Tubac Golf Resort and Spa

View our
special offers

Discover the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa's three amazing golf courses: the Otero Couse, the Anza Course, and the Rancho Course.

timeline icon

Tubac Golf Resort and Spa's golf heritage dates back to 1959.


Located along the Santa Cruz River, the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa opened in 1959 when a group of investors – including crooner Bing Crosby – purchased a historic Spanish-colonial ranch to be the site of a new luxury resort hotel. Called the “Tubac Golf Resort and Spa,” its first 18-hole golf course opened the same year. Set with a backdrop of the distant Santa Rita Mountains, the golf course itself still offers guests a unique, historic charm. The Santa Cruz River provides a surprisingly lush landscape, too, with plenty of ponds and tall cottonwood trees to observe. Indeed, its inherent beauty was even recognized in the celebrated romantic comedy, Tin Cup. The first nine holes were designed by renowned golf course architect Robert “Red” Lawrence. That original course—the Otero Course—has since been hailed as the "Jewel of Southern Arizona Golf Courses." Red himself was quite accomplished at the time, having helped found the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1946. (The Otero Course was later expanded to feature a full complement of 18 fairways several years later.) Then in 2006, the resort expanded to 36 holes after local golf course architect Ken Kavanaugh installed additional fairways that enhanced the course’s already beloved layout. Eighteen of those holes were transformed into two distinct nine-hole courses: the Anza and the Rancho. Together with the historic Otero Course, the Anza and Rancho courses helped solidify the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa’s status as a preeminent destination for all avid golfers regardless of their skill level.

The Anza Course—named after Juan Baptist DeAnza, the commandant of the Tubac Presidio—featured captivating mountain views and challenging greens. It also ended climactically at the famous par-three island green in front of the Stables Patio Bar. Meanwhile, the Rancho Course was set along the banks of the Santa Cruz River. Unlike any other golf setting in southern Arizona, the course’s mesquite Bosques and cottonwood trees created a serene atmosphere that enchanted all its players. Several of the holes on each course are particularly regarded for their beautiful design. On Otero Nine, water guarded the entire left side of this par-four hole, which looked back at the Chapel. The Anza Nine served as the resort’s magnificent, yet intimidating, island green. The par-three hole was also reminiscent of the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, save for the cattle. Finally, Rancho Four, was a gorgeous par-five shot. The pond fronting the green prevented all but the longest hitters from getting “home” in two. In fact, it was this hole that acted as the setting for the scene in Tin Cup, where Kevin Costner was caddying for Don Johnson, and Johnson wanted to lay up with a seven iron. Today, the resort invites locals and travelers to play its three desert oasis courses. The design allows golfers to choose two nine-hole courses for an 18-hole game that creates all sorts of special golfing experiences. The Tubac Golf Resort and Spa also offers its golf enthusiast shopping opportunities at its golf shop and private instruction with on-staff PGA professionals. Few places can truly rival the historic golfing heritage that still defines the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa today.

  • About the Location +

    The small community of Tubac has an ancient history, hailing back to a small Spanish fortress—known at the time as a “presidio.” Developed in 1725, it functioned as Spain’s first colonial garrison in what is now Arizona. The tiny frontier outpost steadily grew to become a significant stop along the Camino Real, which connected the more densely populated provinces of New Spain (Mexico) with those of Alta California. Eventually, Lieutenant Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza briefly moved to the fort, living within the facility from 1760 to 1776. He was ultimately responsible for founding the El Presidio Real de San Francisco just outside of the Mission San Francisco de Asis. Yet, Anza spent most of his time at the Tubac presidio, before venturing north to create its more famous cousin in California. He specifically constructed a chapel called “Santa Gertudis,” the foundations of which currently reside under the newer St. Ann’s Church. The fort then gradually found itself defending against a series of vicious Apache attacks throughout the early 1800s, who had started to resist the encroachments of Spanish—and later Mexican—settlers onto the land. The climax of those raids occurred during the 1840s, forcing the garrison and its population of civilian workers to briefly vacate the premises. American troops soon controlled Tubac, though, following their seizure of the territory during the Mexican-American War. But the Apache attacks continued well into the mid-19th century, culminating with a four-day siege in 1861. Peace finally arrived to the region by the dawn of the 20th century, in which Tubac became a vibrant art colony. Today, Tubac, Arizona, is now a fascinating tourist destination, thanks in large part to the magnificence of the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa.

    Tubac Golf Resort and Spa also resides just an hour south of the thriving city of Tucson. People have lived in the area of Tucson for the better part of four millennia, making one of the most historically occupied regions in the United States. Archeologists today believe that Paleo-Indians were among the first to settle the land, with the earliest village appearing in 2100 BC. Permanently settled horticulture followed suit, as current evidence suggests that widespread farming was commonplace by 1200 BC. Farming became increasingly more intricate, with a vast canal system appearing to irrigate the various fields. Spanish missionaries led by Eusebio Francisco Kino encountered this prolific society when they arrived in the area during the late 1690s. They founded the Mission San Xavier de Bac several miles upstream from modern Tucson, the missionaries had come to spread Christianity on behalf of the Spanish Crown. The Spanish colonial settlements remained rather disparate until Hugo Oconór commissioned the construction of a military fort called the “Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón” in 1775. Constructed upon what is now the Pima County Courthouse, the citadel protected the nascent villages in the area from raids by mounted Apache warriors. Peace eventually fell upon the area, with a small town forming around the base of the fort. Its inhabitants took to calling it simply as “Tucsón” after a native word used to describe the area.

    Tucsón remained an outpost for settlers venturing north into the frontier after the settlement became a part of Mexico in 1821. But during the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848, the town was briefly under American control when General Philip St. George Cooke captured Tucsón with a battalion of Mormon volunteers. Nevertheless, Cooke returned the settlement over to Mexican authority toward the end of the conflict, as he made his way west in the direction of California. He specifically constructed a famous wagon road that became one of the most important routes linking Tucsón to the Pacific Coast. Thousands of hopeful Americans flooded the route as they stampede west at the onset of the California Gold Rush. Yet, the town remained in Mexico for the next few years, despite the rest of Arizona falling under American jurisdiction. It was not until the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, James Gadsden, arranged to purchase all the land south of the Gila River that Tucsón formally became a part of the United States. Known as the “Gadsden Purchase,” the land sale sought to provide more room in which the build an American-run transcontinental railroad. Even though the transaction took place in 1854, the first American officials—and their military escorts—did not arrive until two years later. Soon enough, the new inhabitants were referring to the town as “Tuscon”—an anglicized version of its name. The military attache also established its own base known as Fort Lowell, which protected travelers as they made their way into the city.

    Tucson’s proximity along the Cooke Wagon Trail caused its popularity to gradually grow to the point where Arizona’s territorial legislature incorporated it as a city in 1877. Yet, its relative remoteness on the American frontier made it the target of countless criminal acts by dangerous outlaws. Tucson quickly epitomized the caricature of the American “Wild West.” Some of the most common crimes involved stagecoach robberies, with the most notable involving the renegade William Whitney Brazelton. Brazelton had held up two stagecoaches a few miles outside of Tucson in the summer of 1878. Pima county Sherriff Charles A. Shibell had to organize an armed posse just to apprehend the violent criminal. A shootout eventually transpired south along the Santa Cruz River that saw Brazelton killed. More famous shootouts occurred in Tucson between law enforcement and roving bands of fugitives. Perhaps one of the greatest gun fights to occur within the city limits is known to history as the “Earp-Clanton Tragedy.” In 1882, Morgan Earp—brother of the legendary Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp—was assassinated by the bandit Frank Stilwell and his gang. In vengeance, Wyatt Earp gathered his other brother Virgil Earp and a few friends to track down the rebellious Stilwell. In short order, they managed to find Stilwell lying in wait to kill Virgil at the steps of the Tucson railroad station. Surprising Stilwell, Wyatt Earp and his group killed the cowboy and most of his band before leaving the territory for California.

    Tucson had cast aside its violent reputation toward the end of the 1800s, emerging as one of the most attractive places to live in the southeastern United States. The railroads greatly influenced the transformation, for they better connected the city with its surrounding communities. One of the greatest signs that the city was becoming pacified was the creation of the University of Arizona just outside of Fort Lowell. By 1900, the population of Tucson had increased to nearly 7,000 with some five percent having immigrated from Asia. That number had practically doubled by the time Arizona officially joined the union in 1912. By the mid-20th century tens of thousands had relocated to economically vibrant Tucson. For a time, Tucson was the largest settlement in the state, surpassing Phoenix in its size until the 1920s. Nevertheless, the city continued to play an important role in Arizona’s history, acting as the commercial center for the southern part of the state. Driving much of this growth was Hughes Aircraft, which moved to Tucson in 1951. Now known as Raytheon, the company still occupies the same facility it first inhabited several decades ago. It also hosted a massive military hospital for veterans sponsored by the U.S. Veterans Administration. In recent years, a prosperous optics industry has also appeared within the city that gave Tucson the nickname of “Optics Valley.” Today, the City of Tucson is one of the most culturally vivacious places in the entire country. It is filled with countless cultural attractions of world renown, such as the Reid Park Zoo, the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and the Pima Air & Space Museum. The historic Mission San Xavier del Bac is still located just outside of the city, which the U.S. Department of the Interior designated as a National Historic Landmark. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has even declared Tucson a “City of Gastronomy” in 2017.

  • About the Architect +

    Robert Lawrence: Affectionately remembered to history as “Red,” Robert Lawrence was a prominent golf course architect whose work largely appeared in the American Southwest. His career began as a landscaper with the Westchester Country Club in 1919. Spending only a few years at Westchester, Lawrence eventually found work with the renowned architectural firm Toomey and Flynn during the Roaring Twenties. Lawrence specifically became an acolyte of William S. Flynn, serving as one of his construction superintendents. He even helped Flynn finish many important projects, like the development of the Merion Golf Club and The Cascades at The Omni Homestead Resort (another member of Historic Hotels of America.) But when the Great Depression befell the nation, Lawrence unfortunately had to leave his job with Toomey and Flynn. Moving to Boca Raton in Florida, he subsequently worked conducting golf course maintenance over the next two decades. Nevertheless, Lawrence’s influence remained strong throughout the sport of golf. Indeed, he even rose to become one of the founding members to the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1946. Around the same time, Lawrence relocated to Arizona, where he began constructing numerous golf courses on his own. His brilliant use of the local topography in his designs quickly earned him another moniker among his fellow contemporaries—the “Desert Fox.” Among the most noteworthy courses that Lawrence created while living in Arizona included the Desert Forest Golf Club, the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa’s Otero Course, and the Championship Golf Course at the University of New Mexico. Since his death in 1976, Lawrence’s designs have gained significant praise throughout the United States. In fact, Lawrence was inducted posthumously into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame due to his accomplishments in 2003.

  • Famous Historic Golfers +

    Bing Crosby, singer and actor known for his roles in Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s.

  • Film, TV and Media Connections +

    Tin Cup (1996)

Special Offer

Optional Push

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Learn More

Sign up for our Newsletter


  • HHW Logo
  • NTHP Logo
  • AA Logo
  • WHHA Logo
  • STE Logo