Scottsdale: the "World's Finest Golf Destination". Scottsdale and golf became synonymous nearly 100 years ago as visitors chipped and putted from oiled dirt courses under towering Camelback Mountain. Celebrities like Bing Crosby followed shortly thereafter, paving the way for a golden era that heralded golf gods such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
Since then, Scottsdale has swung its way into the Golf Hall of Fame with 1,223 holes and 51 golf courses, and an additional 200 courses sprinkled across its Valley of the Sun neighbors. Not to mention, few destinations can match the unique golf landscape found in Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert, with its unexpectedly green, lush fairways – often bordered by billion-year-old rock formations – and towering saguaro cacti dotting the courses. Add in 70 hotels and resorts in the greater Scottsdale area, 330-plus days of annual sunshine and a year-round median average temperature of 70 degrees, and it’s no wonder why this city is an unparalleled global golf destination.
WHERE TO PLAY
- Play where the pros play at TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, host of the PGA TOUR’s WM Phoenix Open. The venue draws international attention, with more than 700,000 annual spectators. Meanwhile, TPC Scottsdale Champions Course across the street hosts the final round of the Champions Tour Qualifying School every other year.
- In search of memorable long-distance views of nearby mountains? Both courses at We-Ko-Pa fit the bill.
- Troon North’s Monument and Pinnacle courses – just a short ride away from the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale – continue to set an elite standard for upscale daily-fee golf, while a rock ’n’ roll vibe across 36 stellar holes on the Talon and Raptor courses await at Grayhawk Golf Club.
- Experience two championship-level, Jay Morrish-designed, 18-hole golf courses surrounded by 200-million-year-old rock formations at The Boulders Golf Club.
- Golfers embrace their inner child during a round at The Westin Kierland Golf Club, where 27 holes can be played while riding a Segway, Ellwees, Kierland TurfRider, GolfBoard or GolfBike.
- Stay and play at the historic JW Marriott Camelback Inn and Camelback Golf Club, home to the Ambiente and Padre courses, with sweeping views of Camelback and Mummy Mountains.
- Take in the unique beauty of the untamed Sonoran Desert without the worry of surprise bunkers or blind hazards during a round at The Phoenician Golf Course.
- Try out Arizona’s only 18-hole, par-3 course, The Short Course at Mountain Shadows. Originally designed and built in 1961, it was a favorite among old Hollywood celebrities and socialites for its seclusion and desert setting.
WHERE TO PRACTICE & PERFECT
Playing poorly on a golf trip means frustration, not fun. But a tip from one of Scottsdale’s top-flight teachers, including five of “Golf Digest”’s 50 Best Teachers in America, can make anyone king of the course.
- Take a private lesson with Stan Utley or John Kostis (son of Peter Kostis) at Grayhawk Golf Club, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott of VISION 54 at Talking Stick Golf Club, or Donald Crawley at The Boulders Golf Academy.
- Have some relaxed fun testing a newly improved swing at Topgolf Scottsdale at Riverwalk.
WHERE TO REJUVENATE
- When the clubs are packed up for the day, restore your sore muscles at one of Scottsdale’s award-winning spas, such as the spa at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. The spa’s Golf Specialty Massage includes heated golf balls to ease tension from too many bogeys.
- Improve balance and swing rotation with the Golf Performance Massage at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ Well & Being Spa, or increase flexibility with a Clinical Sports Massage at The Phoenician Spa.
WHERE TO WINE & DINE
With more than 800 restaurants in Scottsdale, the dining options are varied and magnificent.
- Superb steaks can be found at Ocean 44, The Capital Grille, J&G Steakhouse, Mastro’s Ocean Club, Dominick’s Steakhouse and Hand Cut. Or, indulge in delicious Latin-meets-Southwestern fare and sip on an avocado margarita at The Mission.
- End the evening with a nightcap at Second Story Liquor Bar, Scapegoat Beer and Wine or Citizen Public House, or visit Scottsdale’s nightlife district in the heart of downtown. Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, The District and Wasted Grain are just a few after-dark options that will elevate a golf get-away from traditional to extraordinary.