By Chris Baldwin,
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Tom Brady and Randy Moss are not exactly going the Dick Cheney route as they pursue perfection. Forget any of that secret undisclosed location stuff. The New England Patriots are staying in the heart of North Scottsdale as they prep for Super Bowl XLII.
At a golf resort, of course.
In the most golf-centric spot in the West, it wouldn't be right any other way.
So you have Bill Belichick's boys at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, right next to one of the trendiest shopping centers in Scottsdale, and the New York Giants at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort out in Chandler, much more removed from the center of the chaos. Both resorts have a big security and police presence this week (particularly Kierland, with the undefeated Patriots clearly the rock stars of this Super Bowl week), and non-guests can expect to get turned away.
Unless you're golfing.
There are 27 holes of golf at Kierland resort, with three distinct nines, including one (Acacia, the best nine) that takes you close to the Westin resort on its closing stretch. A lucky Giants fan might be able to launch a golf ball into Tom Brady's salad on Acacia's 531-yard dogleg finishing hole, if the quarterback happened to be outside on the patio munching away.
Don't think this hasn't been thought of too. It's Super Bowl week.
"You know Belichick's going to try and spy on us," Giants fan Joe Reid said. "So why not go out there and see what they're up to? Hey, I'm just a golfer. What am I going to see?"
Probably absolutely nothing. But Kierland Golf Club is run by Troon Golf rather than the resort, so if you want to feel like you're skirting with inside access while golfing a nice course, it's no Hail Mary play. On Sunday night, there were still $210 rounds available for the week.
Eli Manning isn't as much of a golfer as Brady, but the Giant quarterback's base is arguably even more golf-focused. Sheraton Wild Horse Pass is close to Whirlwind Golf Club, and it has two 18-hole courses with Gary Panks-designed desert views. There's also a casino right next to the resort. Wild Horse Pass is out on an American Indian reservation, but it's not exactly a quiet retreat.
Super Bowls tend to attract gawkers like car crashes on the side of the road. Many people will come to the Phoenix-Scottsdale area this week who don't have tickets to the game, any real hope of getting tickets or any expectations for seeing the Patriots and Giants play out in Glendale, for that matter.
Super Bowl week is simply an event, and few places do events better than Scottsdale. That's why many tourism officials expect even more spur-of-the-moment travelers to the Valley of the Sun than most Super Bowls bring.
Some decided they wanted to be here after the Giants emerged from the historic cold of Green Bay. (Patriots fans tend to have planned much farther in advance, assuming their squad would be going for 19-0). Others will not catch the Super Bowl bug until this week, booking last-minute flights and taking a sick day or three.
No matter when you decide you're coming, you need a place to stay.
Rooms really become scarce starting Thursday night. Forget any of the four- and five-star hotels, they're booked. The lesser hotels that are left can easily be double their usual already-jacked-up winter escape prices.
Your best bet may be forgoing the hotels and trying to rent a condo. More of those tend to be available. For example, Arizona Golf Packages (1-800-767-3574) had a few luxury condos in Kierland available as the week approached. For a group of four buddies or two couples splitting up the $2,800 price, it wasn't more than a high-end hotel.
And again, you're in Kierland, close to Brady, in the center of it all.
"We think a lot of people are waiting to see what they can get," Anthony Trapani of Arizona Golf Packages said. "You have people holding out for that last-minute deal."
Now that you know where you can play golf near the Patriots and Giants and where you might be able to stay, there's one big question left for Super Bowl week attendees. Where's the best party?
Super Bowl week parties have turned into big money (and often money-making) affairs that are almost as choreographed as the halftime show. Paid celebrities hold bashes at clubs that charge regular people hundreds of dollars to attend. A prime example is P. Diddy's block party outside the Scottsdale nightclub Axis/Radius on Thursday night.
It's $175 for a ticket outside and a cool thousand bucks to get inside the doors.
Paris Hilton and 50 Cent - Super Bowl week is the only time you'll see those names together and not blink - are hosting a party at the club 944 where VIP tickets run $750. And you thought the game was the overhyped event of the week?
You might be better off just hanging out in downtown Tempe. This college town tends to attract crowds on regular nights, and it should be hopping throughout Super Bowl week. On Saturday night, there's a big outdoor party with a free concert.
Then, there's the great golf bash. The FBR Open at TPC Scottsdale is known as the PGA Tour's most un-Tour-like party tournament in an ordinary year. Sharing the week with the Super Bowl means that this year's tournament will be even less polo shirt and more beer bong in atmosphere. It's also one of the only sporting events in town this week where you'll be able to get a ticket.
"Everyone thinks they know some secret about Super Bowl week that no one else knows," local Scott Johnston said. "But they don't. They'll be stuck in traffic just like the rest of us."
Well, at least the rest of us not named Brady.
January 29, 2008
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.