Golf, Baseball and Good Eats in the Valley of the Sun

arizonagolf.jpgDuring this past week (March 12-18) the ladies tee'd it up at the 2012 RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup event at Wildfire Golf Club at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix. After several beautiful days of typical Arizona weather, the final round suffered through three rain delays, wind gusts, hail and overall nasty weather conditions. Congratulations to Yani Tseng, who outlasted the weather and the rest of the field to finish 18-under-par for her 14th career LPGA Tour victory!

I was hosted overnight by Talking Stick Resort, a relatively new property located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community. It boasts a 240,000-square-foot casino and award-winning restaurants like the Orange Sky on the 15th floor, where you can take in the stunning Arizona sunsets. If gaming is your idea of a good time, check out Talking Stick Resort, www.talkingstickresort.com.

Golf at Troon North. In a word: breathtaking. Everything you've read or heard about this course is absolutely true, as it sets the standard by which all other area courses are measured. The primary reason I wanted to visit Troon North was to meet with Brett Brooks and find out about Summer Family Golf. Visit www.troonnorthgolf.com to learn more about the upcoming 2012 sessions for the entire family. The real lesson here is not to be intimidated by Troon North's challenge and reputation. They offer a thoroughly enjoyable golf experience for everyone!   

More golf at SunRidge Canyon, www.sunridgegolf.com. SunRidge's Keith Foster-designed golf course unfolds around the rugged ridges and shady canyons unique to the Desert Mountains that divide Fountain Hills from Scottsdale. Be sure to take your camera along for this one! The staff was very friendly and courteous, and the restaurant offered plenty of options after a long, hot day on the course. 

Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), www.themim.org. If you haven't yet heard about MIM, you will soon. MIM was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and chairman of Target Corporation. Open for just a short time in museum years, a visit to this facility is a must on your next trip to Phoenix. Whether you consider yourself a musician or not, you'll amazed at this extraordinary collection of instruments from all over the world. The latest technology is present with streaming music on headsets, and there are complimentary wheelchairs for seniors and the physically challenged if needed. This is a bright and open space, sure to please everyone. If you're a musician, or simply a lover of music of every stripe, this is a must-visit. Make time during your tour to stop by the café for a snack or lunch -- the menu is fresh and changes daily!

Saturday afternoon Major League Baseball at Salt River Fields, the Cactus League spring training facility for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. The ball park has 12 practice fields, 11,000 seats, and a grassy lawn area to take in the games. This is great family fun for all ages. Visit www.saltriverfields.com for tickets.

Notable mention for dinner at Culinary Dropout, www.foxrestaurantconcepts.com, a restaurant with a cool, hip, gastropub experience; and Beckett's Table, www.beckettstable.com, featuring an American-style menu with a focus on seasonal cuisine. Be sure to try the totally awesome chicken and dumplings! 

I also was hosted by The Phoenician, www.thephoenician.com, which can best be described in just one word: Ahhhh ... When you drive onto the property, all your cares quickly fade away. This AAA Five Diamond luxury resort truly has it all. If you're looking for some pampering you've definitely come to the right place, as the Centre for Well Being Spa offers 22,000 square feet of mind-numbing, body-refreshing treatments in an environment that is truly one of a kind. If you're in the mood for a great burger and sweet potato fries, check out the Relish Burger Bistro, casual dining with stunning views of the property, located at the top of the golf clubhouse. Or, if you've set your mind on a great steak instead, visit J&G Steakhouse, where world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up a very sophisticated bill of fare. Once you check in to The Phoenician, you may never want to leave.

 

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