Arizona’s Capital Canyon Club
by Tom Mackin
THERE’S NO BIGGER FAN OF THE GOLF COURSE at the Capital Canyon Club in Prescott, Arizona, than Bill Ware. He’s played it thousands of times, starting in the late 1950s when it was a nine-hole layout known as the Hassayampa Country Club. “If people see this golf course today, I don’t know how they can resist it,” said the 80-year-old, whose home overlooks the first tee. “It is just a stunning place to play.”
He won’t get any arguments from fellow members or guests. Originally built in 1919 as a gathering place for visitors seeking refuge from the summer heat of the lower valley, where Phoenix and Scottsdale are located, Capital Canyon Club still exudes a sense of social camaraderie nearly a century after its founding. And there’s much more to it than just a very memorable 18 holes.
A busy social calendar includes bridge groups, cooking classes, and activities connecting members with the Prescott community (the historic downtown is just a six-minute drive away). The food and beverage program is known for its consistency of quality along with creative menus, including theme nights and a chef ’s table featuring a four-course meal with wine pairings.
Members and guests can dine at the clubhouse in multiple areas: the Capital Room (for fine dining and weddings/parties), the Club Room, and the Canyon Room, plus an outdoor patio popular for cookouts, live music, and a monthly “Yappy Hour” that brings together dog owners. A seasonal pool facility and extensive fitness center are also among the amenities. The club even has its own water treatment facility, a critical sustainability factor in Arizona.
“Listening to and providing what our members are interested in is key,” said general manager Laura Scrivner. “We respect their feedback and engage as many of them as we can on a regular basis for new ideas and activities.”
ON THE COURSE
In 1998, Tom Weiskopf created a 6,600-yard layout that is almost three courses in one. Holes one through six wrap around the higher parts of the property; holes seven through 14 are on the flat portion (stone tables dating back to the club’s early 20th century origins are visible between the 12th and 13th holes); and the final three holes go through a number of canyons with multiple creeks.
“The holes are unique in their own way and each has wonderful vistas,” said Ware. “The conditions are stunning. There are no bad lies, and the sand is beautiful.”
The well-bunkered course includes a drivable par-4 (the 317-yard seventh) a hallmark of every Weiskopf design. The most scenic hole is No. 16, a 168-yarder that features a beautiful rock formation and a devilish little bunker just short of the green.
From the driving range, where instruction clinics are conducted, you can see the San Francisco Peaks almost 75 miles away near Flagstaff, while 360-degree views of the surrounding Prescott area, including Thumb Butte, are found throughout the course. Cart tours are also used to introduce the beautiful landscape to nongolfers.
A variety of memberships are available, including two new offerings. An annual Corporate membership can be customized to include at least one Golf and one Social designee. The Discovery membership is a one-time, 90-day trial membership for $2,500 which includes unlimited golf without cart fees and access to all club amenities, with no food and beverage minimum. For those who decide to transition from Discovery to a full golf membership, the $2,500 is applied toward the initial fee.
As for Bill Ware — who can remember putting on the old cottonseed greens that were hand-rolled by golfers back in the 1950s — well, he plans on using the Capital Canyon Club for years to come. “I will keep playing this course as much as I can until I croak,” he said. “I still never get tired of it. There’s something new every day. It’s a great ride.”
Capital Canyon Club Prescott, Arizona