Building on 40 Years of Perfection
Writer Greg Granillo
With so many high-end, award-winning golf courses in the North Scottsdale area today, it’s hard to imagine a time when Pima Road wasn’t dotted with emerald-green fairways. But back in 1976, when Jerry Nelson developed Pinnacle Peak Country Club, it was the first private golf facility in North Scottsdale.
“Pinnacle Peak Country Club was the pioneer of golf on Pima Road,” says Doc Belitz, general manager at the club. “Many people don’t realize that from the inception of the club, it has been one of the most successful private clubs in the state of Arizona.”
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Pinnacle Peak Country Club continues to excel behind the club’s everlasting quiet demeanor, traditional golf experience and authentic country club environment.
One of the hallmarks of the club — and a testament to its longevity — is its emphasis on superior golf course conditions. This past summer, the club completed a $2 million greens renovation to ensure members continue to experience the excellent conditions they have come to expect.
“We’ve always been known for having excellent putting surfaces,” says Belitz, who has worked in the golf and country club industry since 1989, primarily in the North Scottsdale area.
Reconstruction of the greens began on June 1, under the guidance of golf course architect Rick Phelps, whose father, Dick Phelps, preceded him as the architect when the club completed a major golf course renovation in 1996.
“The contours of the greens my father produced were very playable and well received by the club, so the goal was not to change the contours and slopes,” Phelps says.
Using today’s GPS technology, Phelps, the construction company Landscapes Unlimited, and golf course superintendent Cody Horstman were able to rebuild the greens with almost no changes to contouring, while producing entirely new sub-soils with new and improved drainage.
“We really need to thank the members for their support of the project,” notes Belitz. “Not only did they raise the funds required to complete the project, but they also had to relinquish the use of the golf course for six months — a truly exceptional commitment to quality.”
In line with Pinnacle Peak Country Club’s focus on the game of golf, the recent renovations also included the creation of a sprawling, 14,000-square-foot practice green, as well as enhancements to the short game practice area.
Pinnacle Peak — one of Scottsdale’s best-known landmarks — stands under two miles away, providing a beautiful backdrop for some holes on the course, which boasts a walkable traditional design with tree-lined fairways.
Also part of Pinnacle Peak Country Club’s appeal is its vibrant social scene. Regardless of age, the club provides an abundance of opportunities to socialize.
“It has been nice to see so many members active in all the social activities of the club, even while the golf course was closed,” says Drew Darrow, the club’s new head golf professional, who recently joined the facility from the neighboring Country Club at DC Ranch.
Pinnacle Peak Country Club is limited to just 325 golfing members and 50 social members.