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GOLFERS do not, in general, need too much encouragement to seek excuses for an errant shot: a sudden change in the wind's direction, a yell from a player on an adjoining fairway, the jangling of car keys and loose change by a sly opponent.
All will have been used at some stage by the majority of golfers to explain incidences of failure.
But if an opponent claimed he or she was taking a free drop because a coyote had run off with their ball you might suspect they had spent too long out in the sun.
And you might be right, although sunstroke would not be the reason for their claim at The Boulders, a Waldorf Astoria resort in Carefree, just outside Scottsdale in Arizona, but provision within the local rules on the North and South courses which accounts for canine kleptomania.
On my previous golfing trip to Arizona I had seen signs warning of the possibility of rattlesnakes on the course; now I was being told prairie-
The resort is celebrating its 25 th anniversary and the accolades gleaned during its quarter-
Many other awards have come its way but listing them would not convey the breathtaking beauty of The Boulders, which could scarcely have any other appellation given the stunning array of 12-
The 'gallery' has as its backdrop the ubiquitous and iconic saguaro cactus, its giant arms seemingly held up in surrender, albeit to no avail at some points on the course – many have golf balls embedded deep in them as a result of misdirected shots.
The courses are testing but an imaginative and intelligent use of a variety of tees ensures that players at the middle and higher end of the handicap scale can respect but not fear the challenge set before them.
And whatever your handicap, each hole is a visual inspiration and while not qualified to offer any golfing advice I would counsel anyone lucky enough to play here to take time out between shots to admire the Arizona panorama.
The feeling of calm and tranquillity attracts a high number of celebrities to The Boulders where they are content in the knowledge that they can enjoy virtual anonymity while being treated with the same degree of attention afforded all its residents.
Accommodation includes 60 villas and 160 casitas – or little houses – which are grouped in village-
El Pedregal is just a golf cart's drive away while closer to hand are Latilla and Palo Verde, the former offering comfortable and elegant night-
A variety of massages, therapeutic baths, and refreshing treatments are offered plus steam rooms, saunas, and the O'furo, a traditional Japanese bath. A movement studio provides pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi classes, for all levels and the Waldorf Astoria Spa is a haven for both the non-
Four swimming pools also provide venues for relaxing before and after any of the many activities on offer, and a fitness centre means being thousands of miles away from your local gym is no excuse for not maintaining your daily personal health regime.
The casitas offer a spacious bathroom and shower plus a sumptuous living area although given the climate it is likely most time will be spent on the patio admiring the Sonoran Desert scenery and passing wildlife including numerous birds, rabbits, and the javelina pig.
A neighbour's casita was paid an early-
But it is the golf which is likely to appeal most to you, the reader, and the North and South courses provide a myriad of challenges.
The older of the two is the 6,811-
The environment here is shared with bobcats, rabbits, javelina and the aforementioned coyotes, any of which may be encountered during the search for a wayward shot.
Should you visit the resort's golfing academy beforehand and receive tuition from Yorkshire-
Just as The Boulders is an apt name for the resort so, too, is Carefree the most suitable of names for its location.
Top quality golf in the most relaxing surroundings imaginable.
The Boulders, Arizona
Published: December 10, 2010
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