Renovations Completed At Starr Pass Country Club & Spa

Starr Pass Country Club & Spa in Tucson, Ariz., has benefited from a $5.5 million renovation overseen by Palmer Course Design. The golf course architecture company added nine new holes and remodeled the original 18 at the resort.

"Palmer Course Design is a first-class organization that is very good at what they do: creating beautiful courses that are enjoyable for golfers at every level," said Starr Pass owner Peter Ansley. "When you work with Palmer Course Design, you get the attention of a true golf icon, Arnold Palmer, as well as the talent and skill of Ed Seay and the entire Palmer team. There was no other company to do the job. It had to be Palmer Course Design."

Starr Pass, site of the Tucson Open from 1987 to 1996, was known as a very demanding tournament course. Its infamous hole No. 3 was named the most difficult hole on the PGA Tour in 1996. According to Palmer Course Design project architect Eric Wiltse, the reconstruction of the original 18 aimed at making it more accessible for golfers of different abilities. The effort succeeded as the remodeled layout is more user-friendly, as it offers more visible, shallow sand bunkers; softer, larger greens; and wider fairways.

Palmer Course Design also added a "Palmer Tee" for golfers who hit their drives like the pros, and an enlarged practice area ensures more players will benefit from the facilities. Starr Pass ranges from 7,000 yards to a more manageable 5,213 yards, allowing both professional players and weekend duffers to enjoy the resort course.

"Starr Pass is a spectacular golf course with some of the most beautiful scenery found anywhere in the country," Wiltse said. "Remodeling the original 18 will allow more players to enjoy this amazing golf experience."

The new nine at Starr Pass was designed to compliment the changes at the original 18, while showcasing the beauty of the terrain and native landscape of the Sonoran Desert. This side features elevation changes and fewer forced carries. Four holes are situated just outside of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. According to Ansley, many resort guests have commented that they would return to Starr Pass just for the golf.

"The new nine holes are a wonderful addition to our resort," Ansley said. "They test the serious players while still providing a fun outing for golfers with a higher handicap. Palmer and his team met everything we were looking for with both the design of the new nine and remodeling of the original 18."

For more information about Starr Pass, visit For more information about Palmer Course Design, call 904/285-3960 or visit