Working out where to go and what to do in a vacation town can boggle the mind, and Phoenix is no different. You can wander around, choosing courses at will and eating at the restaurant just around the corner with unhappy results. But with a few hints and nudges in the right direction, your Phoenix vacation can make you as happy as a golfer who's just sunk an eagle putt.
Both golf courses at the Marriott's Wildfire Golf Club offer great play. The older Arnold Palmer course is long and testing but, with several tee boxes, can be enjoyed by players at all levels. The new Faldo Championship Course is surrounded by mountains and boasts more than 100 sand bunkers to tame some of those long hitters. A combination of the two can be a complete Phoenix golf trip.
Just north of Phoenix, in an area normally known for pricey private courses, golfers will find the spectacularly scenic Dove Valley Ranch, as close to a country club as public golf courses get. A Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, Dove Creek plays 7,011 yards from the blacks and course conditions are usually top-notch.
Las Sendas Golf Course is a nature walk through the desert, attracting and challenging you with beauty and shot options. It requires you to think your way around to play it well. It's a Wild West course - you're definitely going to have to shoot it out here.
Pointe Hilton Resort at Tapatio Cliffs is an all-suite resort with eight swimming pools, a large water park and cabanas. There are four restaurants, a spa, a salon and a fitness center. The resort is located just minutes from golf, nightlife and shopping.
"I love to stay at the Pointe Hilton to look at the amazing views, and the water park makes me feel like I'm on a topical island," said Lilla Trapani from Arizona Golf Packages.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa was voted one of the Top 75 Resorts in North America in a poll of Conde Nast readers. Home to the abovementioned Wildfire Golf Club, it also offers practice greens and driving range as well as tennis courts, swimming pools and water slides for a bit of extra fun.
Named for the towering palm trees lining its entrance drive, Royal Palms Resort and Spa is located at the base of Camelback Mountain. A former Spanish Colonial-style private mansion with a variety of guest rooms, it offers golfers preferred tee times at world-famous desert courses nearby.
The Different Pointe of View restaurant at the top of Hilton's Tapatio Cliffs is located 1,800 feet above Phoenix and features breathtaking views along with finest French-Italian cuisine.
Tarbell's blends contemporary French and American flavors to create a bold menu. Make your way through it. but make sure you save room for a dessert of warm chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream.
Party on at Barcelona in Scottsdale. Live music, dancing and an impressive wine list with more than 200 labels and an outdoor bar set amid the desert with fiery torches lighting the evening sky.
If you have any cash left over from golfing and dining, head to Kierland Commons, where stores such as BCBG, Tommy Bahama and Z Gallerie will be more than happy to empty the remnants of your billfold.
Dove Valley Ranch
33750 N. Dove Lakes Dr.
Cave Creek, AZ
Las Sendas Golf Course
7555 E. Eagle Crest Dr.
Wildfire Golf Club
5350 E. Marriott Dr.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
5350 E. Marriott Dr.
Pointe Hilton Resort at Tapatio Cliffs
7677 N. 16th St.
Royal Palms Resort and Spa
5200 E. Camelback Road
15440 Greenway-Hayden Loop
Different Pointe of View
11111 N. 7th St.
15205 N. Kierland Blvd.
3213 E. Camelback Road
June 5, 2006
Having boarded the luxurious MV Europa 2 in Lisbon, Clive Agran had five days of golf cruising ahead. For those unfamiliar with the concept, golf cruising is a glorious combination of golf and cruising where a sedate sail is punctuated with the occasional round of golf.
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