Check out Arizona’s first new public golf course in five years

sterling grove

New course designs are a rarity these days. But Arizona just got one in Sterling Grove.

Patrick Koenig

From the city of Surprise, Ariz., comes word of something pleasantly unexpected: the first new golf course to open to public play in Arizona since 2016.

Set in the shadow of the White Tank Mountains, roughly 40 miles northwest of Scottsdale, Sterling Grove Golf & Country Club will start welcoming limited preview play on Feb. 11, giving golfers a sneak-peek of the pristine 18-hole layout.

“In Europe and Asia, we get to do a fair number of new builds,” said Chris Cochran, senior design associate at Nicklaus Design, who headed up the project (Nicklaus Companies and are affiliates of 8AM Golf.) “But in this country, it’s not often that you get a raw piece of land to work with, so that made this one a lot of fun.”

sterling grove
The course sits against a backdrop of the White Tank Mountains. Patrick Koenig

Working on what was a flat swatch of farmland, Cochran and his colleagues crafted an engaging modern course, graced with classic elements, including nods to Golden Age templates such as the punchbowl and the Biarritz. 

“I think we have a collection of very interesting holes and a routing that shifts nicely in complexion,” Cochran said. “There’s a nice story going throughout the property.”

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Built in collaboration with the real estate developer, Toll Brothers, the Troon Managed Course will eventually become the centerpiece of an exclusive private club, accessible only to members and their guests. It will anchor a luxury lifestyle community featuring trails, parks, community gardens and other amenities. 

At the club itself, pickleball, tennis and bocce courts are scheduled to open in phases throughout the summer and fall, along with locker rooms, a fitness studio and a full-service restaurant, Copper & Rye. 

sterling grove
Limited preview play will begin at Sterling Grove on Feb. 11. Patrick Koenig

While the clubhouse and other on-course amenities are being completed, a food truck will operate on site, serving snacks, sandwiches and other items along with non-alcoholic beverages. The club expects to have its liquor license by March.

Green fees during preview play will be $89 per person, with reservations accepted up to 30 days in advance. For regular rates, click here.

Josh Sens Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.