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January 2021

New Additions to the Mirabel Golf Club

By Scott Kauffman

Even in the rarefied air of America’s prestigious private clubs, Mirabel’s exclusive Scottsdale, Arizona, course had a debut in December 2001 like none other in recent memory. At least that is one way to describe the new Tom Fazio-designed course Discovery Land Company built for its members – immediately after taking over the property the prior year and blowing up a yet-to-be opened new course designed by Greg Norman.

When Discovery Land took over the golf project in late 2000 for the new property owners, real estate investment firm Terrabrook, Norman’s namesake design firm had just completed a new $15-million layout for the previous landowners. They envisioned it to be an upscale daily-fee “target course” with just 45 acres of turfgrass. However, before the first ball was teed up for what was then called Stonehaven, Discovery Land founder Mike Meldman said Norman’s course “wasn’t a good fit” for the type of private club community he would go on to master worldwide and decided to tear it up and spend another $15 million on the Fazio-inspired layout.
Nearly 20 years later, Mirabel is still blowing up and reimagining things to keep this club as relevant and appealing as ever for its discerning members. This time, though, the motivation behind the latest renovation work is about everything but the golf course – namely health and wellness and dining/social activities that Mirabel’s active membership desires.

The focus of Mirabel’s new $6-million construction project locally based Erik Peterson of PHX Architecture started last May is the renovation and expansion of the original Desert Lodge clubhouse and adjacent amenities that sit on a prime North Scottsdale peak at 3,000 feet. When fully completed before the end of January, the clubhouse will feature a new indoor and outdoor peninsula bar with full glass sliding walls that showcase picturesque daytime and nighttime “down-valley views of Phoenix-Scottsdale,” according to club general manager/chief operating officer Marcie Mills. Other notable enhancements are increased casual dining space, more outdoor patio dining room with additional fire pits, a private dining room and two new glass walled wine rooms. 

Meanwhile, another major addition for the member-owned club is a new fitness center that is double the size (4,800 square feet) with dedicated areas for stretching, additional free weight equipment, Pilates and other classes.  Locker rooms also are being updated as part of the plan, and additional space will be available for more salon and spa services. 

Outside, the tennis and racquet center grew as well with four new pickleball courts as that sport continues to gain in popularity among members and prospective members, according to sales and marketing director Nissa Sjoberg. Perhaps the genesis for Mirabel’s compelling new capital improvement projects was the success Mirabel had in 2014 by enclosing an existing patio for more casual dining and adding a new bar with cascading fire pits that overlooked the 18th green.

“Over and over again,” according to Sjoberg and Mills, members kept telling them how they would “love a new bar and then it grew into pickleball.” Eventually, there became a groundswell of interest for simply more health and wellness space and social activities – mostly from the club’s extremely active female membership.

“Our fitness center before was running 90 classes a month,” Mills points out. “We’re a membership of 325 persons and to have that high demand for fitness class, we just needed more space. We have a very engaged population here. And we really focus on women.
“As you know, women are the decision makers in the household, so we have a whole guide to ladies activities that we nurture and cultivate here at the club. It’s everything from painting and cooking classes to happy hours to spa and wellness retreats for women. We developed this whole program that really focuses on female engagement off the course.”
A golf course, to be sure, that certainly doesn’t need to be rebuilt any time soon.

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