next to a 161,000-square-foot central food market, and the Greco-Roman-themed Rose Resort. For those seeking extra privacy, affiliated residential communities offer condos and freestanding ocean-view villas for rent.

If You Go

What: Quivira Golf Club Los Cabos, Pueblo Bonita Resort

Where: Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur California, Mexico

When: Moderate temperatures year-round

How much: Greens fees, $227-$370, depending on season; $213 per round as part of a three-round stay-play package. Rooms start at $466 a night.

All the Pueblo Bonito properties in Cabo offer activities that include swimming with the dolphins, whale-watching, jet skiing and guided fishing trips. All offer a variety of spa treatments.

Getting to Cabo San Lucas is a snap, with easy connections through Phoenix. One wrinkle you should know about: For a reason no one I asked could explain, you can take golf balls in your carry-on baggage on the flight to Cabo but Mexican authorities will confiscate them before you board on your return.

 Dan Vukelich is the senior editor at ABQ Free Press, a former editor at Sun Country Golf magazine and editor of Reach him at