An introduction to Mesa
What looks like on the map just part of a much larger Greater Phoenix area, Mesa is in fact the third largest city in Arizona! Phoenix and Tucson being first and second respectively. But rest assured there are plenty of good golf courses in Mesa, Arizona.
Located within the Sonoran Desert and more precisely, Maricopa County, Mesa has a distinctly desert-like climate. This means really hot summers and quite mild winters. One would say perfect for golf.
The city is characterized by its length, stretching in excess of 18 miles from east to west. This distinct shape means residents often refer to East West and West Mesa to make things easier. Most of the golf clubs reside in East Mesa, but we’ll come onto those later.
See also: What are the best golf courses in Arizona?
There are plenty of attractions in the city, with activities to appeal to all age groups. Starting with some outdoor activities, the Brinton Desert Botanical Garden has some impressive cacti and local flora.
Whilst if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, head off to the Wind Cave Trail in the Usery Mountain Regional Park. The trail is suitable for hikers of all abilities and finishes off with an impressive natural cave where there are splendid views to be enjoyed.
In the city, there are ample museums to choose from for a touch of culture. The Mesa Historical Museum, the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Mesa Arts Center are all very popular.
The best golf courses in Mesa Arizona
Mesa Country Club
As far west as you can possibly go in Mesa, just shy of the Salt River banks and just to the east of Tempe and Scottsdale, is Mesa Country Club. Amongst the myriad of chest-thumping sprawling layouts dotted across the Scottsdale area, Mesa Country Club defies convention.
This is a proud and traditional private club which was designed by William F. Bell. The course opened for play in 1948 and in the intervening years was redesigned by Dick Turner. But aside from that, this is very much the original layout.
There are an impressive 7 sets of tees on each hole, so assuming you do get a round here, make sure you choose wisely. From the back tees, named ‘The Tips’, the course is just shy of 6,900 yards.
To score well here, you need to be hitting the ball straight. Granted this applies to most courses, but Mesa Country Club features large mature trees which line most fairways. Avoiding these from the tee will set you up nicely to approach the small greens. These are known as being some of the smallest greens in the state, so precise approach play is also required.
With the club sprawled out across a plateau, there are some subtle elevation changes with this notably coming into play on one of the par 3s where you’re hitting over the Temple Canal to the well protected green.
Longbow Golf Club
Now we’re moving across to East Mesa, northeast Mesa to be precise, where there is a grouping of golf clubs all together. From this spot, we’re just under a 30 minute drive from downtown Scottsdale.
Longbow golf club is a fantastic course to kick things off. This is an award-winning layout which opened for play in 1997, although the final routing was completed in 2003.
Longbow golf club really is an awesome example of desert golf, a course which oozes Arizona golf vibe. It will come as no surprise it has been well-received and recognised as being one of the best.
Golfweek Magazine awarded it a ‘Top 100 Resort Course in the Country’, whilst Golf Magazine ranked it as a ‘Top 20 Golf Course in Arizona’. This is definitely one of the finest golf courses in Mesa, Arizona.
From the tips the course measures just over 7,000 yards, but with six tee boxes on each hole, this is a course open to all abilities. It is also a public course, so book a tee time and after your round, make sure you spend a bit of time in the contemporary clubhouse.
Alta Mesa Golf Club
Towards East Mesa and just past the neighborhood of Mira Mesa, is Alta Mesa Golf Club. This is a traditional parkland course owned by the members, and open to visitor green fees.
Yes, the 160 acre site is surrounded on all sides by housing. But don’t let this detract from what is a fun and open course to play. There is also enough of a buffer zone between the housing and the fairways so you don’t feel encumbered.
The course is long, with from the back tees the yardage stretching to well over 7,100 yards. On the back nine, some of the holes are particularly challenging. This is largely why the course is often chosen to host many amateur and professional tournaments.
The challenge isn’t solely the length. There are strategically placed bunkers, rapid greens and a mere eight lakes which come into play on nearly half the holes. The course is relatively flat so perfect for those who prefer to walk.
Red Mountain Ranch Country Club
Tucked up as far north as you can go in East Mesa before hitting Sonoran Desert and eventually the Granite Reef Dam, is Red Mountain Ranch Country Club.
This is a hugely popular country club with all the amenities and services you would expect to find. It was in the 1980s that the club opened its doors, and since then it has been home to families and members looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Many of those members flock here due to the superb Pete Dye designed golf course. This is a fantastic course and one of the most challenging in the region. What is even more appealing is the fact it is open to outside green fees.
The course has a distinct desert character, with both sandy and clay run-offs, cacti and mesquites lining the fairways. Venture too far off course and you’ll lose your ball in the harsh desert landscape.
Water comes into play on a handful of holes, whilst the Dye design trait of railway sleepers are visible dotted throughout the site. This really is one of the best golf courses in Mesa.
Las Sendas Golf Club
And so we move on to the awesome Las Sendas golf club in eastern Mesa. This is yet another top-class layout open to the public and one you will not want to miss!
Las Sendas is Robert Trent Jones Jr’s first Arizona layout, which in itself is a reason to come by and play. But the layout delivers and offers golfers a brutal test of ‘strategy golf’.
Don’t think you’ll come here and bully your way round – this is a thinker’s course. You need to plot your way around, avoiding the myriad hazards.
This is a desert-style course, so the desert scrubland and sandy run-offs flank most fairways. Water comes into play on a handful of holes whilst nearly all the greens are heavily defended by numerous bunkers.
It is no wonder Las Sendas is regularly considered as being one of the best golf courses in Mesa, Arizona and the region as a whole. There are clearly many world-class courses in Arizona, but playing them is another story. You could do a lot worse than come and spend the day at Las Sendas.
Apache Wells Country Club
In the Apache Wells neighborhood of East Mesa, is the Country Club of the same name.
The course has been here since the mid 1960s but was originally just nine-holes. It was later on that an architect under the name of Milt Coggins was responsible for extending the layout to the full 18 holes.
Apache Wells is hugely popular with a more senior clientele as the layout is slightly shorter and very flat, making it easily walkable. From the back tees, the course is 6,100 yards whilst the par is 71.
Obviously due to its location, the course is desert in style and features cacti and palms lining fairways. Water comes into play on a handful of holes to keep things challenging.
All in all, this is an unpretentious course which doesn’t pretend to be something it is not. This is pleasant golf with a particular target market.
What is the best golf course in Mesa, Arizona?
The best golf course in Mesa, Arizona is Las Sendas golf club in East Mesa. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr and opened for play in 1995.