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As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ventana Canyon Club and Lodge, we’re not just marking four decades on the calendar; we’re honoring a journey shaped by our founders, members, the land, and a spirit of community. From its early days as part of the Flying V Ranch to its evolution into a premier club and lodge, Ventana Canyon has always been more than a destination. It’s a tapestry of shared experiences, resilient community efforts, and a deep respect for our stunning natural surroundings.

A Land of Enchantment and Splendor

The story begins with the land itself, a testament to the Sonoran Desert’s hidden opulence. The early Indigenous people and Spanish settlers recognized this abundance, thriving amidst the mesquite and saguaro, under the watchful eyes of the majestic mountains. By the 1920s, the secret was out: the allure of the enchanting Santa Catalina Mountains became a haven for visitors from the Midwest and Northeast seeking respite from the cold, harsh winters. In 1926, enterprising homesteader Patsy Gillham created the Flying V Ranch, one of the country’s original dude ranches, in spectacular Ventana Canyon.

Imagine the awe of those early visitors, as they traded city skylines for starlit nights and the yips and howls of coyotes. They found a world where wild west rodeos, saguaro studded landscapes, and the unique desert wildlife created an experience unlike any other. The word spread, guests arrived, and the years passed. Soon, newer, grander resorts sprouted up around Tucson, replacing the once “glamourous” Flying V Ranch.

Ventana Canyon’s Timeless Enchantment Endures

Pristine Ventana Canyon still drew lovers of the Santa Catalina Mountains – and developers recognized the allure of the canyon. In 1983 new owners – Estes Homebuilding Company – embarked on a remarkable transformation, turning part of the original Flying V Ranch into the Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club. The Club’s developers understood that the resort buildings, golf courses, and racquet courts must have minimal impact to the surrounding ecosphere and harmonize with the natural splendor of the landscape. In fact, painstaking care was taken to protect the natural bio-geographical environment during the planning, design and construction of the property.

Environmental consultants were hired to ensure the natural desert terrain remained protected. The stunning landscapes of today are a direct result of their wisdom and guidance.

Forty Years of Golf, Grandeur, and Vibrant Living

The scenic Mountain Course, first of two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, opened in 1984 with a trailer serving as a clubhouse. From those humble beginnings, our club and lodge flourished. Throughout the 1980s, club members reveled in the challenges of the Mountain Course, and later, the Canyon Course, introduced in 1988. They also enjoyed unwinding in the Clubhouse, swimming in the lap pool, engaging in tennis matches, and hosting friends and family for stays at the exclusive 50-suite boutique Lodge.

Club members celebrated as national awards of excellence came pouring in from Conde Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, the American Automobile Association, and many more.

Forward-Thinking Members Create The Ventana Canyon Alliance

By 2003 the future of the Club and the Lodge at Ventana Canyon was uncertain. Club members were concerned that the current owner/operator might sell their beloved property. The award-winning golf courses, tennis and pool complexes, the exclusive boutique hotel, and beautiful clubhouse all needed saving.

Fortunately, a group of courageous and visionary Club members pledged their financial resources and devoted personal time to purchase the property, transitioning ownership to members through the Ventana Canyon Alliance, LLC. They believed that stable ownership by the widest member and resident base would best ensure the Club’s status as one of the finest golf, tennis, and recreational clubs in the country. Thanks to this devoted member ownership, the Club is steadily progressing towards its long-range mission to “be the premier member-owned country club and destination resort in the Southwest.”

Charting New Horizons

What sets us apart is what has defined us for over 4 decades. The awe-inspiring mountain vistas. Desert wildlife roaming our championship greens. The enduring friendships and cherished memories created over the years. For members and discerning visitors alike, the stage is set for the next 40 years.

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Honored and humbled

As we reflect on our journey, we are deeply honored and genuinely humbled by the recognition we’ve received. Here’s a look at some of the awards and accolades that mark our commitment to excellence:

View a more comprehensive list of our awards HERE

Four Diamond Award IconVentana Canyon Golf Advisor Award IconGolfweek's Best Award Icon