Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 15
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 15
Stay out of the jumping cholla on the par-3 15th hole on the South Course at The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Arizona. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 1
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 1
The first hole on the South Course at The Boulders pinches tight. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 5
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 5
The par-5 fifth hole is the signature moment on the South Course at The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Ariz. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 7
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 7
A tree on the left and a bunker on the right protect the seventh green on the South Course at The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Arizona. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 8
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 8
A cactus near the eighth tee boxes sits in the line of fire on the South golf course at The Boulders. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 9
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 9
The ninth hole on the South Course at The Boulders bends right. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 10
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 10
Depending on the tees you play, the par-3 10th hole on the South Course at The Boulders could be anything from 3-wood to wedge. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 11
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 11
Five bunkers make going for the 11th green on the South Course at The Boulders in two a risky proposition. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 12
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 12
The short 348-yard 12th hole on the South Course at The Boulders could give up birdie. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 14
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 14
A slew of bunkers await misses near the par-5 14th green on the South Course at The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Ariz. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 16
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 16
The 16th hole is the second of back-to-back par 3s on the South Course at The Boulders. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 17
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Boulders Resort - South golf course - no. 17
A desert wash crosses the fairway in front of the 17th green on the South Course The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Arizona. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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The South golf course at The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Arizona rocks

CAREFREE, Ariz. -- The gallery on the South Course at The Boulders Resort & Spa isn't people or condos.

Giant boulders, some millions of years old, stand watch over your every move. They're the main reason that the South Course ranked 100th on Golf Magazine's "Top 100 You Can Play" in 2014. They make an already scenic setting in the Sonoran Desert even more spectacular.

Public play is alternated daily on the South and the North Courses, both designed by Jay Morrish. The South is narrower, winding through desert hazards, dangerous bunkers and at times, those massive rock formations.

Because of its higher elevation, Carefree tends to be 5 to 8 degrees cooler than the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Those cooler temperatures allow the course to groom pure bentgrass greens, a rarity in the Valley of the Sun.

Five-star reviews outnumber four-star reviews 3-to-1 at Golf Advisor. User u321494900 wrote: "It's evident the first time you step on the tee you are at a special place. This is simply in my top five (courses I've played) that includes Pebble Beach, Firestone, Ocean Course, Whistling Straits, and Prairie Dunes."

The Boulders Resort, famous for its adobe-style casitas, is finishing up a multimillion-dollar renovation, so it's wise to stay awhile.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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The South golf course at The Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, Arizona rocks