Original Designer: Jack Snyder
Camelback Golf Club, Ambiente course, at the historic JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. opened for play in November 2013. As a renowned AAA 5-Diamond Hotel, Camelback Inn felt that its Indian Bend course, one of two courses at the club, did not match the high quality of the rest of the resort. Jason Straka was our lead designer selected to execute a complete renovation of what would be renamed the Ambiente course. The name “Ambiente,” the Spanish word for “environment,” reflects the detailed ecologically-sensitive character of the new layout’s architectural plan.
The design challenges were varied and numerous. The out-and-back routing of the Indian Bend course, which followed the Indian Bend Wash, was so flat that it flooded easily and failed to drain well. Safety concerns and a lack of visual and strategic quality were problematic and needed correction. Greens and tees had to be enlarged, and many of the 210 acres of maintained turf and non-native trees, needed to be eliminated.
To address these concerns, the elevation of the main wash occupied by the course was lowered several feet, the fill utilized to raise the new golf holes – resulting in dramatic elevation changes on each new hole and much-improved drainage. Restoration of native habitat was a design priority, accomplished by replanting a mix of native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers, thus encouraging the return of native wildlife and adding visual interest. Ambiente now has just 90 acres of maintained turf. Required maintenance resources, including water, pesticides, fertilizer and fossil fuels, were reduced significantly. The result is that Ambiente, with a Northern desert look, blends distinctive aesthetic and environmental qualities for a memorable and satisfying playing experience.