SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., November 19, 2013 – The JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa today unveiled its long anticipated Ambiente golf course at Camelback Golf Club. Spanish for the word “environment,” Ambiente, which is designed with a detailed eco-friendly focus, is the first new golf course development project in the Phoenix-Scottsdale and Paradise Valley areas in over five years, and one of a select group of new courses to be built nationwide.
The completion of the $10 million Ambiente golf course culminates a seven-year, $70 million Marriott renewal project at Camelback Inn, designed to blend reverence for the past with relevance for the future. From preserving the resort’s 1930s adobe brick to the stylish renovation of the Inn’s 453 casita-style guestrooms, and from a new 20,000 square-foot, hi-tech grand ballroom to the debut of BLT Steak, Laurent Tourondel’s modern American steakhouse, the renewal project involved virtually every aspect of the historic resort. Today the new-look 125-acre Camelback Inn, set on its Sonoran Desert surroundings in Paradise Valley, strikes the perfect balance between showcasing the best of the resort’s storied past, while setting a visionary course for the future.
“We are very proud to unveil Ambiente and add it to the vast array of recreation amenities available to our guests at Camelback Inn, while providing an amazing new course for both local golfers and golfing travelers visiting the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley region,” said Jim Rose, General Manager, JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. “For Camelback Inn, this is more than just a new golf course, as it represents the final phase in Marriott’s unmatched commitment to reinvigorate this acclaimed resort for the future, while preserving its history and the unique Southwestern style that has made it a favorite for generations of travelers.”
Adding to the lore of Camelback, Ambiente is already gaining golf industry-wide acclaim for its distinct design, the challenging, yet enjoyable, experience it presents to golfers of all levels and the overall aesthetic and environmental qualities it brings to the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. In fact, Ambiente, which was designed by notable golf architect Jason Straka on behalf of Hurdzan/Fry Environmental Golf Design, has already been recognized by the American Society of Golf Course Architects in its 2013 Design Excellence Recognition Program. Ambiente is one of 12 courses to be honored for addressing unique design challenges that lead to improved social, economic and environmental benefits.
The launch of Ambiente, in concert with the popular Padre golf course, now establishes a one-of-a-kind 36-hole Southwest golf destination, for both leisure and group golfers, within the enchanting resort atmosphere of the Camelback Inn. The new course, which replaces the Indian Bend golf course at Camelback Golf Club, creates a uniquely different golf experience than the Padre course, which is regarded as a great parkland style golf course that, while scenic, boasts numerous water hazards, towering Pine and Eucalyptus trees and 18 golf holes that will test every golfer’s ability. In contrast, Ambiente presents a distinct challenge where accuracy and a good strategy command the day, as every hole will force even the best players to focus on each and every shot.
Ambiente, a course where golfers will find the eye-catching elevation changes, as well as rolling fairways with significant drops throughout the course, among its most striking features, offers a par-72 layout that measures 7,225 yards from the back tees and 5,538 yards from the forward tees. Additionally, the course features five sets of tee boxes, designed to positively impact the golf industry’s “grow the game” effort, by providing varying distances for golfers of all handicap levels. In fact, the forward tees have no forced carries and offer easier approach angles, which create opportunities for aspiring golfers to enjoy regardless of their playing ability.
One of the most golfer-friendly features of Ambiente is the creatively shaped greens. The overall green acreage, which stands at about 122,000 square feet, offers great movement, character and feel. Visually intimidating, the putting surfaces are very fair, but will challenge golfers to bring their best putting stroke every time out.
Adds Rose, “While Ambiente is sure to distract golfers with its natural beauty and breathtaking views of Mummy Mountain, Camelback, the McDowells and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, our golfing guests will find a friendly test of skill and shotmaking that will redefine the golf experience at a resort long known for its exceptional service, palette pleasing food, luxurious accommodations and spirit of adventure.”
Environment is a significant part of the Ambiente golf course story, which centers on water conservation, wildlife habitat creation and an overall 50 percent decrease in pesticide/fertilizer and fossil fuel use, as compared to the former Indian Bend golf course. The layout of the course is highlighted by 100 acres of new native desert and grass areas that features a mix of acacias, jojobas and sagebrush among many other desert shrubs and grasses, as well as an eye-catching collection of both summer and winter desert wildflower mixes.
These native areas, which will require one-third less water than Indian Bend, are complemented by 85 acres of hybrid turf grass that also requires significantly less water, while reducing the daily labor and machinery intensive maintenance of traditional Bermuda grass. Overall, the combined native areas give the course a more Northern desert look compared to the area’s traditional Sonoran Desert layouts, making it a must-play Southwestern layout in Paradise Valley.
From an Audubon standpoint, Ambiente is designed to cater to wildlife, which is part of Marriott’s overall role as a steward of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program. By removing over 100 acres of turf grass and replacing it with native desert and grass areas, bird inventory, as well as the local mammal population, will increase substantially.
Adds Rose, “Environmental consciousness has long been a hallmark at Marriott, and we believe that Ambiente is a perfect example of the company’s commitment to protecting wildlife and natural resources, while continually serving as a leader in eco-friendly business practices. Upon completion, we expect golfers in the community will find that Ambiente stands alongside the premier golf landscapes in the Phoenix-Scottsdale market, while we expect the course to redefine the destination golf experience for group and leisure customers visiting the Camelback Inn.”