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Swing Into Scottsdale, Arizona

Greetings from the World’s Finest Golf Destination

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 how 330+ days of annual sunshine and a mere 9.5 inches of annual rainfall means Scottsdale area golfers enjoy approximately 8.2 million rounds of golf every year. Add to that a year-round median average temperature of 74 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 25 Golf Courses in Arizona” according to Golf Magazine’s 2010 rankings and four of the “75 Best Golf Resorts” as determined by Golf Digest’s 2011 rankings. Not to mention six courses listed on Golf Magazine’s 2010 “Top 100 You Can Play.” And for those who’d rather watch the pros tee off, Scottsdale hosts the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, the best attended golf tournament in the world, welcoming about 500,000 spectators a year.

DESERT GOLF GEMS

Scotland has its history and windswept links-style courses; California has its pebble beaches and ocean cliffs; and Augusta, Ga. has its pine trees, dogwoods and azaleas. However, no golfing 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 Saguaros. 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, take to the greens in Scottsdale with guidance from the convention & visitor bureau’s website www.ILoveScottsdaleGolf.com, which features recommendations on which courses to play and when from TV personality and PGA TOUR Pro Brandel Chamblee, a longtime Scottsdale resident.

An internationally renowned landmark that helped put desert golf on the map when it first opened in 1990, Troon North Golf Club (www.troonnorthgolf.com) now plays better than ever thanks to a reconfiguration and renovation. Overseen by Tom Weiskopf, original designer of Troon North’s Pinnacle Course and co-designer of its Monument Course, both tracks were blended and re-sequenced in 2007 to create new layouts with improved playability. So what do the experts think? In its 2010 “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” rankings, Golf Magazine named the ‘new’ Pinnacle and Monument courses No. 21 and No. 44 in the nation, respectively, as well as the No. 1 and No. 4 courses in Arizona. And Golfweek ranked Monument and Pinnacle No. 5 and No. 12 respectively in its 2012 “Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona.”

Undoubtedly Scottsdale’s most recognizable club, TPC Scottsdale (www.tpc.com/scottsdale) is a 36-hole jewel best known as the host of the aforementioned Waste Management Phoenix Open. Here you can attempt to replicate Tiger’s hole-in-one on the Stadium Course’s famed 16th hole, or try to carry the water right onto the 15th hole’s island green. In-the-know locals, however, rave about TPC Scottsdale’s lesser known but equally scenic Champions Course, which meanders across natural ravines and rolling terrain.

And there’s nothing in golf that compares to the pageantry and spectacle of the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open (www.wastemanagementphoenixopen.com), a.k.a. “The Greatest and Greenest Show on Grass.” Held in early February, this fun-loving event set an all-time single-day tournament and PGA TOUR attendance record in 2012 when it welcomed more than 173,210 spectators to Saturday’s third round! Come dusk, the golf event only turns up the heat 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.

Golfers who have always dreamt of playing in a PGA TOUR event like the Waste Management Phoenix Open can now experience the thrill of doing so in a truly world-class competitive event. Scottsdale Open presented by Waste Management (www.scottsdaleopengolf.com) is a two-person team event for low-handicap players competing in either gross or net division. Competitors will experience courses that define Scottsdale’s golfing culture including: the Monument Course at Troon North Golf Club and Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale – the same course the pros play during the legendary Waste Management Phoenix Open, which takes place less than a month later.

Speaking of see-and-be-seen, not only is Grayhawk Golf Club (www.grayhawkgolf.com) a favorite of 2010 Masters champ 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. In fact, 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, of course, the Frys.com Open, a PGA TOUR event held on the Raptor Course 2007-2009. In 2012, the Raptor and Talon courses at Grayhawk ranked 15th and 13th 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 (www.wekopa.com) 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’s since become a fixture on Golf Magazine’s list of the “Top 100 You Can Play in the United States.” In 2006, the Coore/Crenshaw-designed Saguaro Course debuted to national acclaim and was named one of Golf Digest’s “Best New Public Courses.” Most recently, We-Ko-Pa took two of the top three spots in Golfweek’s 2012 “Best State-by-State” ranking, with the Saguaro Course taking the No. 1 spot while the Cholla Course landed at No. 3. Golfweek also ranked the Saguaro Course 19th in its 2011 “Best Resort Courses” category; the Cholla Course came in at 46th.

TRADITIONAL TRACKS

Although desert golf is associated with the typical experience in Scottsdale, the city features several outstanding courses that provide a traditional look and feel. McCormick Ranch Golf Club (www.mccormickranchgolf.com) offers 36 holes that unfold around sprawling water hazards and along fairways of mature pine, eucalyptus and palm trees that complement the wide open spaces of Scottsdale’s desert tracks to the north. At Camelback Golf Club (www.camelbackgolf.com), play through lush tree-lined fairways, gently sloping contours and sparkling water hazards with magnificent mountain backdrops. Recently, the club embarked upon an extensive renovation of one of its two 18-hole courses, the Indian Bend Course. Expected to debut in October 2013, the ambitious project calls for the complete redesign of 12 holes and enhancements ranging from new bunkers and tees to reconfigured water features and cart paths on the remaining six holes. In the meantime, hit the links at the club’s Padre Course, designed by world-renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills. Both McCormick Ranch and Camelback Golf Clubs opened decades ago and have since undergone the occasional renovation to maintain high standards of conditions and integrity of the original designs.

STAY & PLAY SUPERSTARS

Enjoy world-class resort golf at The Boulders Resort (www.theboulders.com), where the top-flight North and South Courses wind around and over the property’s namesake rock formations. Golf Magazine deemed the resort a Gold Medal award-winner in 2010, while Golf Digest ranked the resort No. 47 in its 2011 list of the “75 Best Golf Resorts in North America.” In 2011, Golfweek ranked the South Course No. 74 and the North Course No. 87 for “Best Resort Courses” in the country.

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (www.kierlandresort.com) offers three, picturesque nine-hole layouts, allowing golfers to mix and match to create a variety of playing experiences. Kierland Golf Club was one of first in the world to feature the G2 climate-control device that changes the air temperature in and around golf carts by more than 40 degrees – keeping golfers warm in the winter and refreshed all summer long. The Westin Kierland also pays homage to the Scottish immigrants who helped develop Arizona’s railroads, mines and towns by offering the Scottish Golf Experience where golfers don rented kilts and sample Johnnie Walker beverages while perfecting their swing on the course. Afterward, walk next door to the open-air shopping promenade Kierland Commons (www.kierlandcommons.com) or Scottsdale’s newest shopping destination, Scottsdale Quarter (www.scottsdalequarter.com), for some of the city’s finest shopping, dining and nightlife.

FINE TUNE YOUR GAME

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 (www.touracademy.com) lets attendees refine their game on the home course of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Stan Utley (www.stanutleygolf.com), the 9th ranked instructor according to Golf Digest’s 2011 “America’s 50 Best Teachers,” teaches his short-game magic at Grayhawk Golf Club. Headquartered at the Orange Tree Golf Resort, Golf Schools of Scottsdale (www.azgolfschool.com) specializes in teaching the technical side as well as the mental side of the game. The new Kierland Performance Center at The Westin Kierland Resort combines the benefits of the revolutionary Fore-Max Training System with overall wellness from Agave, The Arizona Spa, traditional golf instruction and ProFIT club-fitting to create the most comprehensive game-improvement program in the state. 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 (www.coolclubs.com) identifies, recommends and builds custom golf equipment that suits each golfer’s individual swing. Most recently, celebrated instructor Jim McLean opened the Jim McLean Golf School at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club (www.sunridgegolf.com). The school offers state-of-the-art group and individual instruction using McLean’s state-of-the-art techniques.

PLAYING FROM THE LADIES’ TEE

The Boulders Resort’s Fore Ladies program offers comprehensive instruction specifically designed to help beginners better understand the game. LGPA professional Jean Ashley Crawford revamped the resort’s golf program for women and combines three days of instruction with social activities in a comfortable setting. At Kierland Golf Club, female golfers receive instruction from Sandy LaBauve, named one of “America’s 50 Best Women Teachers” in Golf Digest. Her venerable programs are recognized by the Executive Women’s Golf Association as being among the best in the U.S.

BEYOND THE 19TH HOLE

The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (www.fourseasons.com/scottsdale) 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 Treatment Massage at Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a muscle-noodling blend of massage, stretching and acupressure. Stay in the game by keeping your muscles fit at the Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician (www.thephoenician.com). 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.

FAMILY GOLF

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 play. In addition, Troon North offers families the Monument Express 9-hole course, which plays to 1,500 yards; kids play free with a paying adult. Kierland Golf Club rolled out its SNAG Golf program, which teaches children the fundamentals of the sport utilizing modified equipment and specialized instruction methods to deliver great results and make the game more enjoyable. The Family Tee program at TPC Scottsdale makes golf more exciting 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 where they’ll learn game fundamentals from some of the top instructors in the country.

GOLF IS FOR LOVERS

Offered at both The Boulders and The Phoenician, Tee Box dinners are a romantic sunset dining experience set on one of the resort golf course’s most scenic locations. Just prior to sunset, guests are delivered via a golf cart to an elevated tee box bedecked with fine china, crystal, linens and candles, as well as offered musical accompaniment and elaborate custom desserts upon request.

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Posted by on Jan 15 2013. Filed under Van Nuys News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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