Readers of T&L GOLF, the acclaimed golf-travel publication of American Express Publishing Group, has announced results of its annual survey of resort-goers. The Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa, located west of Phoenix, Arizona, led the pack of all U.S. resorts with the most rankings Ñ eight in all Ñ in the highly competitive Southwest Region.The Wigwam received top rankings in four categories; “Best Golf Resort for Buddy Trips”, “Best Golf Resort for Families”, “Most Underrated Golf Resort” and “Most Underrated Resort Course”. The historic resort also received a second place award for “Best Resort Golf Course”. That award went to the flagship Gold Course, recently restored under the guidance of golf course architect Forrest Richardson.

“It was a labor of love,” notes Richardson. “We set out to capture the spirit of Mr. Jones [Robert Trent Jones, Sr.] and, from top to bottom, the entire resort followed suit.” Planning and design work at the Wigwam’s courses began in 2004 with an intensive construction schedule beginning in the Spring of 2005. In record time the famous Gold Course was completely renovated with trees, greens and bunkers carefully restored to the original Jones’ design.

Indeed, the Wigwam built a new Red Door Spa during the same timespan, upgraded its rooms, established a Jim McLean Golf School and even adopted a new resort logo. “It has been a complete transformation,” says Richardson. “The golf courses were the biggest piece of the puzzle Ñ not only in size, but in the complexity of the entire property.” Part of Richardson’s comments refer to the new practice range at The Wigwam.

Prior to the work on the golf courses there has been a lame practice tee that could accommodate just five or six resort guests. That is all changed. Now the resort features a dual-ended range that can hold 75 golfers, two separate short game areas, a 3-hole kids course (aptly named “The Little Wigwam Golf Links”), and a 20,000 s.f. putting course complete with a bar built in the base of a 40-ft. tall Tee-Pee. Making room for the improvements was no small feat.