*photos by Dave Sansom

Camelback Golf Club, Ambiente course, at the historic JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. opened for play in November 2013. As a renowned AAA 5-Diamond Hotel, Camelback Inn felt that its Indian Bend course, one of two courses at the club, did not match the high quality of the rest of the resort. The club worked with Jason Straka to execute a complete renovation of what would be renamed the Ambiente course. The name “Ambiente,” the Spanish word for “environment,” reflects the detailed ecologically-sensitive character of the new layout’s architectural plan.

The design challenges were varied and numerous. The out-and-back routing of the Indian Bend course, which followed the Indian Bend Wash, was so flat that it flooded easily and failed to drain well. Safety concerns and a lack of visual and strategic quality were problematic and needed correction. Greens and tees had to be enlarged, and many of the 210 acres of maintained turf and non-native trees, needed to be eliminated.

To address these concerns, the elevation of the main wash occupied by the course was lowered several feet, the fill utilized to raise the new golf holes – resulting in dramatic elevation changes on each new hole and much-improved drainage. Restoration of native habitat was a design priority, accomplished by replanting a mix of native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers, thus encouraging the return of native wildlife and adding visual interest. Ambiente now has just 90 acres of maintained turf. Required maintenance resources, including water, pesticides, fertilizer and fossil fuels, were reduced significantly. The result is that Ambiente, with a Northern desert look, blends distinctive aesthetic and environmental qualities for a memorable and satisfying playing experience.

Breathtaking, Challenging & Sustainable: A Closer Look at Ambiente

*Fry/Straka member designed under Hurdzan/Fry


Golf Digest:
Best New Courses of 2013

Golf Magazine:
Best Trips
Best Public Courses in State (#20)

Golf Inc.:
Renovation of the Year (Public) 2014 (#1)

Best in State (Public) (#24)
Best Resort Courses

American Society of Golf Course Architects: ASGCA Design Excellence Recognition Program (2013)

Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary

*Awards include highest ranking throughout course history.

News and Information

Play A Round
  • City Lifestyle: Phoenix

The eco-friendly golf course designed to be both beautiful and sustainable.

Two Jason Straka-Designed Golf Courses Win Golf Inc. 2014 Renovation of the Year Awards

Two Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design principal designed courses have won an award in Golf Inc.’s 2014 Renovation of the Year Competition, a contest which annually seeks to recognize the best renovation projects of the past year from around the world.

Jason Straka, of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, Completes Design of Ambiente Golf Course at JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

Jason Straka of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design has completed the design of Ambiente golf course at Camelback Golf Club at the historic JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. The course, which will open for play in November, is the first new golf-course development project in the Phoenix-Scottsdale and Paradise Valley areas in over five years.