Set high in the Arizona hills, far above the heat and hustle of the city below, Forest Highlands Golf Club is unique. It’s certainly not your typical golf community, even though it boasts two of the premier courses in the country. It is a vibrant mountain retreat in Flagstaff that truly caters to each member of the family—not just golfers. Members here are drawn to a dynamic club lifestyle that harmonizes every aspect of one’s life, regardless of age or interest. This has certainly been true for John and Sara Auran, member at Forest Highlands since 1988. “When we first bought here we were very young,” says Sara. “The first golf course wasn’t even built. But from the beginning, it has been essential to our lives—we have literally created a lifetime of memories here watching our four kids grow up. They are now all in their twenties and still love coming to Forest Highlands to this day.”

An outdoor haven for the Auran family

Kids have always been central to the family experience at Forest Highlands. Whether it’s young families with grade-school children, or more mature families with kids in high school or college, each has experienced the wonder of a community that grants access to limitless outdoor recreation and activities throughout the year. For the Aurans, wintertime is one of the most magical seasons. All of their kids have grown up on the nearby slopes, an activity that has been central to their lives. “Our children are all skiers,” says John, “and have been involved with the Flagstaff Ski Team. In fact, two qualified for the Junior Olympics. The location in Flagstaff is great. Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort is only 30 minutes away. So Forest Highlands gives us easy access to great skiing year-in, year-out.”

“A return to childhood”

Besides skiing, the Aurans have immersed themselves in the wide range of amenities and seasonal activities at Forest Highlands at each stage of life. As their four kids—all adults now—have grown and matured, Forest Highlands has been a constant thread that keeps them all knit together. As a family they have shared the wonders of the Arizona mountains—that extend upward 12,633 feet—as well as a wide range of outdoor pursuits and activities that are a far cry from congested city life. “This has been the ideal second home for us,” says John. “Leaving the city and coming here is like a return to childhood. There’s a freedom and vastness to the living experience that we all have enjoyed. The temperature is 15 to 20 degrees cooler up here. The lifestyle is vibrant and healthy. The community is dynamic and strong. Forest Highlands has been, and still is, a very big part of our family’s life.”

“Our second home comes first”

Having been amongst the first 100 members at Forest Highlands, the Aurans have evolved with the community. Each year their connection grows stronger. Each season new wonders present themselves: the pristine, white-blanketed hills of winter; the fertile, blossoming countryside of spring; the star-lit evenings and dew-scented mornings of summer; and the resplendent, dappled colors of fall. It’s all a sight to behold—a sight that never grows old. “The older we get,” says Sara, “the more important and enjoyable Forest Highlands becomes. We actually downsized in the city recently to spend more time up here. In fact, we would not have stayed in Arizona had it not been for Forest Highlands. It’s where we belong.”