An introduction to Chandler
In this blog post we’re going to explore some of the best golf courses in Chandler, Arizona. We’ll also look at golf courses in Gilbert, another city close by.
The city of Chandler is located in the southeastern Greater Phoenix area, a place called East Valley. The city has a largely agricultural background and its origins stretch back to a time when a veterinarian called Dr. Alexander John Chandler bought close to a hundred acres of land to study irrigation.
Fast forward to today, and Chandler is a beautiful, largely green city. There are many parks, outdoor activities, top-class golf courses (which we’ll explore later) and a fabulous downtown. There are some wonderful shopping options with numerous antique as well as modern shops on offer.
See also: What are the best golf courses in Arizona?
Sadly for Chandler, the city is much overlooked by its neighboring Scottsdale, which gets far more fame and attention. Although it is fair to say the golf courses in Scottsdale are superb. But for those looking for something a bit more relaxed and chilled, Chandler could be the perfect option.
Some of the outdoor areas to visit include the Veterans Oasis Park which has 113 acres of desert and wetland areas. There is also the Arizona Railway Museum, a fascinating experience and the Desert Breeze Park which has plenty of activities.
Chandler has some decent golf courses, and maybe being slightly overlooked by Scottsdale means it is that bit quieter, not such a bad thing!
The best golf courses in Chandler Arizona
Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass
Just to the west of Chandler in the Gali River Indian Community, is the wonderful 36-hole resort of Whirlwind golf club.
Despite being so close to central Chandler and downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale, there is zero housing surrounding the 500 acres making up the site. Instead there are magnificent and undisturbed views across to the Sierra Estrella Mountains.
The two courses, Devil’s Claw and Cattail, were both designed by Gary Panks, a man who made his name primarily designing golf courses in and around the State of Arizona. Both of them stretch over the 7,000 yard marker.
Of the 500 acres that make up the plot, 250 are pure desert landscape. Rugged sandy waste areas interspersed with desert vegetation including saguaros, mesquite and palo verde trees line the gently undulating fairways. There are multi-tiered greens and wonderful bunkering to keep golfers of all levels challenged.
Between 2001 and 2005, the course hosted the Gila River Classic from the PGA’s Nationwide Insurance Tour. This is a great venue and well worth spending the day here. The clubhouse and surrounding facilities are superb.
Ocotillo Golf Club
Without doubt one of Arizona’s finest public golf course options, Ocotillo golf club is a superb venue located to the south of Chandler.
Referred to as a desert oasis, you can absolutely see why. Despite being in the Sonoran desert, there are countless lakes dotted throughout the site with lush verdant fairways and vegetation. There is a real juxtaposition when comparing Ocotillo to most of the other courses on this list, all of which are unambiguously desert golf.
The three loops of nine were designed by Ted Robinson, an architect as busy on the continent as he is domestically. The toughest nine-hole combination is Blue and Gold which from the back tees stretch to just over 7,000 yards.
Fortunately with so much water, the fairways are generous and if you’re hitting the big dog well, then there are going to be plenty of birdie opportunities. And where better to relax post-golf than in the Ocotillo Grille, a sports bar / restaurant which has a great vibe.
Seville Golf & Country Club
A 25 minute drive from downtown Chandler, through the Gilbert National Park, is Seville Golf & Country Club. This is a private ‘sports’ country club which has a whole range of facilities onsite, including a full-scale water park, swimming pools, fitness suites and so much more.
To add to all the amenities is the 18-hole championship layout, designed again by Gary Panks, of Whirlwind Golf Club fame. This is a really picturesque layout which has magnificent views across to the San Tan Mountains.
Like many courses in this neighborhood, it is largely surrounded by residential housing. But if you’re able to put that to one side, the course is immensely playable. The fairways are relatively narrow, although you won’t get into too much trouble if you do miss them.
Despite being desert style, there are six lakes which come into play. This is particularly noticeable on the signature 17th hole, an awesome par 3 to an island green.
San Marcos Golf Club
This is a club whose history goes way back to when Arizona was still a territory. Dr Alexander J. Chandler, the man who founded the city, was responsible for the San Marcos golf resort coming to life.
The resort opened in 1913 and the course was designed by the architect Arthur Benton. Benton is someone more recognised as an authority on California mission design. 100 acres was devoted to routing the course and it was seeded with Bermuda grass, the first green grass golf layout in Arizona.
Over the years, the course has benefitted from further investment and renovations, making it into the outstanding course it is today. The site is a carpet of green, with manicured greens, lush fairways, trees and vegetation flowing throughout. Water comes into play on a few occasions, none other than a large irrigation ditch which intersects a number of fairways.
The clubhouse oozes old world charm with modern day facilities and service. It features a number of original terrazzo floors with high vaulted ceilings and is a great place to lounge out on an evening.
Bear Creek Golf Complex
Due south of Chandler, nearly as far as you can go before you hit miles upon miles of desert, is an area full of country clubs and golf courses. By and large, the residential zones can get quite packed in. But Bear Creek bucks the trend, with a large plot of land untouched by housing.
This is a 36-hole golf facility which opened for play at the turn of the century. There is an 18-hole championship course called The Bear, and an executive course called The Cub, a par-59 which measures 3,552 yards. Both courses were designed by the Nicklaus Design Group and the lead architect Bill O’Leary.
The Bear is an inland ‘links-style’ course, an oddity in this part of the world, measuring just over 6,800 yards. There are gorgeous rolling fairways, strategic bunkering and superb contoured greens. This is a fantastic alternative to go and experience something slightly different to the mold.
Lone Tree Golf Club
Another golf course in the southern reaches of Chandler, nestled within the setting of the San Tan Mountains.
Lone Tree golf club opened for play in 2001 and was designed by the architect Darryl Wilson. Wilson heads up the golf course design arm of the CMX Group, based in Phoenix. It is a par-71 which measures just over 7,000 yards from the back tees.
The setting is lush, a desert landscape with serene mountain vistas. Yes there is housing which flanks many fairways. But the vast majority of holes close to the clubhouse are mostly devoid of this.
The club is semi-private, so does accept public tee time bookings. There are all the facilities you would expect including a state of the art practice facility and fully stocked golf shop.
Encanterra Country Club
One of the newest private country clubs in Arizona, Encanterra is a very special place.
The club is located in the South East Valley, as far south east as you can get before hitting the barren Sonoran desert. As far as private clubs go, Encanterra will match some of the best out there.
The centrepoint of the club is the 60,000 square foot clubhouse, La Casa, which is as inspiring as it is impressive. There are multiple dining options as well as state-of-the-art health and fitness facilities.
But it is the superb and award-winning Tom Lehmann designed golf course which is turning many heads. Most of the major golf publications including LINKS magazine, GOLF Magazine and Golfweek, all rated Encanterra as one of the best new private golf courses in the U.S.
Naturally the course will be in immaculate condition and is open to all levels of golfer with the generous fairways and six tee options on every hole. Despite its young age, it has already hosted some premier golf events including amongst others, The Gateway Tour’s Tour Championship and US Open Sectional Qualifying.
The best golf courses in Gilbert Arizona
Toka Sticks Golf Club
Heading due east out of Chandler towards the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, is the unheralded but hugely enjoyable Toka Sticks golf club.
Like Whirlwind Golf Club, Toka Sticks is owned by the Gila River Indian Community starting life in the early 1950s. The course first came to life as a recreational past-time for army personnel stationed at Williams Air Force base nearby.
The site is relatively flat so makes for easy walking, something the club actively encourages. This is absolutely a drivers course, with from the back tees the course stretching to just over 6,900 yards.
Many of the holes look relatively innocuous, but the difficulty comes in the many tree-lined fairways. Mesquite, eucalyptus, palm and palo verde trees line most fairways and cut off most doglegs. Overhanging branches also often come into play, making approaches to many of the slightly elevated greens that bit more difficult.
Western Skies Golf Club
More towards Gilbert than Chandler, Western Skies golf club is a popular course with the locals.
Despite being largely surrounded by residential housing, this public golf course has views over to the Superstition Mountains. The course recently enjoyed a multi-million dollar renovation which was much needed and has helped elevate Western Skies.
Three sizable lakes come into play, like on the 4th hole, a par 3 over water to a green protected by a huge bunker. The fairways are relatively tight, but aside from a rough lie, you won’t be too penalized for spraying it off the tee.
This is not championship golf, but it is fun, enjoyable and unpretentious. The clubhouse has also benefited from the recent investment, with the sports bar being home to Mulligan’s grill, with 14 HDTVs to watch all the sport!
Superstition Springs Golf Club
Around the Superstition Springs neighborhood of Gilbert, are a whole raft of golf courses to choose from. Yet without doubt, Superstition Springs golf club is the expert’s choice.
The club is located just a 15 minute drive from downtown Gilbert, running parallel with the Superstition Freeway. When you arrive here, it is like walking into a desert oasis, so verdant and abundant is the vegetation. This is a wonderfully picturesque location.
The course was designed by Greg Nash and has in years gone past hosted a PGA TOUR Qualifying event. From the back tees the course stretches to just over 7,000 yards, so you need to be on your driving game. That said, there are five sets of tees so it is amenable to less skilled golfers.
As mentioned before, the setting is lush. The emerald green fairways are framed by mature trees and strategically placed bunkers. Gentle mounding and undulating fairways lead to pristine greens.
There are two large lakes which create a further challenge on a handful of holes. This is definitely one of the better golf courses in Gilbert.
What is the best golf course in Chandler Arizona?
The best golf course in Chandler Arizona is also one of the newest, Encanterra golf club. It was designed by the Lehmann Design Group and has been voted as one of the best new private golf courses.