There is a lot to like about Arizona golf these days, especially if you live in one of the areas of the country that doesn’t get more than 330 days of sunshine, a factor closely associated with winter golf events and play in the desert.
Not only does Arizona host tournaments on the PGA and LPGA tours, the state is loaded with great winter golf “hot spots” like Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Sedona and beyond.
Best of all, sensibility has returned to the price of green fees, some of that is because Arizona’s more than 300 golf courses are competitively packed with value, variety and views, and partly because the Internet has created so many “red-hot deals.”
Winter Golf Showcases of Greater Phoenix
For those who want to get all of the above, the Waste Management Phoenix Open tees off the winter golf circuit in Arizona on January 30, 2012, for its weeklong run at the TPC Scottsdale.
Generally regarded as the most well-attended tournament on the PGA Tour, as many as 500,000 fans will flood through the turnstiles to watch the “Greatest Show on Grass.”
Phoenix also hosts the LPGA Founders Cup, which takes place March 12–18, 2012, at Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
Winter Play in Greater Phoenix
Golf in Phoenix is off the charts, too, especially in terms of public offerings at the city’s six municipal courses, as well as at “munis” throughout the metro area.
That list starts with Papago Golf Course, located in the park below the bluffs of the same name, and includes other modestly priced golf at area municipal facilities like Aguilla, Cave Creek, Encanto, Palo Verde and Maryvale golf courses.
Mesa’s Dobson Ranch Golf Course and Tempe’s Ken McDonald Golf Course are both excellent municipal courses. Scottsdale, however, may have the best muni of all – the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course. While slightly higher priced than the rest of this bunch (with fees falling just below $100 for twilight play in high season), you won’t soon forget a round on this superb layout.
How good is this reasonably priced winter golf in metropolitan Phoenix? Well, the TPC Champions hosted the 2011 finals of the Champions Tour Q-School, and Papago hosted the LPGA tournament in 2009.
Winter Play and Events in Tucson
Tucson area golf is equally as impressive, especially when you consider that the area’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the PGA Tour, featuring a marquee boasting the top 64 golfers in the world.
The current No. 1 player, Luke Donald, is the defending champ for the 2012 event, which takes place February 20–26 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, in the town of Marana, just north of Tucson.
Tucson’s Randolph Park Golf Complex courses, Randolph Golf Course and Dell Urich Golf Course, are two city-run layouts you won’t want to miss. These former hosts to the LPGA are among the top courses in Tucson – but at about one-third the average green fee in town.
Winter Golf Across Arizona
Golf in Sedona isn’t of the municipal variety, but all three of the city’s 18-hole courses are open to the public, and what better place to view those surreal red rocks that attract 4 million visitors every year?
Sedona Golf Resort is simply spectacular, with its par-3 10th hole providing a Kodak moment. Oakcreek Country Club was designed by the masterful father-son team of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Robert Trent Jones Jr., while Seven Canyons Sedona – once a strictly private course – has been referred to as the “IMAX of golf” for its incredible setting.
There are plenty of additional courses around the state that make golf in Arizona both affordable and awe-inspiring.
You’re guaranteed to enjoy a round at Laughlin Ranch Golf Club in Bullhead City, Emerald Canyon Golf Course in Parker, Lake Powell National Golf Course in Page, Los Caballeros Golf Club in Wickenburg and Rico Rico Country Club and Tubac Golf Resort & Spa just south of Tucson.
All are open to the public at very reasonable green fees, and even better, in perfect shape for a round of winter golf.