Industry News

Desert Highlands names Curtis Tyrrell director of agronomy

Former director of golf course operations at Medinah replaces the retiring Phil Shoemaker

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – Desert Highlands – the acclaimed luxury golf club and community in the stunning Sonoran Desert of North Scottsdale – welcomes Curtis Tyrrell, CSGS, MG as its new director of agronomy.

Tyrrell comes to Desert Highlands from Bonita Bay in Florida, where he was the director of golf course operations. Previously, Tyrrell was the director of golf course operations at the famed Medinah Country Club in Illinois, which hosted major tournaments during his tenure including the 39th Ryder Cup Matches.

Boasting more than 25 years of experience, Tyrrell was also the director of agronomy at the Lake Of Isles in Connecticut and the golf course superintendent at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale. He also has worked at golf clubs in Nevada, California, Colorado and Maryland. Among his many accolades, Tyrrell is one of 25 golf course superintendents in the world to hold both Certified Golf Course Superintendent and Master Greenskeeper designations.

“We are thrilled to add Curtis to the Desert Highlands team,” says Monty Becton, general manager. “During our search, it became overwhelming evident he would be a great fit with our culture. Plus, his extensive knowledge of playability and conditioning requisites at an award-winning golf course makes him an ideal asset to our organization.”

Tyrrell replaces the retiring Phil Shoemaker, who first arrived at Desert Highlands in 1982 to assist with the construction of the first Jack Nicklaus signature championship desert golf course. A former caddie and crew member on the golf course maintenance team at Muirfield Village, Shoemaker also honed his craft at Desert Mountain and was involved with construction and grow-in of its Cochise, Renegade and Geronimo courses. Shoemaker also worked at The Loxahatchee Club in Florida and TPC Scottsdale, before returning to Desert Highlands in 1999.

“If there was ever anyone who you could say built their legacy in a business from the ground up, it is Phil Shoemaker,” Nicklaus says. “Phil put his thumbprint on just about every aspect of golf course development and maintenance, and we are fortunate to say that most of it played out on a Nicklaus course. Many people will tell you that Desert Highlands changed everything in golf in the Scottsdale market – from a design and playing style to maintenance – and Phil was a big part of that. It’s amazing to see these kids who have come along and worked at Nicklaus courses, and here they are retiring before I do”

“Phil has been an integral part of the Desert Highlands family and we will miss him dearly,” Becton adds. “We wish him nothing but the best during his retirement and this exciting next stage of his life.”

Stretching to over 7,100 yards, the Desert Highlands golf course recently re-opened after a $7 million renovation project that included refurbishing every bunker, restoring the 13th hole to its original design, installing a new irrigation system and updating cart paths.

The splendid golf course offers a challenging, but fair test, and striking views of Pinnacle Peak and the lights of the Valley spread across the horizon in the distance below. Desert Highlands was the first design in Arizona by Jack Nicklaus, and immediately set the bar for desert golf experiences, not only in Scottsdale but statewide and nationwide. Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson have walked these fairways, as Desert Highlands was host site of the first Skins Game in 1983.

Desert Highlands’ energetic lifestyle consistently draws discerning families and active Boomers in equal measure – golfers, tennis enthusiasts, pet lovers, and health and wellness enthusiasts. A full social calendar allows residents to also fully enjoy this peaceful community.

Just as impressive is Desert Highlands’ Racquet Club, which sports 13 tennis courts featuring all three Grand Slam surfaces – grass, clay and hard. The Racquet Club also annually hosts one of the premier tennis tournaments found anywhere – the USTA Southwest Grass Court Classic. Noted ATP player Nick Kyrgios considers Desert Highlands’ grass courts “better than Wimby [Wimbledon].”

Desert Highlands also boasts a 7,700-square-foot Wellness Center, an 18-hole professionally designed putting course and a spacious dog park. Inside its cozy confines, the club provides residents peace of mind with a state-of-the-art security system, professionally trained security personnel, visitor control and access, and other protection amenities. Among the acclaimed residential services that truly pamper residents and meet their specific needs – shipping and transportation assistance, pool and spa maintenance, auto detailing and other customized services.

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About Desert Highlands
Scottsdale's premier private community and club, Desert Highlands melds Sonoran Desert luxury with world-class golf, tennis, dining and residential services. Located just 30 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Desert Highlands is easily accessible for second and vacation home owners. It is only minutes away from famed Old Town Scottsdale and its myriad shops, restaurants and art galleries. Homes (all resale) range from $1 million to over $6 million, and feature architecturally adapted styles and systems for life in America's most vibrant desert. A residential remodel program offers investors the opportunity to have the membership fee waived during the period in which they are restoring / upgrading their investment property. Currently, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course is undergoing an extensive renovation, which includes updates by Nicklaus Design. The storied layout hosted the first two Skins Games back in 1983-84.

Robert Rodriguez