Castle Hot Springs is an isolated resort located 60 miles northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. Established in the late 1800s, the resort takes its name from the natural hot springs that flow out of the craggy mountain just above the resort grounds. Castle Hot Springs was a therapeutic oasis in the Arizona desert, and hosted such dignitaries as John F. Kennedy and many actors and politicians. The natural hot springs have long been touted as healing waters, first by Native Americans who traveled over this area of Arizona.
The golf story as Castle Hot Springs begins with a rudimentary putting lawn that is evident in early 1900s photos. A new putting green became part of the resort several years later, and finally a more formal 3-hole pitching course was added. While little is known about the 3-hole course, accounts speculate that William P. “Billy” Bell was asked by Chicago businessman William L. Wrigley, Jr. to visit Castle Hot Springs for the purpose of laying out the short golf amenity. The Wrigleys were long-time visitors to the resort, which still has the main lodge building named after them.
Beginning in 2014 plans were formalized to restore the resort which had fallen into disrepair. The golf putting greens and 3-hole course had long been abandoned. Forrest Richardson was brought into create a new green that can be used as a cocktail hour venue for betting on closest-to-the-hole. In the future it may be that a larger golf footprint is added to the resort grounds, perhaps echoing the work of Bell some 75 years ago.