By Shay Moser
Photos by Kimberly Carrillo
Briarwood Country Club in Sun City West has been a familiar place for golf since 1981. Construction on its clubhouse began in 1983 and opened for business in 1985. Through social events, dining, and golf, the club’s members forged enduring friendships and oversaw renovations and upkeep of the property as part owners for the past 40 years.
Then, in March 2023, the Briarwood board of directors welcomed Troon golf management company to learn from its industry knowledge and lead its day-to-day operations. With Troon’s leading golf course management expertise and Briarwood’s mission to create a fun community for members with a unique golf and social experience, the two plan to propel the club in a new direction.
“Together, we’re working on a master plan for where we’re going to take the club in the next five years,” says Briarwood General Manager Phillip Stika, who has 40 years of experience in the recreational resort industry.
“We are committed to growing and revitalizing the club for the future, which includes exploring capital improvements to the clubhouse and the prospect of building pickleball courts,” Stika continues. “The membership decided that this is not something they can do on their own; they want to make sure that whatever we do, we do it right, and so they wanted to bring in professional management.”
As the fastest-growing sport and with a need for pickleball courts in the Sun City West area, Stika says they want to get the paddle game up and running at Briarwood as soon as possible, especially to attract younger members.
For the first time, Stika says, “We’re removing all age restrictions in the club. Residents outside of Sun City who live within a mile or so of Briarwood have joined the club, and younger families are becoming more prevalent, too.”
Andy Malone, a Briarwood member since 2019, says, “What I like best about this club is its eclectic group. We’ve got retired UPS drivers, surgeons, attorneys, postal workers. It’s a club for all walks of life.”
Benefits of Briarwood
When West Valley residents join Briarwood Country Club, a club ambassador greets and walks them through the advantages of membership. This includes the Greg Nash-designed par-72 golf course with tees ranging from 4,533 to 6,600 yards and the world-class golf shop with lessons, club fittings, and re-gripping of clubs. Plus, there’s a wide range of golfing groups to accommodate all playing abilities. There’s also a meticulously groomed practice facility with a driving range, putting green, and an additional chipping/putting area. Briarwood’s private golf experience gives members more access to scheduling tee times up to seven days in advance and under four hours per round.
“When friends visit, we play at several Valley golf courses,” says Malone. “But Briarwood is our favorite, and it’s not near what we’re paying for those others. Even though it’s a shorter course than what they are used to, some of our younger members who play professional golf have joined because they claim it forces them to consider every shot.”
While Briarwood Country Club offers members unlimited access to the golf course and its amenities, members say camaraderie is the intangible benefit that drew them to the club.
“BCC is like a family,” says Gloria Joyner, a member since 1994 when she and her husband bought a casita in the neighborhood to visit from Tacoma, Washington, during the winter. When her husband passed away in 1997, Joyner relocated to a home on the 13th hole in Sun City West the same year.
“There are so many things to do here that it’s hard to find time to enjoy them all,” she says. “Let me count the ways: Ladies’ Bridge, Mah Jongg, swimming, dancing, fellowship, the Briarwood Travel Club, and, of course, our challenging golf course. We are fortunate to have a wonderful, friendly staff and outstanding gourmet meals.”
Briarwood’s Membership and Marketing Director Michele Malo says, “Originally, we didn’t have a travel club. Now we do because so many members want to travel.”
Briarwood offers a variety of women’s, men’s, and couples’ card games and a year-round heated pool. The poolside food and beverage service provides a resort atmosphere, while lockers and showers are available for members’ convenience. The social calendar includes concerts, Cork-to-Fork (an elevated wine pairing experience), holiday events, upscale beer and spirits tastings, Sunday brunch, various clubs, new member mixers, and more.
“We watch football games to celebrate New Year’s Eve,” says Malone. “My sister would have a party, but she’s like, ‘You know, the club has a party, and we should support the club.”
Members can enjoy the Cactus Bar and Grill menu and views from inside or on the outdoor patio around fire pits. The club offers Sunday brunch, dinner, and live music on Friday nights. A 6,200-square-foot event venue, it can accommodate up to 400 guests for events. The club is also conveniently located near Surprise, Peoria, and Goodyear, with no community or HOA restrictions.
Visit briarwoodcc.com, call 623-584-5600, or email [email protected] to learn more about joining the Briarwood Country Club community.
Don’t let “country club” fool you; as Malone says, “It’s the country club for noncountry clubbers.”
This content is sponsored by Briarwood.