Best Courses for Experienced Golfers

By local contributor
Tom Mackin

So you’re ready for a challenge? Looking to test your skills on some of the toughest tracks in town? Well then, the greater Scottsdale area is more than ready for you with its extensive menu of challenging layouts. Each requires your full concentration, strong shot-making skills, and perhaps a lucky bounce or two along the way to come in under par. Here are five courses that will quickly reveal just how good your game is. 

 


TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course


Everybody wants to play where the pros play, and the world’s best have been visiting the TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course annually for the Waste Management Phoenix Open since it opened in 1987. Normally the rough isn’t quite as thick and the greens aren’t quite as fast as during tournament week, but at just over 7,200 yards from the tips, the Stadium Course will give you all you can handle.

 


Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club


This U.S. Open sectional qualifying venue and three-time Arizona Amateur host in Maricopa is as good as it gets. Plenty of length (7,546 yards from the tips), well-positioned bunkers and subtle yet tricky greens are all part of the challenge. And don’t pass up one of the killer milkshakes made in the clubhouse, either.

 


We-Ko-Pa Golf Club


Scott Miller designed the original Cholla course here in Fountain Hills back in 2001 and it’s lost little of its bite over the years. This is target-style desert golf at its finest, where par on the toughest hole – the 605-yard, downhill eighth – is well worth celebrating.

 


Grayhawk Golf Club


The Tom Fazio-designed Raptor Course hosted a PGA Tour event back in the late 2000s and it’s still tough enough that breaking par from the tips is quite an accomplishment. Massive bunkers guard the large greens where three-putts are not uncommon, and the closing par 5 remains one of the Valley’s best. The country’s top college players will take on the Raptor when it hosts the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships from 2020 through 2022. 

 


Troon North Golf Club


The place that set the standard for upscale daily-fee golf when it debuted in 1990 retains its role as one of the best 36-hole facilities in the country. Both the Monument and Pinnacle courses are formidable, but the Monument recently underwent a renovation that included all new greens and new bunker sand.