The 2016 Indian Country Today Media Network Native Golf Directory
There are more than 60 Native-owned golf courses across the United States, with tribes purchasing and reviving more tracks each year. From the Sonoran Desert of Arizona to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to rolling hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, tribal courses are an integral part of Indian country's stunning and diverse landscape. Largely devoid of residential and commercial development, Native courses often allow players to fully immerse themselves in nature and wildlife. Next time you are looking for a tee time, think about reaching out to one of these courses.
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club
Ak-Chin Indian Community
The only true links-style course in the Arizona desert valley, the Maricopa-based Southern Dunes Golf Club offers a stunning 360-degree panorama of sweeping sand dunes against crisp blue skies. Another draw is the 8,000-square-foot clubhouse, designed in the rustic, yet sophisticated fashion of a classic Southwestern ranch home. Among Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club’s accolades are: 2016 National Golf Course of the Year west region winner by the National Golf Course Owners Association, a Top 100 Resort Course (#60) by Golfweek, Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona (#5) by Golfweek, and Top Casino Course (#13) by Golfweek.
Apache Stronghold Golf Resort
San Carlos Apache Tribe
San Carlos, AZ
(800) 272-2438 (toll free)
Designed by minimalist master Tom Doak, the Apache Stronghold Golf course is spread out over high desert terrain, with a 3,200-foot elevation and two mammoth par-5s that are over 600 yards long. Sage and mesquite trees cover the hills that rise above many of the fairways, and the par-3 5th hole is atop a 90-foot ridge. The 19th hole is at the Apache Prime Steakhouse in the Pavilion, as good a place as any to doctor your scorecard.
Cocopah RV & Golf Resort
Cocopah Indian Tribe
6800 S Strand Avenue
(800) 537-7901 (toll free)
On the banks of the Colorado River, the Cocopah RV & Golf Resort is billed as “300 acres of adult playground.” The Cocopah Indian Tribe’s 18-hole, par 73 course offers three lake holes and is open year-round. To boot, the RV camp earned the highest rating from Woodall's Campground Directory for its amenities, services and accommodations.
Huukan Golf Club
Fort Mojave Indian Tribe
5835 Desert Lakes Dr.
Fort Mohave, AZ
The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe is more than mid-way through a five-year renovation of Huukan’s layout. It began with the name; Huukan translates to "stick hitting a ball" in the Mojave language. That simplicity is reflected in the courses streamlined, player-friendly holes — that is, if you keep the ball on the fairways and out of the trees. Huukan also boasts a clubhouse with a pro shop and restaurant/bar.
Sewailo Golf Club
Pascua Yaqui Tribe
5655 West Valencia Road
Sewailo, meaning “flower world,” mixes the native landscape with trickling streams and crystal lakes. The challenging course measures 7,400 yards, but has five different tee boxes to test players of all abilities, and nearly 70 bunkers, some described as “deep and perilous.” The premier Tucson golf course, which opened in 2013, is widely regarded as one of the finest golfer playgrounds in the state. Daytime competition can lead to nighttime entertainment at the nearby Casino del Sol Resort’s casino and Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater, a 5,000-seat open-air concert venue that regularly showcases big name musicians such as Tim McGraw and Santana.
Sewailo came in at #1 on Golf Advisor’s top-rated course list in Arizona for 2015, and #6 on its list of Top 50 U.S. courses in 2015.
Talking Stick Golf Club
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
9998 E. Indian Bend Road
Bordered by the majestic Camelback Mountain, McDowell Mountains and Pinnacle Peak, Mother Nature provides a welcome distraction at Talking Stick Golf Club’s gorgeous 36-hole, walking-friendly course. Designed by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 1998, it takes advantage of the desert landscape with steep bunkers that often frame the greens.
The links-style north course and its sister, the tree-lined south course, deliver plenty of variety. Even in Arizona’s fiercely competitive market, Golfweek magazine rated Talking Stick the #15 course in the state in 2016. The club also held the title of #1 public course in Golfweek’s “Arizona Top 100 Resort Courses” for three consecutive years: 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Toka Sticks Golf Club
Gila River Indian Community
6910 E. Williams Field Road
The challenge of the Gila River Indian Community’s 18-hole, par-72 public course in Mesa is navigating around the trunks and overhanging branches of mature eucalyptus, mesquite, palm and palo verde trees. The towering trees guard the corners of several dogleg fairways, and the small, elevated greens are fast and true. Water comes into play on four holes, including two par-3 greens that are partially surrounded and require an accurate tee shot. Toka Sticks golf course was originally designed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1950s as a recreational facility for personnel stationed at Williams Air Force Base.
We-Ko-Pa Golf Club
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
18200 East TohVee Circle
Fort McDowell, AZ
With stunning views of the McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain, Four Peaks and the Superstitions, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club’s two 18-hole daily fee courses, Cholla and Saguaro, sit on Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation land that will never be tainted by commercial development. Golfweek honored We-Ko-Pa on its Best Resort Courses list for 2016. Designed by golf course veterans Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw and Scott Miller, the courses cater to seasoned pros and recreational golfers. Post-round, players often gather at the 10,000-square-foot clubhouse with scenic indoor and outdoor dining, golf shop and lounge areas.
Whirlwind Golf Club
Gila River Indian Community
5692 W. North Loop Road
With two 18-hole courses, the Gary Panks-designed Whirlwind Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience deep in unspoiled desert. Indigenous plant life — mesquite, saguaro, palo verde, and cottonwood — grow abundantly, reminiscent of the vegetation when the Gila River still flowed on the reservation. Despite being just 11 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, the serene destination course feels far from civilization.
Barona Creek Golf Club
Barona Band of Mission Indians
1932 Wildcat Canyon Road
(888) 722-7662 (toll free)
Blending beautifully with San Diego’s rolling foothills, Barona Creek Golf Club is one of California’s most inviting golf courses. GolfWeek has named Barona Creek the 6th Best Casino Course in the U.S., the 4th Best Course you can play in California, and the 3rd Best Resort Course in California. It ranked as one of California’s top courses with a score of 74.4, and scored the Environmental Green Star Award in 2011. Barona Creek Golf Club offers four tees to accommodate golfers of all skills and abilities. In the San Diego Union Tribune's “Best of San Diego” Online Readers Poll, Barona Creek Golf Course was named Best Golf Course for 2015.
The Country Club at Soboba Springs
Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians
1020 Soboba Road
San Jacinto, CA
In December 2004, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians purchased this course, and hired architect Cary Bickler, a disciple of the original designer, Desmond Muirhead, who built the property in 1966. Bickler renovated the parkland-style layout with 25 new bunkers, lengthened the course nearly 250 yards and added waterfalls, rock walls and streams to enhance the with bermuda grass greens and fairways. The tribe opened the doors to its new 32,000-square-foot clubhouse in April 2008. The premier golf club in San Jacinto offers optimal conditions for year-round play. Soboba Springs’ signature restaurant, the Maze Stone, offers a beautiful lounge and terrace.
Eagle Falls Golf Course
Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
84-245 Indio Springs Parkway
Architect Clive Clark created a masterpiece with a unique array of elevations and water features not usually spotted on courses open for public play. Eagle Falls Golf Course provides a fair test for the average player. Relax and spend the night at the Palm Springs Hotel for the ultimate golf getaway.
Indian Canyon Golf Resort
Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians
1097 Murray Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA
(866) 465-3914 (toll free)
(760) 327 6550
The 36-hole facility, set on 550 acres of Agua Caliente tribal property, was the once-private club called Canyon Country Club that was a favorite of Hollywood celebrities Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason. Former U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan also walked these fairways.
Indian Canyon offers two courses, the longer, par-72 North featuring stunning mountain views. Of the six water hazards on the course, the most notable is the lake between the 9th and 18th holes that is home to the famous Disney fountain, which shoots water over 100 feet into the air.
The South Course, remodeled by Casey O’Callahan in 2004 with LPGA legend Amy Alcott, is home to four ponds and 850 palm trees. Five-hundred washingtonia filifera, a sacred tree of the Agua Caliente, decorate the course. Once considered a hidden gem off the beaten path to Coachella Valley visitors, today Indian Canyons is in the heart of all the action in Palm Springs. Only 20 minutes from Palm Springs International Airport and 10 minutes from downtown, you can enjoy cocktails in the South clubhouse while taking in unadulterated views of the San Jacinto mountains.
Sycuan Golf Resort
3007 Dahesa Road
El Cajon, CA
(800) 457-5568 (toll free)
A gorgeous par-72 course, Oak Glen boasts tight fairways, tricky rolling greens, and difficult hazards in mature, landscaped surroundings. Brace yourself for the challenge beside the scenic Sweetwater River and take on the the 5th hole — one of the best holes in San Diego.
Take on another challenge with Willow Glen, a par-72 course, with demanding, narrow fairways. Willow Glen winds, rises and descends over several dogleg holes and numerous elevation changes, making for tricky shots that test even the best of players. Redesigned in 1980 by Ted Robinson, Willow Glen is a must-see for every golf enthusiast.
The 18-hole, par-3 Pine Glen course rounds out Sycuan’s golf options in the beautiful and tranquil hills of Dehesa Valley. Players can stay at the sprawling, contemporary hotel just 20 miles from downtown San Diego. In addition to its two championship golf courses and pro shop, the resort offers outdoor pools, tennis courts, a fitness center and a spa.
Whitney Oaks Golf Club
United Auburn Indian Community
2305 Clubhouse Drive
Owned and operated by the United Auburn Indian Community, Whitney Oaks Golf is just 30 minutes from Sacramento. It prides itself on its world-class features and beautifully green 18-hole course, driving range, clubhouse with bar and grill, and a fully-equipped pro shop. Join the Thunder Rewards membership to get five percent back on golf fees, pro shop purchases, and more.
Woods Valley Golf Club
San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians
14616 Woods Valley Road
Valley Center, CA
Players can test their strategy on this 18-hole course built into the natural contours of the Woods Valley countryside. The layout mixes wide fairways and tighter holes framed by oak trees. Similarly, the greens range from small to sprawling. Ten holes incorporate water, and bunkers are dispersed throughout.
Yocha Dehe Golf Club at Cache Creek Casino Resort
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
14455 Highway 16
The U.S. Open qualifier is held regularly at Yocha Dehe, an isolated course in California’s Capay Valley that beckons Bay Area golfers from 90 miles away, as well as players 120 miles north in San Jose and from 30 miles west in Sacramento. The trek is well worth the effort to play in this pristine setting without a residence in sight. Elevated tees showcase the engaging Brad Bell-designed course’s rolling elevation changes. Vineyards are visible from a couple of holes, and water creates challenges on the final five. Yocha Dehe Golf Club was ranked #1 in the country in 2015 by Golf Advisor users, and in May 2016, the Golf Advisor staff ranked it #17 among the top 21 casino courses in the U.S. Immaculate course conditions and hospitable staff give this daily-fee golf course a country club atmosphere.
Lake of Isles Luxury Golf Resort
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
1 Clubhouse Dr.
North Stonington, CT
A pair of Rees Jones-designed championship golf courses in New England sprawl over 900 acres of picturesque landscape, including rolling terrain, island greens and extraordinary views. The property, adjacent to Foxwoods Resort Casino, includes the 18-hole private golf course (South Course) and the 18-hole public golf course (North Course), as well as an elegant, 50,000-square-foot clubhouse. In 2016 for the 10th consecutive year, Golfweek rated Lake of Isles’ North Course #1 in Connecticut on its state-by-state list of "America’s Best Courses You Can Play.” PGA and LPGA golf pros lead the year-round Lake of Isles Golf Academy, providing personalized teaching including videotaped swing analysis, as well as indoor and outdoor practice areas.
Mohegan Sun Golf Club
7 Dows Ln
This private 18-hole championship course is etched in the hillsides of Baltic, Connecticut. Just 15 minutes from Mohegan Sun, the course is open to members, casino guests and convention-goers. Other amenities include a clubhouse, pro shop, driving range, banquet facility and outdoor swimming pool.
Ranked #5 in Connecticut on GolfWeek’s list of "America’s Best Courses You Can Play,” Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug is often praised for its impeccable greens.
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