Friday, July 24, 2015

Swing into Scottsdale

The Boulders Golf Club Hole #7 Carefree, Arizona

Yes it’s a bold claim, but we’ve got the numbers to back it up. Start with the 1,223 holes and 51 golf courses located within Scottsdale’s city limits, and then mix in an additional 156 courses sprinkled across Scottsdale’s Valley of the Sun neighbors. Now let’s talk about how 330 plus days of annual sunshine and a mere 7.7 inches of annual rainfall means Scottsdale area golfers enjoy more than 12 million rounds of golf every year. Add to that a year-round median average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and way-below-par humidity, and Scottsdale’s scorecard is shaping up nicely.

Speaking of scorecards, Scottsdale is home to 13 of the “Top 30 golf courses in Arizona” according to Golf Magazine’s 2014 ranking, and 11 of the Top 30 Best in the State You Can Play, according to Golfweek’s 2015 ranking. Not to mention six courses listed on Golf Magazine’s 2014 “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 500,000 spectators a year.

Scotland has its history and windswept links-style courses; California has the crashing surf of its ocean-side courses; and Augusta, Ga., has its pine trees, dogwoods and azaleas. However, no golf landscape is as distinctive as Scottsdale’s striking Sonoran Desert. Here, green fairways stretch across a starkly beautiful landscape brimming with billion-year-old rock formations, bottomless arroyos and towering saguaro cacti. It’s a sweeping, sun-drenched setting populated with little more than coyotes, roadrunners, rattlesnakes and the occasional beer cart. Whether you’re an avid golfer or an occasional driver, it’s easy to find a suitable golf experience in Scottsdale, especially with the guidance of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website, It features recommendations on which courses to play and when from TV personality and PGA TOUR Pro Brandel Chamblee, a longtime Scottsdale resident.

Undoubtedly Scottsdale’s most recognizable club, TPC Scottsdale ( is a 36-hole jewel best known as the host of the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open ( The acclaimed Stadium Course underwent an extensive renovation project which added length, enhanced conditioning and accentuated its playability and challenge. The improved Stadium Course re-opened for play in late fall 2014, just in time for the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. In-the-know locals also rave about TPC Scottsdale’s equally scenic Champions Course, which aptly hosts the final round of Q-School every other year for the Champions Tour.

There’s nothing in golf that compares to the pageantry and spectacle of the Waste Manager Phoenix Open, a.k.a. “The Greatest and Greenest Show on Grass.” Held in early February, this fun-loving tournament set a new PGA TOUR attendance record in 2015 with 564,368 spectators during tournament week. Come dusk, the golf event only heats up as revelers stream across the street into the famous Birds Nest, a temporary nightclub that annually transforms into the center of Scottsdale’s entertainment universe.

Scottsdale favorite Troon North Golf Club ( is an internationally renowned icon of the destination. Its two acclaimed courses play better than ever thanks to a 2007 reconfiguration and renovation, overseen by the legendaryTom Weiskopf. So what do the experts think? In its 2014 “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” rankings, Golf Magazine named the Pinnacle and Monument courses No. 25 and No. 54 in the nation, respectively, as well as the No. 1 and No. 4 courses in Arizona. And Golfweek ranked Pinnacle and Monument No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, in its 2014 list of the “Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona.” Both Pinnacle and Monument also made Golf Digest’s 2015-2016 Best in State ranking at No. 23 and No. 24, respectively. 

Not only is Grayhawk Golf Club ( a favorite of golf legend Phil Mickelson, for whom the club’s grillroom is named, it also developed a reputation as one of Scottsdale’s most stylish golf clubs. Not to say that Grayhawk’s Talon and Raptor courses aren’t superstars in their own right – highlighted by Talon’s scenic back nine and Raptor’s tournament history. Grayhawk hosted a variety of top-flight competitive events, including the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, Williams World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods, Tommy Bahama Challenge, and, the Open, a PGA TOUR event held on the Raptor Course 2007-2009. Grayhawk’s reputation as one of Scottsdale’s most notable courses was further elevated in 2015 with the revamp of holes 15, 16 and 17 on the Raptor Course. That same year, the Talon and Raptor courses at Grayhawk ranked   No. 22 and No. 21, respectively, according to Golfweek’s “Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona.”

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 has since become a fixture on Golf Magazine’s list of the “Top 100 You Can Play in the U.S.” In 2006, the Coore/Crenshaw-designed Saguaro Course debuted to national acclaim, including being named one of Golf Digest’s “Best New Public Courses.” Most recently, We-Ko-Pa took two of the top four spots in Golfweek’s 2015 list of the “Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona,” with the Saguaro Course ranking No. 2 and the Cholla Course settling for No. 4. Golfweek also ranked the Saguaro Course No. 30 in its 2015 “Best Resort Courses” category; the Cholla Course came in at No. 70.

Although desert golf is associated with Scottsdale golf, the city features several outstanding courses that provide a traditional look and feel. Camelback Golf Club ( celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2011 by breaking ground on a $10 million redesign of the Indian Bend Course. Renamed Ambiente, it is one of two 18-hole championship courses at the resort. Overseen by Jason Straka of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design,  the project yielded 12 new holes and enhancements, ranging from new bunkers and tees to reconfigured water features and cart paths on the remaining six. The nearby McCormick Ranch Golf Club ( offers 36 holes that unfold around sprawling water hazards and along fairways lined by mature pine, eucalyptus and palm trees that complement the wide open spaces of Scottsdale’s desert tracks to the north.

Enjoy world-class golf at Boulders Resort & Spa (, where the top-flight North and South courses wind around and over the property’s namesake rock formations. Golf Magazine included the resort in its list of “Premier Golf Resorts 2014-2015: Gold Awards.” Also earning a Gold Award from Golf Magazine in 2014-2015 was Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (  This beautiful, luxurious resort is nestled into the foothills of Scottsdale’s iconic Pinnacle Peak. Guests enjoy special access to Troon North Golf Club and its two award-winning courses.  Earning a Silver Medal Award in Golf Magazine’s 2014-2015 Premier Golf Resorts ranking were Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (, The Phoenician ( and The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess was also No. 50 on Golf Digest’s list of the “75 Best Golf Resorts.” Not to be outdone, The Phoenician is home to 27 picturesque holes of golf designed by Ted Robinson and ranked No. 49 on Golf Digest’s list of the “75 Best Golf Resorts.” The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa offers three exceptional  nine-hole layouts, allowing golfers to mix and match to create a variety of playing experiences, as well as other innovative golf experiences, such as offering Segway golf carts and golf bikes. Afterword, walk next door to the open-air shopping promenade Kierland Commons ( or Scottsdale Quarter (, for some of the city’s finest shopping, dining and nightlife.

If smoothing out your swing is on your vacation checklist, here’s a quick rundown of Scottsdale’s finest golf academies and custom club-fitting facilities.

Official golf instruction partner of the PGA TOUR, the TOUR Academy at TPC Scottsdale ( lets attendees refine their game on the home course of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Stan Utley (, ranked No. 14 on Golf Digest’s 2013-14 list of the Best Teachers in America, offers his short-game magic at Grayhawk Golf Club.  And, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, No. 17 and No. 25 on the Golf Digest list, respectively, teach at Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Golf Club ( The Westin Kierland’s Mike LaBauve rounds out the Scottsdale contingent on the latest Golf Digest list, coming in at No. 35. In addition to exceptional instruction, students also can benefit from The Westin Kierland’s Fore-Max Training System, which blends traditional golf instruction with fitness and nutrition. At the Callaway Performance Centre at Troon North Golf Club, guests have access to the same club fitting technology used by the world’s top touring professionals. And Scottsdale’s Cool Clubs ( and Boccieri Golf ( identify, recommend, and custom build golf equipment that suits each golfer’s individual swing.

Boulders’s Fore Ladies program, taught by Boulders certified LPGA instructor, offers comprehensive instruction specifically designed to help ladies of all skill levels better understand the game.  It combines three days of instruction with social activities in a non-intimidating setting.  At Kierland Golf Club, female golfers receive instruction from Sandy LaBauve as part of her female-friendly program that’s been lauded by the Executive Women’s Golf Association.

The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North offers a Golf Specialty Massage, which combines stretching with therapeutic massage using heated golf balls to ease tension. Improve balance and swing rotation with the Golf Performance Massage at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ Well & Being Spa (, a muscle-noodling blend of massage, stretching and acupressure endorsed by famed golf instructor, David Leadbetter and professional golfer Charles Howell III.  Stay in the game by keeping your muscles fit at the Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician. The spa’s Clinical Sports Massage is ideal for golfers looking to relieve sore muscles, increase flexibility and gain a speedy recovery. You’ll even increase game performance with the treatment’s stretching, compression and range of motion techniques.

The Junior Golf Academy at Troon North Golf Club focuses on the most important aspect of the game – fun! Young golfers learn important skills needed to improve, from driving the ball and hitting iron shots to short game and rules of the game. Kierland Golf Club rolled out a family golf program that allows families to play and practice together. Juniors learn the fundamentals of putting, chipping and full swings, as well as golf etiquette and history of the game. The Family Tee program at TPC Scottsdale makes golf more enjoyable for kids and newbie adults by turning the Champions Course into a shorter, more playable venue. The Grayhawk Learning Center at Grayhawk Golf Club, rated the No. 2 golf school in the country by Golf Magazine, offers summer junior golf camps for youth ages 8 to 16 that dish up golf fundamentals from some of the top instructors in the country. Boulders introduced two new short courses perfect for time-crunched and newer golfers.  The new “Pebble Tees” offer nine holes of play respectively and feature yardages of 100-to 200-yards. 



Laura McMurchie, Vice President of Communications
Tel: 480-429-2253

Megan Neighbor, Director of Communications
Tel: 480-889-2716

Stephanie Pressler, Communications Manager
Tel: 480-889-2719 
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Jerry Rose, Vice President of Communication Links
Tel: 480-348-7540


from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |

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