by Michael Cunningham
Riding by horseback in the 1880’s from Tucson to the Mexican border site of Tubac, Arizona was a two-day journey. Ancient mountain ranges, multi-limbed 40-foot Saguaro cacti miraculously staking their rightful place on the dry desert floor, endless reminders of the severity of the journey.
Chiricahua Apache Indians, under the leadership of Cochise and Geronimo, were orchestrating relentless raids on early colonizers. In the 1880’s, southern Arizona was truly the ‘wild west’ a land of adversity and conflict a time of desperados and law enforcers.
‘Tin Stars’ the likes of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Pat Garrett were “faithfully” serving out justice while improving the employment opportunities for morticians throughout the state.
How is it that within the generation of these mainstays of notoriety that a golf course would be developed. But in 1899, the prestigious Phoenix Golf and Country Club was constructed [the course’s permanent site was established in 1920]? With desert sand as fairways and oil to “level” the putting surface the dawn of golf in Arizona had commenced.