The South golf course at The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Arizona rocks

CAREFREE, Ariz. -- The gallery on the South Course at The Boulders Resort & Spa isn't people or condos.

Giant boulders, some millions of years old, stand watch over your every move. They're the main reason that the South Course ranked 100th on Golf Magazine's "Top 100 You Can Play" in 2014. They make an already scenic setting in the Sonoran Desert even more spectacular.

Public play is alternated daily on the South and the North Courses, both designed by Jay Morrish. The South is narrower, winding through desert hazards, dangerous bunkers and at times, those massive rock formations.

Because of its higher elevation, Carefree tends to be 5 to 8 degrees cooler than the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Those cooler temperatures allow the course to groom pure bentgrass greens, a rarity in the Valley of the Sun.

Five-star reviews outnumber four-star reviews 3-to-1 at Golf Advisor. User u321494900 wrote: "It's evident the first time you step on the tee you are at a special place. This is simply in my top five (courses I've played) that includes Pebble Beach, Firestone, Ocean Course, Whistling Straits, and Prairie Dunes."

The Boulders Resort, famous for its adobe-style casitas, is finishing up a multimillion-dollar renovation, so it's wise to stay awhile.

Jan 26, 2016

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.