Swinging Scottsdale

Swinging ScottsdaleGolf in this world-renowned destination leaves visitors praising Arizona

With 51 golf courses within Scottsdale’s city limits, and an additional 156 courses sprinkled across its Valley of the Sun neighbors, Scottsdale bills itself as the World’s Finest Golf Destination. It’s a difficult argument to refute. More than 330 days of sunshine and less than eight inches of annual rainfall means Scottsdale-area courses host more than 12 million rounds every year. A year-round median average temperature of 70 degrees and well-below-par humidity fills out Scottsdale’s scorecard nicely.

Speaking of scorecards, Scottsdale is home to 13 of the Top 25 golf courses in Arizona, according to Golf Magazine’s 2010 rankings, six of the 75 Best Golf Resorts as determined by Golf Digest, and six courses listed on Golf Magazine’s 2010 Top 100 You Can Play. And for those who’d rather watch the pros play, Scottsdale hosts the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, the best attended golf tournament in the world, welcoming about 500,000 spectators a year.

Troon North Golf Club offers an exceptional desert-golf experience, winding through the natural ravines and foothills in the high Sonoran Desert. The club’s Monument and Pinnacle courses consistently rank at the top of every golfer’s must-play list. An internationally renowned landmark that helped put desert golf on the map when it first opened in 1990, Troon North Golf Club now plays better than ever thanks to a reconfiguration and renovation. Overseen by Tom Weiskopf, original designer of Troon North’s Pinnacle Course and co-designer of its Monument Course, both tracks were blended and re-sequenced in 2007 to create new layouts with improved playability.

Undoubtedly Scottsdale’s most recognizable club, TPC Scottsdale is a 36-hole jewel best known as the host of the aforementioned Waste Management Phoenix Open. Here you can attempt to replicate Tiger’s hole-in-one on the Stadium Course’s famed 16th hole, or try to carry the water right onto the 15th hole’s island green. In-the-know locals, however, rave about TPC Scottsdale’s lesser known but equally scenic Champions Course, which meanders across natural ravines and rolling terrain.

Grayhawk Golf Club, a favorite of 2010 Masters champ Phil Mickelson (for whom the club’s grillroom is named) has developed a reputation as one of Scottsdale’s most stylish.

The lobby of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa looks out over the property’s beautiful Fountain Court, which offers breathtaking views of the McDowell Mountains, Gainey Ranch Golf course and resort pools.Grayhawk’s Talon and Raptor courses are superstars in their own right, highlighted by Talon’s scenic back nine and Raptor’s tournament history. In fact, Grayhawk hosted a variety of topflight competitive events, including the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, Williams World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods, Tommy Bahama Challenge and, of course, the Frys.com Open, a PGA TOUR event held on the Raptor Course 2007-2009.

Hand-stitched into the wilds of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation bordering Scottsdale,We-Ko-Pa Golf Club offers a desert golf experience like no other. Golfers are completely immersed in the Sonoran Desert with no dwellings, roads or even out-of-bounds markers to distract them from the panoramic surroundings. Sports Illustrated named the Cholla Course among the Top 10 New Golf Courses in the World when it opened in 2001, and it’s since become a fixture on Golf Magazine’s list of the Top 100 You Can Play.

The Boulders Golf Club features two Jay Morrish-designed courses that are known for breathtaking surroundings and sweeping panoramic views. Both 18-hole courses stretch across an enchanting Sonoran Desert landscape and are ranked among the finest in the United States.

Although desert golf is the typical golf experience in Scottsdale, the city features several outstanding courses that provide a traditional look and feel. McCormick Ranch Golf Club offers 36 holes that unfold around sprawling water hazards and along fairways of mature pine, eucalyptus and palm trees that compliment the wide open spaces of the Scottsdale’s desert tracks to the north. At Camelback Golf Club, golfers play through lush, tree-lined fairways, gently sloping contours and sparkling water water hazards with magnificent mountain backdrops. The Indian Bend Course is a traditional American links-style course, and the Padre Course was designed by renowned course architect Arthur Hills. Both McCormick Ranch and Camelback opened decades ago and have since undergone the occasional renovation to maintain high standards of conditions and integrity of the original designs.

Considered by many to be one of Scottsdale’s most stylish, Grayhawk Golf Club offers two outstanding golf experiences, the par-72 Talon and Raptor courses . The club’s Kostis McCord Learning Center offers individual workshops, corporate lessons and junior instruction camps. After your round, stop by Phil’s Grill, named after PGA Pro Phil Mickelson.

Enjoy world-class resort golf atThe Boulders Resort, where the top-flight North and South courses wind around and over the property’s namesake rock formations. Golf Magazine deemed the resort a Gold Medal award-winner in 2010, while Golf Digest ranked the resort No. 40 in its 2009 list of the 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America.

McCormick Ranch Golf Club is a public 36-hole facility with restaurant, lounge, banquet areas, pro shop and practice facilities. This Desmond Muirhead-designed course features a traditional 18-hole layout, breathtaking Southwestern sceneryand immaculate course conditions.The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa offers three picturesque, nine-hole layouts, allowing golfers to mix and match to create a variety of playing experiences. Kierland Golf Club was one of first in the world to feature the G2 climate-control device that changes the air temperature in and around golf carts by more than 40 degrees, keeping golfers warm in the winter and refreshed all summer long. The Westin Kierland also pays homage to the Scottish immigrants who helped develop Arizona’s railroads, mines and towns by offering the Scottish Golf Experience, where golfers don rented kilts and sample Johnnie Walker beverages while perfecting their swing on the course.

So, while labeling yourself the World’s Finest Golf Destination may sound at least a little bit cocky, in the immortal words of Muhammad Ali, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” When it comes to golf in Scottsdale, it ain’t bragging.

Photography Courtesy of Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

 

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