Ventana Canyon’s 40th: Programs with Purpose

Ventana Canyon Club and Lodge Values Family, Community and Wellness

By Tara Kirkpatrick

Throughout its 40 years, Ventana Canyon Club and Lodge has curated and customized its programs to meet the changing needs of its members.

As the award-winning club looks to the future, there’s an even grander goal: wellness.

“We want to help our members live more active lives and be healthier longer,” explained CEO and General Manager Kimberly Wood. “We think that’s very important. This is just such an active community, so we want to make sure that we’re offering to our members not just physical wellness, but also mental and spiritual wellness.” 

Since opening in 1984, Ventana’s programming has evolved over the decades to include not only golf, tennis, swimming and pickleball, but now, numerous family and youth activities, trivia and bingo nights, exclusive wine dinners, lecture series with local experts, book clubs, art shows, symphony concerts and more. Strategically, the programs are chosen with a focus on nature, culture and community.

Central to this mission has been Vice President and Clubhouse Manager Clayton Robideau, who has helped implement many successful programs during his tenure. “I’m super proud of     

being part of this team,” he said. “I think we’re one of the premier clubs in Tucson. I believe in the leadership. So, it’s exciting right now, because we’re being able to do a lot of fun things.”

Robideau relishes the creative and entrepreneurial edge of programming here. “Each year, do we just plug in everything we’ve always done? No, we figure out how do we take that baseline and continue to push the envelope forward and not become complacent.”

Moving forward, the plan is to offer even more programs central to wellness, seeking out community partnerships to do so. “There’s so much to tie into with this community,” said Wood.  

Some highlights of Ventana’s programs: 

All About Family

From the youngsters who practice and play in Ventana’s pools to the awesome squeal of children at the annual Meet Santa breakfast and Easter egg hunt, this is absolutely a club that values families. Over the past decade, Ventana has steadily grown its summer camp programs to accommodate more children able to enjoy a mix of golf, tennis, swimming and daily lunch.

Adding monthly trivia and bingo nights has provided more opportunity for families to bond over friendly competition. Weekly movie nights at the resort pool in the summer are also a huge draw.

Ventana even recently hired a full-time children’s program coordinator to organize and expand its offerings. “We really want to commit to this and we want to bring in that family demographic to the membership,” said Wood. “The vibrant energy of families, even our older members are drawn to it. They’re having a blast with their grandkids and leaving their legacy.”

Fostering the Next Golf Generation

Ventana Canyon Club and Lodge has its own PGA Jr. team, the Ventana Canyon Roadrunners. The group of 15 young golfers, ages 7-17, is led by assistant golf pro Justin Lindberg. The team practices weekly and competes against other junior teams across Tucson.

“It’s like a little traveling league,” said Bill Peters, Ventana’s director of golf. “It’s a good group of kids that are just getting invested into golf and it’s fun to see because that is our future.”

A Winning Wine Program

Beginning in 2007, a committee of passionate members has helped pioneer an outstanding wine program at the club. Working with Robideau, they’ve planned numerous dinners and pairings aimed at every price point, from regional Chardonnays to exclusive French Bordeaux. The club also has a retail license and can sell wines to its members.

“Our wine list has been awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 2012,” said Ernie Manuel, who chairs the wine committee. “We are the only country club in Southern Arizona to be on the list, and one of only four dining establishments in Southern Arizona to receive the award this past year.”

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