GAO team ontario

Team Ontario’s training site; A look at the Lodge at Ventana Canyon

TUCSON, AZ— With the Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) U19 Provincial team recently wrapping up their second winter training camp (Feb. 12-17), it is a great opportunity to take a closer look into the site that they have used to improve their game for the past four years.

The Lodge at Ventana Canyon is located just outside of Tucson, Arizona and offers a challenging facility for the team to work on their game. It features two full courses, Mountain and Canyon, appropriately named for the course that plays into the Santa Catalina Mountains and through various canyons.

The courses are both designed by Tom Fazio, something that Director of Sales and Marketing, Chris Sabala says is huge in terms of attracting golfers. “Groups really seem to like his courses. Having the name is big, especially since at the time they were built, there were very few designed by him in the area.”

The facility has been around for 30 years but features much more than just the courses. The Ventana Canyon is made up of four entities. There is the golf and racquet club, that both offer memberships; a gated community, that has approximately 800 homes; the Lodge, that features a 50-suites accommodation; and Loews Ventana a 398-room facility.

They are run by three entities, the gated community has a homeowners association, the Lodge and golf course are run together, through a board of directors and membership board and Loews too is run separately but has access to the courses.

In 2004, with the Lodge being run by Wyndham, a group of members and owners from the gated community and course decided to buy the resort and to run the Lodge themselves. The Lodge became not only accommodations, but also the clubhouse for the courses. The ownership group has since put close to $8-million in renovations and they are continuing to work on the facility. “Having the community be part of the resort has been big in us securing partnerships like the one with the GAO,” added Sabala.

In addition to the two courses, the Lodge at Ventana Canyon features a 36-station driving range, four putting greens and two short-game facilities. Off the course, there is also a full gym, multiple tennis courts, spa and eight-lane junior Olympic-size pool.

“The resort does well with groups because they seem to like the convenience of everything together. With the low number of guests we try to create an atmosphere that makes guests feel like they are members too,” said Sabala.

A view from the third tee on the Canyon course at Ventana Canyon.

A view from the third tee on the Canyon course at Ventana Canyon.

“Ventana Canyon is a beautiful setting in great condition and has a terrific short-game area,” said Team Ontario coach Reggie Millage. “We certainly took full advantage in using the facilities to do things that you just can’t do inside during the winter.”

Each year the facility sees more that 60,000 rounds of golf played and hosts approximately 60 groups. Their goals is to double the number of groups they welcome. “The facility offers great views and you never have to worry about the condition of the courses. Both are challenging but playable. We rotate between which course is for members and guests each day so when people visit they can easily play both,” said Sabala.

For more information on everything that the Lodge at Ventana Canyon offers check out their website at: