Golf in Wickenburg, Arizona

Pick of the month: Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona. Located an hour's drive northwest of Phoenix, this family owned dude-ranch-turned-golf-resort once attracted the likes of Cary Grant, Hopalong Cassidy, and others seeking the rustic charm of ranch life. Today, self-guided nature walks, sunset hayrides, campfire cookouts, and horseback tours are but a few of the activities available on a 20,000-acre swath of desert edged only by endless horizon.

And then there's the golf. Los Caballeros Golf Club , one of Arizona's best-kept secrets, is an outstanding target-style stunner completed in 1982 by Greg Nash and Jeff Hardin. The hilly back nine of this 6,962-yard layout, highlighted by the roller-coaster par-5 13th, offers dramatic views of Vulture Peak and the Bradshaw Mountains. The course, which welcomes walkers, is well groomed and lightly trafficked.

Unique among domestic golf retreats, only at Rancho de los Caballeros will a wrangler in full cowboy regalia circle the dining room each evening to round up a posse of riders for the following day. You can also saddle up for one of the guest rodeos (called "dudeos" by the ranch staff) to show off your newfound cowboy skills.

Spring, when the desert is in full bloom, is the best time to visit this GOLF MAGAZINE Silver Medal resort for a trip back to the Old West. Keep in mind, because of the 2,300-foot elevation and prevailing winds, temperatures are cooler here than in Phoenix.

Looking for a great end-of-season deal? From April 24 through May 10, a special weekday rate of $276 per night for two includes breakfast, dinner, and a choice of unlimited golf or a horseback ride. Two-night minimum stay. No credit cards. Reservations: 800-684-5030; www.sunc.com.

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