It had been a few years since we've been in the Benson, Arizona area and played at the San Pedro Golf Club and there's been a major change: the city of Benson has taken over the golf course. What that meant to Denny and I right off the bat is that we were no longer able to use our Golf Card International discount and pay $20 each to play eighteen holes with a riding cart. Instead I booked a tee time online and we played for $27.95 each (plus tax). If you plan to spend time in the area, the golf course has a special deal where you pay anywhere from $99 to $119 (depending on what special they are offering) for one year and that allows you one free round of golf right off the bat, a free round on your birthday and the ability to play a round of golf for $18.95 before 1 PM (the price is reduced after that.) Denny and I were paired up with a gentleman from Tucson who had taken advantage of the special and who drives the 40 miles every week to play golf here. It's a good deal.
Of course it's difficult to maintain a golf course in the high desert but the staff at San Pedro is doing a nice job. The fairways here are bermuda grass, dormant now and the tee boxes and greens are in decent shape for the amount of play they seem to get. We waited on every hole to play as there were several foursomes ahead of us but we still got off the golf course in four hours. One of the things that makes the round go quicker now is the fact that the golf carts here are equipped with GPS systems so it's easy to quickly choose the proper club for your next shot and keep the game moving.
There are five sets of tee boxes at San Pedro so you can make the golf course as long or as short as you like. From the black (longest) tees the yardage is 7313 yards with a rating/slope of 73.0/130. The Copper tees are 6852 yards, 70.4/125, the Whites 6298 yards, 68.4/117, the Jade tees are 5716 yards, 71.3/125 and the Silver tee yardage is 5262 with a rating/slope of 68.8/117.
The San Pedro River runs along the golf course but this time of year it is dry. There are two ponds on the golf course that come into play and a few ravines that will eat your golf ball if you're not careful. The sand traps are vile here in the high desert; not the fluffy white stuff of the Midwest but red dirt. Plain and simple dirt. Not fun. The greens aren't particularly tricky here although the speed can be hard to judge depending on when they have been watered and cut and how humid the weather is. On the front nine the three of us had a tendency to hit our balls short on the green while on the back nine we were all long. You aren't going to get into a lot of trouble here although there are more canyon walls on the back nine so you could end up hitting out of the rocks up there. That's fine in the winter when the rattlesnakes are still hibernating but I wouldn't recommend it once the weather starts warming up.
Your final challenge on the eighteenth hole is to hit it over the water (you have the choice of going around from the Jade tees) and then there's another small pond that fronts the green. It's a fun way to finish and then you can stop at the small restaurant for a drink and a sandwich afterwards to rehash your game.
This is a golf course we enjoy coming back to and the city is doing a nice job of keeping it up.