Hilton El Conquistador Golf Resort

Hilton El Conquistador Golf Resort

10000 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85737


Par: 71
Slope: 126
Rating: 72.7

Atmosphere is Everything Look up and all you see are the stunningly blue Arizona skies, framed by the spectacular natural formations of the Santa Catalina mountains. Look out and you see an oasis in the vast southern Arizona desert, peaceful Tucson. Look around and you'll see 45 holes of golf that blend in magnificently with the region's premier resort, the Hilton El Conquistador, Tucson's largest golf resort.

Yet while the Conquistador and Canada 18-hole layouts and the full-size, nine-hole Pusch Ridge course have become "must-plays" for resort visitors to Tucson, they've also become very popular for seasonal and permanent residents of the Old Pueblo who've come to appreciate the variety that the El Conquistador offers them as members. And the courses have now "grown in" to the $2-million-plus tee-to-green renovations earlier in the decade that have made the layout challenging, yet even more player-friendly with re-shaped fairways and larger greens.

The Conquistador Course stretches out to 6800 yards with a par of 71. Eight of the par-4s measure over 400 yards from the tips, yet you'll hit a variety of approach shots into the larger Tif-Eagle greens because of the dramatic elevation changes. And you'll likely hit four different clubs on the par-3s. The par-5 fifth hole has it all. 541 yards from the Coronado tees, yet a comfortable 518 from the middle tees and a very player-friendly 433 yards up front, #5 is reachable in two, if you can negotiate the lake and the bunkers protecting a two-tiered green. The signature 16th is also a par-5 for its raw beauty (breathtaking views of Pusch Ridge abound) and raw challenge (16 bunkers lie between you and a possible birdie).

Though a little bit shorter than Conquistador, the Canada Course actually has a higher rating and slope, due to its even more rugged layout. The winding fairways through ravines and arroyos open up some wonderful risk-reward opportunities, like at the par-5 16th, which tantalizes the golfer who hits a perfect drive into going for the green, but protects that green with water in front, some serious mounding, and three huge bunkers behind.

Yet for all the risk-reward decisions you'll be faced, the one you might talk about for weeks is the do-or-die tee shot at the par-3 eighth, Canada's signature hole. Just 40 yards out from the tee box sit two towering Saguaro cacti, standing as sentinels guarding the uphill drive along a narrow ridge. And if you miss the green on either side? It's all natural desert falling into canyons. That shot, and the shots following wayward drives at the fourth and fifth holes may force you to hack out with what the locals call their "desert club", defined as "any club that's not yours, or you don't worry about scratching up" in the raw natural environment.

Then there's the delightful nine-hole Pusch Ridge course that encircles the 428-room resort. Not an executive course, but a full-fledged nearly-2800-yard par-35, Pusch Ridge sports a 175-foot change in elevation, makes full use of the ravines and ridges in the high desert, and also gives you a horticultural lesson as you negotiate the indigenous cacti and saguaro, ocotillo, mesquite and palo verde trees. And the par-4 fifth is an island unto itself, literally. Players take a walkway to the island green, from where they can also view area wildlife ranging from blue heron to javelinas.

Speaking of great views, you might actually be distracted from your instruction at the renowned Hilton Golf Academy from the personable and professional teaching staff led by Jay Synkelma, with the unbelievable vistas from the back of the driving range. Two, three and six-night all-inclusive academy packages are available and half-day, full-day and hourly instruction is also offered. Playing lessons are the Academy's most popular offerings, where you take what you've learned on the range onto the course, with professional guidance all along the way.

Stay-and-play packages for as much or as little golf as you'd like are available, including ones with unlimited play. But you'll likely want to take in some of the other luxurious amenities of the Hilton El Conquistador during your visit. Two tennis centers with 31 lighted courts and an energetic professional instructional staff is on-site. There's also an on-site equestrian center (the only one at any Tucson-area resort) with guided sunset horseback rides through the extremely scenic high desert terrain adjacent to the resort. The Desert Springs Oasis features a 143-foot water slide, pools, waterfalls and interactive fountains. There's a full fitness center with programs and activities available, but if all that is a little more exertion than you want in your adventure, venture into the world-class spa for a full line of customized spa services or a traditional Swedish full-body massage.

The 428 recently remodeled guest rooms and casitas, five restaurants featuring distinctive menus from southwestern specialties to mesquite-grilled cowboy steaks, live entertainment and more than 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space make the El Conquistador a great place to visit, or host a large group for business, recreational or charitable golf events.

But what might be the most powerful testimonial for the golf at El Conquistador is the fact that seasonal and full-time residents love to play here. The full-service clubhouse with all the latest equipment and accessories, a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and 45 holes of golf that will provide a different challenge every day, without beating you up, have led to a growing and vibrant full-time membership that mixes easily with the resort visitors. After all, the residents were likely visitors themselves once.

Mix a friendly southwestern pace with relaxing, yet challenging golf and add the spectacular views of the Arizona desert and you have an atmosphere for a great golf getaway, whether you're visiting the Hilton El Conquistador for a day, a season, or a lifetime. For more information or tee times at the Hilton El Conquistador, visit www.hiltonelconquistador.com or call them toll free at (800) 325-7832 or locally at (520) 544-1800.

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