By Roger Cox, Editor
The challenge for any tennis pro at the Pointe South Mountain Resort is that this is, first and foremost, another huge convention hotel, albeit one with 640 well-turned-out suites as accommodations. Drop by at a time when there are a 1,000 or more guests there for conferences, and you may feel both overwhelmed and lost. Whatever intimacy you feel will come from the tennis staff, who oversee a complex of five hard courts adjacent to a 38,000-square-foot Athletic Club.
Since I last visited, a new tennis director, Jim Ferguson, has undertaken this challenge. His difficult task is to take care of the needs of the convention hordes while at the same time running an solid program for local members and vacationers. To do so, he's put in place a weekly roster of clinics—some for adults, some for kids—preserved the "Smash and Dash" round robin, and intends to start a two-hour tennis school beginning January 1. I'd like to hear how well this is going, so if you vacation at South Mountain please report back and let all of us know how this is going.
The resort drapes across 220 acres, a short 10 minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Even the resort's own literature aptly describes the complex as a "sprawling village," comprised of 640 rooms, theme restaurants, and a bevy of recreational diversions.
Pro Shop: 602-431-6483
Tennis Staff. Jim Ferguson, a USPTA-certified pro, arrived at the Pointe South Mountain in the fall of 2004 from Sunriver, Oregon, where he ran the programs at the Sage Springs Club and Spa.
Courts & Fees. There are 5 well-maintained hard courts. Court fees: None.
Golf Courses. There are two 18-hole golf courses at South Mountain.
Phantom Horse Golf Club: Golf course designer Forrest Richardson laid out sloping fairways through the rolling desert hills adjoining the resort. It is characterized by elevated tees and target landing areas. It underwent some $1 million in improvements, in part to make it more forgiving by expanding the fairways and landing areas, for example, and irrigating the arroyos that wind through it. Some tees were also moved back to make it slightly longer. Par: 71. Length: 6,336 yards.
Raven Golf Club: Located a few miles west of the resort, this David Graham/Gary Parks course is longer than its sibling and evokes not the desert but the Midwest with more than 2,100 mature pine trees planted along its fairways. It ranks among the top 20 in the state. Par: 72. Length: 7,115 yards.
Fitness Center. The resort has an impressive 38,000-square-foot Phantom Horse Athletic Club, whose four floors contain an extensive array of exercise equipment (more than 60 machines), a variety of classes—including aerobics, water aerobics, yoga and tai chi—four indoor racquetball courts, indoor and outdoor whirlpools, on-site sports medicine physicians and nutritional counselors, an outdoor lap pool (adjacent to the tennis courts), beauty treatments and seven massage rooms.
And ... Among the other facilities are a 6-acre Oasis waterpark, horseback riding, and six swimming pools. The resort also has trail access into the 16,000-acre South Mountain Park.
The signature restaurant at the resort is Latitude 30°, which features California-Asian cuisine. The other options are the theme restaurants: Aunt Chilada's for Mexican fare in an orange grove; Rustler's Rooste, a mountaintop steakhouse and cowboy poetry; and the Phantom Horse Grill and Sports Bar for Southwestern fare.
If you like the Pointe South Mountain Resort's emphasis on individually tailored programs, also check out:
All the accommodations are suites.
Visit the website for current rates
Travel Instructions. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is roughly 7 miles from the resort.
General Tourist Information. Visit the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau website or contact them at One Arizona Center, 400 E. Van Buren St., Suite 600, Phoenix, AZ 85004; phone (602) 254-6500 or toll-free 877-CALL PHX.
©2016 Roger Cox
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©2016 Roger Cox