ARIZONA BILTMORE GOLF CLUB WELCOMES NEW DIRECTOR OF GOLF
The Arizona Biltmore Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz. recently welcomed Leo Simonetta as the club’s new Director of Golf. Simonetta will oversee the 36-hole facility’s golf operations, agronomy, merchandising, sales and marketing. He will also play an integral role in managing current and upcoming renovations of the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club’s clubhouse and Adobe Golf Course.
A 35-year veteran of the golf and hospitality industries, Simonetta comes to the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club from The Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz. where he served as the Director of Golf Operations since 2010. While at The Wigwam, Simonetta oversaw extensive renovation projects of the property’s three 18-hole golf courses – Gold, Blue and Red. Prior to The Wigwam Resort, Simonetta worked for Hilton Hotels, leading the golf operations at various resort properties, including The Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix. Originally from Philadelphia, Penn., Simonetta has lived in the Valley for over 35 years. He is a graduate of the San Diego Golf Academy.
With Simonetta taking over as director of golf, legendary Arizona Biltmore Golf Club General Manager Dick Bates moves into a new role with club’s ownership group, JDM Golf, becoming Special Projects & Procurement Manager. Bates had served as the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club’s GM for 33-plus years, building relationships with members, neighbors and guests, while hosting U.S. Presidents and numerous celebrities. Prior to getting into the golf business 40-plus years ago, Bates played professional baseball, pitching for the Washington Senators and Seattle Pilots.
“We are thrilled to bring Leo’s unique skill-set and keen eye for detail to the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club,” said JDM Partners’ Director of Golf Assets and Marketing Cameron Kaplan. “His understanding of golf course construction as well as his commitment to delivering outstanding experiences for members and guests have been key to The Wigwam’s success. And while Leo has big shoes to fill in taking over for our long-standing GM Dick Bates, we are confident the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club will continue to thrive under Leo’s leadership. In addition, we are also very excited to have Dick Bates join our JDM Golf team in his new role.”
The Arizona Biltmore Golf Club is in the midst of a multi-phase renovation project aimed at improving the clubhouse facilities and its famed Adobe golf course. Phase one of the clubhouse renovation project began in April 2022 and includes a new golf shop and member facilities (located in one building) as well as underground cart storage. The new building is expected to be completed by February 2023. Phase two of the clubhouse renovation is scheduled to begin in March and will include a new clubhouse and restaurant, replacing the existing event tent and clubhouse, which includes The Adobe Restaurant. Phase two will also bring additional on-site parking and landscaping improvements.
The Adobe Course, a William Bell design that originally opened for play in 1929, will undergo an extensive renovation of its own in the summer of 2023. Led by the Lehman Design Group and Scottsdale resident Tom Lehman, the renovation project will infuse modern golf course design and water conservation technology. During the 2023 renovation, crews will install a new, more efficient irrigation system and plant new drought tolerant TifTuf Bermudagrass throughout the golf course. In addition, green complexes will be renovated, tee boxes will be leveled, and bunkers will be rebuilt incorporating a technically advanced drainage and liner system. Throughout the renovation, the general routing and par (71) of the golf course will remain the same and the Adobe’s famous parkland setting will be preserved.
The significant investment made by JDM Partners follows consultation with neighbors, community stakeholders, the City of Phoenix and industry experts. When the clubhouse project is completed by early 2024, the facilities are expected to complement the recent investments in the Arizona Biltmore Hotel and Wrigley Mansion, bringing the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club on par with these world-class facilities.
The Arizona Biltmore Golf Club is located in the shadow of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The 36-hole golf facility includes the Adobe Course and the Links Course. The Adobe’s lush fairways and spacious layout are a reminder of the way the game was meant to be played. The Links Course, the younger of the two Biltmore courses, has earned the respect of golfers as one of Arizona’s premier golf courses. Rolling fairways lined with pines meander through some of the most stunning homes in Phoenix. For nearly a century, the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club has been a destination for Phoenix residents, corporate leaders, celebrities and dignitaries.