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By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | February 4, 2021

The Wigwam has been a longtime “buddy trip,” says Leo Simonetta, the resort’s director of golf.

Like each season, the Litchfield Park destination offers upgrades to the golf experience with helicopters, poker night and golf lessons.

“The key selling point is you can come on the property and never have to leave,” Simonetta says.

“We have three totally different golf courses. We have a great sales and marketing team who ask, ‘How do I take these golf packages to another level?’”

Simonetta attributes the upgrades’ success to J. Green, The Wigwam’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“Elevate Your Golf Game” is a package that includes playing The Wigwam and then hopping on a helicopter tour, courtesy H5 Helicopters in the Scottsdale Airpark, over to another course to round out the day.

Golfers who don’t quite have the handicap they desire can improve their golf game with the on-site Warren Schutte Players Academy. Private group lessons are available through the “Fine Tune Your Golf Game” package.

The “Private Experiences for Golf Buddies” is the ultimate experience. Guests can choose from a “Putts and Poker” package; a “Swings & Swigs” experience, with whiskey, wine or beer tasting curated by The Wigwam’s executive chef; and/or a “Par Pairings” ultimate private dining experience at Litchfield’s.

“We wanted to know what we can do for players after their round that would be a different experience than coming off the golf course and having a few beers, which is never a bad thing,” Simonetta says with a laugh. “The fun part of my job is working with someone like J. The ideas really start flowing as we talk.”

The Wigwam’s three 18-hole championship golf courses — The Gold, Blue and Red — offer a unique diversity. The Gold and Blue were designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., while “Red” Allen helmed the Red course.

“We have some great courses around here,” Simonetta says. “We’re parkland style or traditional. Desert golf is close, though — 20 minutes away. We send business there all the time.”

Simonetta is expecting a busy golf season, mostly because people are anxious to get out of the house after quarantining. The Wigwam Resort schedules a fair number of events, including the Patriot All America Golf Tournament and the Canadian tour qualifier.

“The Patriot All America is our most well-known event,” Simonetta says. “We had a COVID-friendly event in December. There weren’t any real spectators involved. It was the 10th anniversary.

“It’s going really strong. There are a lot of good players who end up being on tour. When we see them, they’re sophomores and juniors in college. They don’t have a whole lot of name recognition. We know they’re good college players. The Canadian tour qualifier is at the end of April. We do have them on tap again.”

Simonetta admits he was nervous the first time the Canadian tour came to The Wigwam.

“We’re very fortunate. Our golf course is in really good shape,” Simonetta says. “The PGA comes in to do a scouting trip before the Canadian tour, which is a PGA-sponsored event.

“They came in and said, ‘Don’t change the golf course at all. It’s perfect.’ That was so nice to hear. They asked if we were interested in doing anything long term. We have them for the next few years as well. It’s been a real learning experience for us. It’s a lot of fun to have them put their trust in us.”

In some regard, The Wigwam is a well-kept secret in town, as other municipalities in the Valley are considered golf cities.

“We’ve been known as your in-town, out-of-town getaway,” he says. “We’re in the West Valley, and a lot of golf courses are in the East Valley. We have great staycation packages. Once we get people to the facility and they see what we have to offer, we get a lot of repeat business.

“That’s based on feedback we get from our guests. When they’re here for the first time, they want to come back again. It’s a tranquil escape to sit there on the patio and listen to the birds.”

The Wigwam Resort

300 E. Wigwam Boulevard, Litchfield Park