Desert Highlands Re-Opens After $7 Million Renovation

Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona is a private golf course opened in 1983, designed by Jack Nicklaus, measuring 7108 yards from the longest tees with a slope rating of 150 and a 74 USGA rating.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Desert Highlands – the acclaimed luxury golf club and community in the stunning Sonoran Desert of North Scottsdale – has re-opened its Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course following a $7 million renovation project.

The project, which began in April, included renovating every bunker, restoring the 13th hole to its original design, installing a new irrigation system and updating cart paths.

The new bunkers feature a state-of-the-art drainage system and Capillary Concrete, which was employed for optimal drainage and reduction of wash-outs during inclement weather. Bunker Solution linings were implemented to the bunker faces to prevent sand contamination and to reduce migration while maintaining design characteristics. Each were filled with sand that complements the Sonoran Desert landscape.

Jon Garner, a consultant for Nicklaus Design, directed the renovations of the par-4 13th hole. The two feature landing areas present the ultimate “risk-and-reward” options. The right side requires a long and precise tee shot. The wider option on the left offers a shorter carry and more options for the approach. A small greenside bunker was reclaimed on the front left, culminating the restoration of Nicklaus’ original intent.

The project also included installing a new irrigation system to help maintain Desert Highlands’ impeccable course conditions, and restoring the cart paths throughout the layout.

“We are thrilled to re-open the golf course to the members, and look forward to the feedback regarding the enhancements,” says General Manager Monty Becton. “The project will greatly enrich the golf experience at Desert Highlands, while also restoring characteristics to Mr. Nicklaus’s original vision and intent.”

Golf Digest ranked Desert Highlands one of the top desert golf courses in the country and was also the site of the first two Skins Games in 1983 and 1984.

Stretching to over 7,100 yards, the splendid golf course offers a challenging, but fair test, and striking views of Pinnacle Peak and the lights of the Valley spread across the horizon in the distance below. Desert Highlands was the first design in Arizona by Jack Nicklaus, and immediately set the bar for desert golf experiences, not only in Scottsdale but statewide and nationwide. Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson have walked these fairways, as it was host site of the first Skins Game in 1983.

Desert Highlands’ energetic lifestyle consistently draws discerning families and active Boomers in equal measure – golfers, tennis enthusiasts, pet lovers, and health and wellness enthusiasts. A full social calendar allows residents to also fully enjoy this peaceful community.

Just as impressive is Desert Highlands’ Racquet Club, which sports 13 tennis courts featuring all three Grand Slam surfaces – grass, clay and hard. The Racquet Club also annually hosts one of the premier tennis tournaments found anywhere – the USTA Southwest Grass Court Classic. Noted ATP player Nick Kyrgios considers Desert Highlands’ grass courts “better than Wimby [Wimbledon].”


Desert Highlands also boasts a 7,700-square-foot Wellness Center, an 18-hole professionally designed putting course and a spacious dog park. Inside, the club provides residents peace of mind with a state-of-the-art security system, professionally trained security personnel, visitor control and access, and other protection amenities. Among the acclaimed residential services that truly pamper residents and meet their specific needs – shipping and transportation assistance, pool and spa maintenance, auto detailing and other customized services.

Earlier this fall, Desert Highlands welcomed Curtis Tyrrell as its new director of agronomy, replacing the retiring Phil Shoemaker, who first arrived at Desert Highlands in 1982 to assist with the construction of the golf course. Tyrrell served as the director of golf operations prior to coming to Desert Highlands, including at famed Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

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