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November 2020

Pinetop Country Club Historic Updates

By Scott Kauffman

When it comes to compelling private golf, the Phoenix-Scottsdale market offers an endless array of exclusive golf and country club developments scattered throughout the region’s stunning desert landscape. For those who desire more than just delightful desert settings, however, one unique aspect of Arizona golf is the plethora of private properties perched among the Grand Canyon State’s various grand mountain ranges.

One top-notch place about 190 miles northeast of Phoenix is Pinetop Country Club in the small town of Pinetop-Lakeside. For generations, people have been trekking to this year-round playground to cool off in the rarified air of the White Mountains, which sit at 7,400 feet of elevation next to the New Mexico border.

Perhaps best known for being voted a top cabin region in America and home to the nearby White Mountain Apache Tribe (much of the range resides within Fort Apache Indian Reservation), another longtime attraction is certainly Pinetop’s namesake private residential golf club that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015.

Apparently, the member-owned club isn’t finished celebrating because Pinetop’s 439 members recently announced the approval of a $3.75 million expansion to their dated clubhouse that opened in 1965 and served as the beloved hub to the club’s forest-lined Milt Coggins-designed course and other outdoor sports surrounded by the Sitgreaves National Forest. According to the club, members will see the majority of the construction project completed during the winter months, when the clubhouse is typically closed, and the project is targeted to be completed by next spring with it being fully operational during the summer season.

When the project is finished, members will have in effect a brand new modern state-of-the-art clubhouse to enjoy. Among the renovation highlights: state-of-the-art construction technology and efficiencies; dramatic new clubhouse entry and open-air spaces; new restaurant equipment and high-performance pizza kitchen; and a much-anticipated redesign of the dining and lounge venues befitting the trends sweeping through U.S. golf and country clubs from coast-to-coast.

Club officials note the updated historic clubhouse will stay true to its original rustic Alpine feel that used to draw the likes of then-Arizona Sen. Paul Fannin, who would frequent the club during his busy election year and visit his Pinetop home site.

Another major move by the members-owned club last August to help position the club for a more sustainable future was hiring Troon’s private club division, Troon Privè, to oversee the operations.

 “This is an historic decision to extend the life of the clubhouse and all that it means to the community and membership,” said general manager Joey Pickavance. “I wholeheartedly thank the board of directors, the members and all involved in this project for their foresight and selfless dedication to the future.”

Pinetop’s original investors and developers established the club as the cornerstone of the Pinetop Country Club land development project, and the property nestled among tall pines and aspens dates to the early 1900s. Local pioneers believe the grounds were last timbered in the early 1920s.

Throughout the area, one can still find portions of the railroad bed used for the logging operation. The water tank, located on the course behind the fifth green and the sixth tee box, was a former stock-watering tank for the cattle transported along the only access road through the area. The first nine holes were completed in 1965, and early property proved so successful the club’s developers opened a second nine two years later.

“As I look to the future, I realize it is our time to plan for the generations to come and provide for them the same opportunity to enjoy an atmosphere of fun and camaraderie and provide the best possible member experience”, Pinetop board president Andy Munter stated in a message to the membership. “After all the club has given to us and our families, this is now the right thing for us to do.” 

 

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