Inside Comments: Steve Turcotte

Wildfire Golf Club a Phoenix-area golf resort

As we stepped to the first tee of the Wildfire’s Faldo Course, the starter gave us his usual spiel. Make sure to use a 90-degree rule, stay away from the greens with the carts, the fact there will be a beverage cart rolling around the course and where the rest rooms are located (always important when there is a beverage cart roaming the premises of course).

And one last nugget he threw in there. “Enjoy the 108 bunkers.” Did we hear him right? Yes, enjoy the 108 bunkers. That’s 1-0-8. And after 18 holes at the Wildfire Faldo Course, we found plenty of them. And these just weren’t little guys around the fairways and greens, some of these were so big it looked like a desert.

But I will say that is what makes the Faldo Course at Wildfire a treat – the bunkers, the large greens, the inviting fairways and the surround scenery with the McDowell Mountains.

Traveling during COVID-19 has been a plus. yes, I have taken the proper precautions, masking up everywhere, not getting close to people but why not take advantage of the cheap airfares and play places that would not normally be on my schedule.

Wildfire is part of the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge and Spa Resort in Phoenix. When you make the turn into the resort, you know you are in a different world. The resort spread across acres, there are two golf courses (the other being an Arnold Palmer design) and there are amenities galore. In fact, the LPGA had its Founders Tournament from 2011-18 at the resort, using nine holes of each course.

It’s easy to see why this place was named one of Travel and Leisure Golf’s “World’s Best Resorts” and Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 100 Golf Resorts.

This is a place which is a golfer’s paradise. In addition to the two courses, there is a large practice area, multiple putting greens and, of course, a sand trap for practice before you tee off. And if your game decides to get crazy, you will be glad for that sand bunker tune up before you tee off.

You get a taste of just how big the resort is as the Faldo Course winds around the hotel and swimming pools. It’s enough to distract you for a while, until you hit a ball in one of those 108 bunkers.

But it is a treat and if you are looking for a place to get spoiled for a day, this is the place.

Steve Turcotte is editor of Inside Golf Newspaper. He can be reached at