REVIEW: Omni Tucson National Golf Resort

Two Unique Courses at One Awesome Resort in Tucson
As I travel around and play golf all over the country, I always appreciate a golf resort that can give you different golf experiences on the same property. Omni Tucson National is one of those resorts that has 2 great golf courses that are very different from each other. They are both great courses and have championship conditions, but yet are very unique in their look and how they play. The Catalina Course has hosted numerous tour events and is the best parkland course in Tucson, while the Sonoran course plays like a desert course and has great views of the mountains and the city.
1. Championship Golf
It matters who has played the course before you.  When you’ve seen a course on TV or know that pros have played the same holes you are playing, it makes a difference.  There is just a “cool” factor of having seen a course with crowds and grandstand or having witnessed a tour pro sink a birdie putt from the same spot you are hitting one from.  The Catalina Course has hosted over 30 tour events along with some NCAA tournaments.

2. Catalina Course
The Catalina Course is not a desert course.  This parkland style course is set in the heart of Tucson and has some beautiful views of the Catalina mountains.  The mountains are in the background as you meander through mostly flat tree lined terrain.  It can play long and has some great combo tee action for varying lengths.  There is a premium on straight tee shots and distance if you play the longer tees.  If you are Tucson native, this will be a nice change of pace from desert courses.  If you are vacationing from the north, the layout and feel of this course will look somewhat familiar.    Hole 18 is the signature hole that require some accurate shots to avoid the double water hazards.

3. Sonoran Course
The Sonoran Course is a desert course and has a totally different feel compared to the Catalina course.  It has significant elevation changes and the desert certainly comes into play on numerous holes.  This is more what is called “target” golf.  There are less trees and more cactus.  I was surprised that the score card says the yardage is shorter, because it feels like it plays much longer.   This course also weaves through significantly more terrain and has much greater variety of elevation.  It kind of makes a loop around the outside of the Catalina Course.  There are some really memorable holes on the Sonoran course: 1, 3, 11, 15,16,17,18.  That closing stretch will really test your game and there are some great risks and rewards offered in those last 4 holes.

4. Location
Omni Tucson National is really in the heart of Tucson.  It isn’t right downtown, but it is one of the closest and most central locations of a golf resort in Tucson.  This is a nice feature so that you are close to many other activities and things going on in Tucson.  It’s probably about 20 minutes from the airport.  It is one of more convenient golf resorts in Tucson for those of us that live here, since it isn’t on an extreme edge of town like most of the other resorts.

5. Conditions
A championship course should have championship conditions; and Omni Tucson National does.  During the winter months, bermuda goes dormant and courses over-seed with Rye.  That offers really cool contrasts between the bright green tees, fairways and greens and the brown rough.  It still plays well because even though the bermuda is brown and dormant, it still holds the ball up nicely for play; it isn’t dirt, just brown grass.  The greens were perfectly smooth and rolled at a nice pace.  Another nice thing about Tucson National was the sand.  For some reason, courses in Tucson don’t spend much time keeping the rocks out of their sand, but at Tucson National they have consistent and clean sand, which really is a nice feature.

6. Practice Facility
If you are traveling to Tucson during the winter months, there is chance you haven’t played golf in a while.  Tucson National has a doubled ended range with multiple practice greens and a large short game area.  Depending on the wind and tee location, they might not want you hitting driver, but there is plenty of options to dial in the rest of your game.

7. Resort
Omni Tucson National is what I call “low-key luxury”.  It isn’t the kind of resort that flaunts it with a massive tower or fancy condos lining the holes, but a simple tucked away luxurious resort with all the amenities so you can relax.  Everything is top notch without going over the top. Think tranquility rather than a hopping, busy resort.  It has been around for a while so it has that older southwest feel.  It really feels like a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful AZ winters.

8. Unique Property
The 2 styles of golf courses make this a unique golf property in Tucson.  There are a couple muni courses that have a parkland feel like the Catalina course and number of resort courses that feel like the Sonoran Course, but having both options on the same property out of the same pro shop make this unique to Tucson.  You can play something familiar and something different.  Also the getting away feeling, yet being so close is kind of a nice experience if you want to do a stay-cation in Tucson.

9. Wrap-up
Omni Tucson National has a long history, championship golf, and is  a great place to come and play golf in the winter.  The variety of golf on property is unique and the central location in Tucson, allows you to explore all the other sites that  the city has to offer.  It is a top notch resort with great staff and many luxurious features.  If you want to chill in desert, play some championship golf and relax, this is a great choice.

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