By Scott Gaertner
Lifestyle Contributor

It seems like it was just a few years ago when I was one of the fortunate few to walk with Jack Nicklaus as he played the Renegade golf course for the first time back in 1987. Now 32 years later, the course I’ve always felt to be the best of the bunch in Desert Mountain is being completely redone.

The “up close” opportunity to watch Nicklaus play in this intimate setting was really a sales event for Lyle Anderson. Lyle’s company had recently built the very successful Desert Highlands, which was an 800-acre community with one golf course that had set a new standard of excellence in lifestyle for Scottsdale North. This Jack Nicklaus affair I attended was introducing Lyle’s next project that was to have three golf courses and a community spread over 8,000 acres – Desert Mountain.

The event, the property, and Jack Nicklaus were all incredibly impressive that day and the inducements to buy a homesite were powerful. As a sales incentive, the developer was including a charter membership program that included two golf memberships with each lot purchase, and no dues until the year 2000! But even with an offer that strong, it was still a monumental leap of faith to spend over $100,000 on a homesite located in the middle of nowhere, based on the hopes of a project that was several levels of magnitude beyond anyone’s experience at the time. Now jump back to future, and here is Desert Mountain building its seventh golf course, and completely recreating their first best course!

The $13 million-dollar Renegade renovation started May 1st and should be completed and playable by first week of March 2019. Jack Nicklaus is doing a re-design of the entire course and says that it will “allow for more playing ability, and more fun for all skilled levels.” (The world’s most versatile course is getting more versatile!?) Beyond making the course more playable for everyone, one of the largest changes they are making is changing from Bermuda to Bent Grass which will extend the playing season. This change will enable them to avoid overseeding with winter grass and save a half million gallons of water per acre. Desert Mountain also intends to install cool season turf on two of its other courses, the new No. 7 that I wrote about in September, and eventually Chihuahua. They are able to use this turf because of their cooler climate at this higher elevation.

I have always said that Desert Mountain is to golfers what Disneyland is to kids, and as far I can tell it is only getting better.

Scott Gaertner is an Associate Broker with Keller Williams Northeast, who for the past 25+ years has helped more people to find their lifestyle niche in the Scottsdale North area than anyone else. He also contributes his thoughts on lifestyle interests in the area. If  you have something of interest in your community please contact us at [email protected]