19th Hole

Steve Rosa
Vice President of Food & Beverage
BlueStar Resort & Golf
Scottsdale, AZ

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Great Eats – Coming to a Course Near You

A steadfast tradition for many, the post-round drink and meal as the scores are tallied has been as much a part of the golf culture as quiet on the tee, collared shirts, and Nassau bets. However, with dated décor and sometimes bland menus, many “19th hole” establishments have struggled to keep up with the times. And it’s leading to many players heading straight to the parking lot instead of for an ice-cold beverage, a trend which has many course owners taking notice.

The fact of the matter is, these days, golfers and foodies are often one and the same. In our Food Network-loving world, we have become savvier, more discerning, and less willing to accept just average eats. So a lukewarm dog on a dry bun will no longer cut it. Guests want high-quality, distinct experiences from tee to green and beyond. 

Thankfully, courses are sensing this shift and making changes. In an effort to keep golfers on-site just a little bit longer – and perhaps pry a few more dollars from our pockets – many in the Valley are investing in dining experiences that would be as popular in the downtown core as they are next to the 18th green. Examples include the Golden Fork-award winning V’s Taproom at Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, Isabella’s at Grayhawk, the amazing new Vic’s at Verrado, Jake’s Spoon at Wickenburg Ranch, and longtime golf restaurant of choice, the Tonto Grill at Rancho Manana. In each of these locations, you will find golfers enjoying the experience next to an eclectic blend of diners seeking enticing golf course views while relishing craft beers, tap wines and freshly prepared dishes. 

While, to paraphrase the eloquent Mr. Twain, the rumors of the challenges of the golf business have been greatly exaggerated, there is a need for operators to provide better, more consistent service throughout the experience. From course conditions to guest service to new technology, golfers expect more, and this desire for improvement extends into the kitchen. As one among many who enjoys the post-round meal as much as the golf itself, it’s a trend I’m pleased to see gaining steam.

Steve Rosa is Vice President of Food & Beverage for Scottsdale-based BlueStar Resort & Golf. Under his direction, its collection of facilities have shunned “freezer-to-fryer” traditions and have been industry leaders in golf’s foodie trend.