Visitors tee off at the border

Francine Nantais, a yearly visitor from British Columbia with her  2 rescue dogs. They visit Naco to escape the Canadian winter.(Photo by: Linda B. Padilla/Arizona Sonora News)
Francine Nantais, a yearly visitor from British Columbia with her 2 rescue dogs. They visit Naco to escape the Canadian winter.(Photo by: Linda B. Padilla/Arizona Sonora News)

A fence separates Naco, Arizona, from Naco, Sonora, but wedged in the Turquoise Valley is the reason many people visit this part of the world.

The valley is home to the state’s longest continually operating golf course with a challenging 15th hole that draws visitors year round.

Most Naco residents commute to nearby cities such as Bisbee and Sierra Vista for work but unlike most, Joseph Moreno, drives from Bisbee to Naco. 

For the past three years, he has been coming to Naco to work at Turquoise Valley Golf and R.V.’s Pro Shop.

Moreno works the front desk, he provides assistance to those staying at the RV Park and those who are in town just to play golf.

He works closely with long-time employee Pete Campbell, who has seen an increase in tourisms since the course added the 15th hole, a Par 6 (longer than 690 yards for men). 

“Those looking for golf, the golf course is enough for those looking for more, the history of Naco is enough.” said Campbell. 

Turquoise Valley has been providing employment to Cochise County residents since 1908 and visitors from all across the United States and Europe visit it year round. 

Most of the visitors are golf fanatics who are excited to play the notorious 747 yard 15 hole, ranked the 10th longest on earth by UK’s Today’s Golfer magazine. 

Hole 15, most commonly referred to as “the rattler” gets its popular nickname from its overview appearance; resembling a rattle snakes tail. 

Naco receives enthusiastic visitors from the surrounding areas such as Tucson and Sierra Vista but also from  Washington, Texas, Michigan, Canada and even Switzerland. 

These tourists stay for as little as a couple of days or up to months on end, they travel with their golfing gear, ready to take on the fifteenth hole.

Francine Nantais, a yearly visitor from British Columbia, travels across the United States every winter with her husband and their two rescue dogs to escape the Canadian winter. This year they decided to stay in Naco for a month; the longest they’ve ever had.

Like many other travelers, they stay in Naco to enjoy the Arizona weather, playing golf in the morning or going out for a walk.

“The first time in Arizona we wanted to golf in Bisbee but the RV Park was full so we came here for two days and ended up staying for five weeks” said Nantais.

She says the area is perfect to escape the fast- passed life of the city and it’s just a short drive away from famous cities such as Bisbee and Tombstone.

Laurie Rubin, also visiting from Canada, has been traveling throughout the United States for the past 3 weeks. He is in Naco looking forward to exploring historic sites and nature while experiencing the cultural customs in the area. 

“I’ve visited the four corners and am looking to what Naco has to offer.” said Rubin. 

 Linda B. Padilla is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona. Reach her at lindabpadilla@email.arizona.edu

 Click here for a Word version of this story and high-resolution photos. 

 

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