by Nancy G. Howard
Address: 36460 N. Encanterra Drive
San Tan Valley, Arizona 85140
Club General Manager: Kirk Kokoska
Club Manager: Helmo Brandstatter
Director of Golf: Mark Black
Superintendent: Scott Anderson
Course Designer/Architect: Tom Lehman
About This Course:
18 Holes of Championship Golf
Managed by BlueStar Resort and Golf
Par 72 – 7176 yards from the tips
Rating/Slope: 74.5/135; 72.3/131; 70.8/127; 69.5/124; 71/123
Encanterra Country Club may be the state’s most successful private club
It’s no secret the last six years have not been particularly kind to Arizona’s golf industry. Residential real estate struggles coupled with a sluggish economy overall have made life for even the state’s most-vaunted private clubs challenging.
Yet, despite the turmoil, a relative newcomer off the beaten path has quietly staked its claim as one of, if not the most successful private club over the past decade. This club is Encanterra Country Club located in the San Tan Valley. In just six short years, Encanterra has added 600-plus members, including 275 golf members, and has collected a trophy case of honors that would make any club in the state envious.
Developed by Shea Homes, Encanterra Country Club opened in this formerly obscure part of the East Valley in 2008, near the height of the economic recession. Undaunted by the news of the day, the club pressed forward with an ambitious plan to create an exceptional, world-class private club experience at a fraction of the cost of the established premier clubs elsewhere in the Valley.
“Coming to market during such a difficult time, we knew we had to out-perform everyone in terms of quality and value. And, that was not going to be easy. The bar was set pretty high by those who came before us,” said Levi Shill, General Manager of Encanterra for Shea Homes. “We put together a great team, and they gave us an outstanding plan. Fortunately Shea Homes had the horsepower to see it through from vision to reality in terms of the infrastructure and expectations.
“Today, however, it is really the club’s membership that makes all the difference. We’ve got a tremendous community of people here who are energetic, open and like to have a good time. With this type of atmosphere, it’s easy for new members to feel at home. And, that…as much as anything else…has spurred our growth.”
The first element of this plan to come online was Encanterra’s award-winning Tom Lehman-designed golf course. Knowing the quality of the golf course would be paramount to Encanterra’s early success, Shea Homes opted for a core-golf land plan that kept development to the periphery of the golf course and ensured members of enjoying a truly classic design. Lehman was then set free to use his imagination to create diverse risk-reward and shot-making challenges within this generous canvas. As a result, the golf course was named among the ‘Best New Private Courses’ in the nation by GOLF Magazine, Golfweek, and LINKS Magazine.
Additionally, Encanterra was selected to host many of the state’s most prestigious golf events, including the local qualifying round for the 2014 US Open Championship.
The result is an immensely functional “village” that moves easily from indoor to outdoor and from function to function. Accented by native stone and timber as well as beautiful tile and detail work, La Casa serves as an extension of the members’ own homes and affords them access to a host of cutting-edge amenities such as the world-class Alvea Spa; a state-of-the-art athletic club, including a women-only workout center; a fully-equipped sports shop; tournament-quality tennis facilities; contemporary indoor and outdoor swimming pools; a full-service concierge and lifestyle team; a professional business center; private lounges and a wide variety of dining options ranging from an inviting coffee shop and well-stocked wine bar to casual club fare and elegant restaurant dining.
Offering all of this at a price well below others in the market, has propelled Encanterra to the forefront among Valley private clubs.
Recently, Encanterra made a clean sweep in the golf categories of Arizona Foothill’s annual “Best of Our Valley” rankings. The private club earned top honors in the Best Community/Development, Best Clubhouse, Best Golf Community, Best Private Golf Club, and Best Golf Pro Shop categories.
In addition to these honors, Encanterra Country Club is the reigning No. 1 private club ($25,000 and Under) in the state according to Avid Golfer Arizona and the No. 3 private club in Arizona by Arizona Business Magazine.
Encanterra Country Club is a private, gated community developed by Shea Homes. It features single-family homes from just over 1,200 to nearly 4,000 square feet, and within the project there are both all ages and age-qualified areas. To learn more about the spectacular Encanterra lifestyle and available residential options, please visit www.encanterra.com or call 800.685.6494.
Queen Creek has a shining star in the heart of their town which has surely set the highest standard for future development. Encanterra, a Trilogy Country Club is an exceptionally beautiful and private golf community and country club with amenities beyond anyone’s conception. I believe they have thought of everything to meet your every desire for country club living.
Winding through Encanterra is their signature championship golf course answering every golfer’s dream, with wide fairways, plenty of water hazards, tons of bunkers with fluffy sand that’s a pleasure to hit out of, beautiful mountain vistas and a true challenge of a course designed by PGA Tour Pro and Ryder Cup captain , Tom Lehman and his design team. This editor believes Lehman outdid himself…this course is just a pure pleasure to experience and one you want to experience over and over.
Obviously, I’m not the only one with these thoughts, as Encanterra has just recently been named among the “2009 Best New Courses” by Golfweek’s panel of golf course design and architecture experts. This honor places Encanterra among an elite group of courses to have been honored as a “Best New Golf Course” by Golfweek, GOLF Magazine and LINKS Magazine. It is the only golf course in Arizona to have been so honored in recent years.
In addition to these honors, Encanterra has been selected to host some of the state’s most prestigious golf events, including 2009 US Open Sectional Qualifying and The Gateway Tour’s Tour Championship.
The first stage at La Casa, the 60,000+ square foot clubhouse, opened in May, 2009 and includes pool- and golf-side grill, Solaz, convenient at the beginning of your round and when you make the turn along with the resort pool & spa, sand volleyball court, tennis courts, and artist amphitheater. They offer an excellent practice facility with driving range, large putting and chipping areas.
Hole #3, par 5, 582 yards – Some kind of hole, with wide…and I mean wide fairway shot from the tee box. Small and large bunkers on right and cluster of bunkers on left come into play with your second shot. Fairway narrows due to bunkers on the left and water to your right which continues to the green. Large bunkers on either side and center left protect the elongated green with water on its right. It’s a good challenge with lots of course management going on to score on this one.
Hole #12, par 4, 322 yards – This is one fun hole! My golf buddy, Carl Lee, made a birdie (no small feat on this one) and guess who was all fired up for the next hole?! Note: Do not overshoot this green. There is water behind it that you are unaware of from the fairway.
Hole #13, par 5, 555 yards – This hole lives up to its number. A creek across the fairway and bunkers protect the two tiered green. Warning: If you overshoot this green, there is a steep slope with a false front back to the green that will add many strokes to your round.
Hole #16, par 4, 449 yards – Now this is one you want that second chance at, to work on your management and target golf skills. Tee shot over water starts you on this roller coaster with a babbling brook meandering around and through the sloped fairway. The elevated green is wrapped by the brook with two bunkers on the right and one on the left for protection. It is one fine challenge.
Actually, it’s very difficult to write about only four of the 18 holes. There are so many that are awe inspiring that the conversation never slowed at the 19th hole afterwards. Which holes we preferred, wishes for a replay on this or that hole, and how we would handle it differently the next time around. There were times I felt like I was at the Old Course at St. Andrews with so many visits in the large and deep bunkers that abound throughout this course, over 60 of them. Just wish I had had my caddy from Scotland with me. Speaking of caddy’s, you never know who you’ll run into on this course. Carl the Caddy (Golf Hall of Famer) was out and about working with an up and coming junior golfer and he stopped by to give us a few tips.
The visual aspects of Encanterra make it a pure pleasure just to be outdoors with plenty of babbling brooks, outstanding boulders and rock formation placements, ponds for water hazards, flowers everywhere, rock bridges and awesome views of the San Tan and Superstition Mountains throughout your round.
Women friendly? Yes indeed. In good condition? No, in great condition! Friendly staff? The best, eager to make this your best golf experience ever. Would Arizona Golfer recommend this course? In a heartbeat! And, yes, it is a ‘Must Play’. Avid golfers, find a way!!
In early 2010, Encanterra will unveil La Casa, the club’s extraordinary new 60,000+ square foot clubhouse by award-winning architect Bing Hu. Highlights will include four restaurants (ranging from a fine dining to a casual bistro and an intimate café setting), state-of-the-art athletic club, indoor and outdoor exercise pools and a resort style pool, a full-service day spa, concierge service, private wine storage and much more.
Currently both residential and non-residential golf memberships are available. For a limited time, introductory memberships are being offered for as little as $3,300 down and no dues until 2010.