Finally getting familiar with golf in Scottsdale
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - You’d think that for a person who’s full-time profession is traveling around playing golf, I’d have made it to Scottsdale - or at the very least somewhere in Arizona for a golf trip before now.
In fact, this is the single-most destination that friends and colleagues ask me for golf travel advice about, and until now, my response is usually a sheepish “Can’t say for sure, haven’t been there yet,” which is usually followed by dropped jaws.
Well that can finally change. I just spend the week in the Valley of the Sun, mostly around coveted Scottsdale, checking out the golf, the luxury resorts, the chic nightlife,restaurants and some off-the-grid outdoor activities.
We toured a handful of the area’s better-known courses. We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro course in nearby Fountain Hills was a great introduction, and its clear to see why it’s one of WorldGolf.com’s most popular reader-reviewed courses, thanks to a wonderful course-routing and no real estate within sight. Grayhawk’s Raptor course, a Tom Fazio design with showy bunkers and difficult greens worthy of hosting the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open.
Troon North’s Pinnacle course is recently rerouted and redesigned, is one of the area’s hallmark courses and for good reason, with especially dramatic par 3s and shot values as good as the desert can yield. Now it’s walker-friendly, which I tried out first hand (more to come on that experience).
The Boulders Resort in Carefree has two wonderfully-conditioned, scenic courses beneath the area’s mysterious, mighty boulder formations, plus service and amenities about as good as it gets. While challenging, Boulders Resort’s North course isn’t as much of a beast as Troon or Grayhawk, so you can put up a good number if your tee ball finds the fairway.
Some things didn’t surprise me about Scottsdale, like top-notch conditioning that you would expect for the area’s often premium prices. The resorts take their spas quite seriously, while restaurants and night clubs are about a chic as it gets, especially at the new “W” in downtown Scottsdale and its restaurant, Sushi Roku.
Some things did surprise me about Scottsdale. For starters, it feels more natural than I thought it would be, and you can escape suburbia quick into the McDowell National Park and go biking or hiking. Sure, there’s high-end shopping and master planned communities just about everywhere, but you can get away from it in a hurry if you wish.
I’ve got lots more to say about my impressions on the Valley of the Sun, both on the course and off, so stay tuned to WorldGolf.com and GolfArizona.com in the coming few weeks as Scottsdale gears up for its peak season starting mid-January.
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As a faithful reader and golf addict, I can testify to Scottsdale's attraction for golf trips. My buddies and I have traveled to Scottsdale many times (mainly during the hot summer months as the green fees are reduced to basically pennies)and can attest to the great courses available for Pros to beginners alike. One course you failed to mention (or probably will in future articles) is the Talking Stick facility which boasts two great courses, the North & South Courses, designed by the Coore/Crenshaw team. We return every time to this area due to the great customer service (their Proshop is always in the Top 100), great practice facilities and of course, terrific courses. My favorite is the North Course, a serene, yet tough Par 70 with demanding Par 4s, long Par 3s and slightly elevated greens. Of course, when played from the appropriate tee boxes, even beginners can enjoy this course. The South course is more of a traditional course with tree-lined fairways and water hazards. Which ever course one chooses, they will find that you get a very tranquil, almost eerie feeling that no one else is out there with you (BTW, no homes are seen or built on these courses). Enjoy!
Thanks for the review Brandon.