FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Tucson, Ariz., La Paloma Country Club, Canyon and Ridge Courses

May 27, 2014
2014 / June 2014

When Jack Nicklaus designed the three nine-hole courses at La Paloma 30 years ago, he was still playing in the Masters and the U.S. Open. The following year, The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa was built.

The private La Paloma Country Club, with about 380 members, has seen a surge since Troon Golf took over with Patrick Galloway at the helm as general manager. Open to guests of The Westin La Paloma Resort, the course plays at a decent pace set by Troon. “Each Troon course has its own time that it should take to play; as each course is different, so each time is different,” said Galloway. A recent $35 million renovation refreshed the resort and improved the playing surface of the course, including the greens, fairways and new white sands for the bunkers. Long known for its beauty and scenic vistas of the desert and the Catalina Mountains, La Paloma is a favorite, winning a bevy of awards from golf publications and associations.

I teed up on the Ridge and Canyon courses with Patrick Galloway; George Bon, sales manager, The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa; and Steve White, a member of Global Traveler’s subscriber Globility Board. We had a two-day series of meetings at the resort with Starwood executives and advisors on the habits of individual entrepreneurial travelers, which, of course, include golf.

Ridge Course

Hole 1 | 381 yards, par 4
After a full half-day of meetings at The Westin La Paloma Resort, we were ready to tee up. It was an impressive sight, all four of us nailing our drives in prime position to attack the green. From the tee box, favor the left center of the fairway, as there is a line of fairway bunkers on the right and drives tend to kick a little right as they land. I overshot the green, underestimating the strong desert winds. Steve took just the opposite action and came up slightly short, along with George. Patrick (“I have only played three times this year.”) nailed the green for an easy two-putt for the only par. The green, like most at La Paloma, has a great deal of undulation, making putting challenging.

Hole 2 | 411 yards, par 4
As they say, there are no pictures on the scorecard, and I am thankful. My drive was not pretty, taking an unfriendly and nasty bounce into the right fairway bunker. Obviously, you want to avoid this and drive left and forward of this bunker. My next shot was another gem, a screamer that shot through the green and off the back. However, in golf there are always recoveries, and my chip landed within a few inches of the cup for the ugliest par on record.

Hole 5 | 420 yards, par 4
This classic Jack Nicklaus dogleg left played a lot longer with the wind from the Catalina Mountains. We carded a lot of bogeys — all but Steve, who hit the green in regulation for par. From the tee box, big hitters should be able to cut the corner of the dogleg and cozy up a little closer for a high iron shot to the green. A large bunker on the right punishes slicers, and the green has another large bunker front left. Listed as the most difficult hole on the Ridge, plenty of places can bring you to your knees.

Hole 7 | 171 yards, par 3
Seven should be a simple little hole, but it brought some of us to tears. Patrick shot and stuck a ball near enough the pin to hole out for birdie. I continued my unorthodox play, blading a ball and hitting a rock while still gaining ground to the pin. A decent chip and putt gave me par. Steve and George zigzagged so many times I started to get dizzy. A decent shot should give average golfers the result they desire, but beware of the bunker ready to grab you on the right side of the green.

Canyon Course

Hole 5 | 542 yards, par 5
Listed as the second-most challenging hole on the Canyon nine, you need a collection of great shots to card a respectable score. It took me two shots to end with less than 100 yards to the green. I overcooked my approach, turning an 80-yard pitch into a 100-yard shot, but I recovered for a 6. A wash runs in front of the green with convenient steps to the bottom and a trap — thanks, Jack! Steve took refuge in this wash, complete with hard sand, rocks and probably a few snakes; but he also secured a double bogey. Our heroes were Patrick, with a birdie, and George, sneaking up on us with a par.

Canyon Course Hole 7, looking back © Francis X. Gallagher

Canyon Course Hole 7, looking back © Francis X. Gallagher

Hole 7 | 445 yards, par 4
This is the Canyon’s signature hole, with a scenic view but a wash on the left that catches players off guard. The green is 30 to 35 feet higher than the fairway, with a dead zone in front. George took the scenic approach, getting his money’s worth on a tour of the course. Ouch!

Hole 8 | 211 yards, par 3
I took the bull by the horns and teed up first as the others gazed at the bunkering. I swung with a vengeance, making what appeared to be perfect contact. The ball sailed up and toward the flag as Patrick said, “That looks like a good shot,” and I said, “Better get going!” I was correct: The ball cleared the overprotective bunker and bounced up but back. I could hear Nicklaus laughing as it bounced back into the bunker. Patrick, on the other hand, sailed over the green and chipped in the cup for a birdie, further rubbing bunker sand in my wounds.

Hole 9 | 418 yards, par 4
A nice finishing hole. I have to hand it to George and Steve — they nailed some powerful drives all day but outdid themselves here. Unfortunately, George’s ball was well struck but well right, and he climbed like a billy goat on the sloping desert hills. Steve’s was near-perfect, and I followed with an equally decent drive. I couldn’t bring it together for a par, but Steve glued his shot to the green, allowing for a finishing par with Patrick. Nine is narrow, and as with all the holes at La Paloma, spraying the ball is not your best plan. Twin fairway bunkers line the left side of the slight dogleg right.

La Paloma Country Club

3660 E. Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ 85718
tel 520 299 1500
lapalomacc.com

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

News
Nov 20, 2019

United Airlines Passengers Enjoy New Way to Beat Jet Lag

United Airlines teamed with Timeshifter, a sleep help app, to assist travelers battling jet lag. Timeshifter outlines the best times to see and avoid light, sleep and either enjoy or pass on caffeine to best avoid jet lag when traveling through time zones. The app is specifically targeted to those traveling across three or more time zones and customizes advice for each passenger based on his or her own sleep preferences and normal sleep pattern, as well as their particular flight.

A Lighter Footprint

United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.

Feature
Nov 20, 2019

Qantas Flies Upgraded A380 Planes

Qantas is flying the first of its upgraded Airbus A380 planes, which include multimillion-dollar upgrades. The new features include new business-class seats and a redesigned upper deck lounge.

Daily
Nov 20, 2019

Don’t Miss This Limited-Time Four Seasons Pop-Up Cocktail Lounge

Make sure you catch the new pop-up cocktail lounge at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara in Carlsbad before it’s gone. Starry Nights, located on the Seasons Restaurant veranda, is open through Jan. 31, 2020.

Goway Offers Travelers Journey of a Lifetime

Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Feature
Nov 19, 2019

Waldorf Astoria, Aston Martin Partner for Driving Experience

For years, Waldorf Astoria partnerships with different luxury car brands offered guests access to exclusive vehicles. Last year, the luxury Hilton brand signed an exclusive four-year partnership with Aston Martin Lagonda, offering six driving experiences per year all over the world.

eFlyer Deals
Nov 19, 2019

Capital Adventures in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., has tons of adventure for travelers exploring the nation’s capital.

Athens: A city that charms its guests and stirs their emotions

The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.

eFlyer Lead
Nov 19, 2019

Hyatt Latest Brand to Propose Miniature Toiletry Elimination

Following the lead Marriott International and InterContinental Hotels Group set earlier this year, Hyatt is the latest major hospitality brand to announce it aims to eliminate miniature toiletries globally.