The Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz. and its three 18-hole championship golf courses – The Gold, The Blue and The Red – have been named to the prestigious Top 25 Historic Hotels of America’s Most Historic Golf Courses list for 2022.
The golf courses named to the 2022 Top 25 Historic Golf Courses list are a collection of the most beautiful, prestigious, and iconic golf courses where many champions have learned to play golf, competed, and made history.
The Wigwam’s golf tradition began in 1930 when Scottish gardener Jacques Phillip designed and dug the resort’s original 9-hole golf course. The resort had opened a year earlier and was first operated by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which had created the complex as a vacation destination for its high-ranking executives. Phillip knew that Goodyear executives enjoyed the game, so he used his tractor to build them a golf course. The tee boxes, fairways, and greens were all made of sand with thick oil on the greens to keep the sand from blowing away.
It wasn’t until the early 1940s, under the direction of the club’s then head professional Vernon Oren “Red” Allen, that the course was expanded to 18 holes, grass was planted, and large trees were added to provide shade. The Wigwam remained an 18-hole golf course until the early 1960s, when Allen convinced Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to design and build the Gold and Blue Courses. The Gold and Blue Courses opened for play in 1965, while The Wigwam’s Red Course, named after Allen, was added in 1974, completing the 54-hole golf facility guests enjoy today.
The first foursome to play the 18-hole course in the early 1940s included professional golfers Jimmy Thomson, Horton Smith, Lawson Little, and the club’s head golf professional at the time, “Red” Allen. Little won the U.S. Open in 1940 and Smith won the first Masters tournament in 1934 (and again in 1936). Other notable players that The Wigwam has hosted over the years include actor Clint Eastwood and PGA TOUR stars Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Bryson DeChambeau.
Phillip’s 9-hole course was located where the first hole of the Blue Course, the practice range and practice green, and 18th hole of the Gold Course, are all currently located.
Historic Hotels of America annually recognizes the Top 25 Most Historic Golf Courses. 2022 marks the second straight year The Wigwam has been honored on the Historic Golf Courses list. The Wigwam is the only Phoenix-area golf resort to be honored and is one of only two Arizona golf facilities to make the prestigious list.