A prestigious gated community on the northern slopes of Scottsdale’s distinctive Pinnacle Peak Mountain, The Estancia Club was opened in 1995 and its golf course designed by acclaimed architect Tom Fazio. Arranging the holes around the base of the rocky landmark, Fazio crafted his course from a spectacular 640-acre parcel of desert, incorporating stunning boulder formations, saguaro cacti and outlooks over the distant Sonoran peaks into much of the layout.
While early holes skirt the towering granite structure, much of the back nine meanders up into the dusty hills and through areas of great natural elevation change. The mid-length 10th starts the gentle rise up into the higher ground, the hole framed by massive boulders and followed by an exquisite short par three played into a green wedged within a giant rock amphitheatre. Other moments of note include the drive from the back tee on the 12th, which forces players to hit across a canyon, and the falling approach through a narrowing valley into the 17th green. The uphill 13th is also very good, as are front nine par fours at the 2nd and 5th, the latter with a striking backdrop and sloping green banked into the base of a hill.
Although Estancia lacks world-class individual holes and the general standard of design is below courses like Shadow Creek and the Quarry at La Quinta, the golf is very stylish and Fazio’s artistically shaped greens are both interesting to hit into and fun to chip and putt around. The course is one of the most enjoyable to play in the greater Scottsdale region, and its superior turf standards, general ambience and the rugged beauty of its surrounding mountains help to make the club particularly popular among the high-end golf market.