Arizona Golf ? A Golfer?s Paradise

March 28, 2010

Arizona is truly a golfer’s dream. “I don’t think so,” you’re thinking. “I’ve heard about your summers.” Yes, they are hot. Really hot. But, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, “Let’s hear the rest of the story.”Arizona is a golfer’s dream for two major reasons: its weather and its magnificent golf courses.Arizona is noted for its desert climate, exceptionally hot summers, and mild winters, but the high country in the north features pine forests and mountain ranges with cooler weather than the lower deserts. In the summer, when the temperatures climb into triple digits on the desert, simply pack your clubs and go north. Flagstaff will welcome you with open tees. In the winter, head for Phoenix, Tucson or Yuma where lush greens and perfect days await you. The entire state boasts the lowest number of rainy days in the country generally assuring golf weather you can count on.. The average number of sunny days in its major cities?Phoenix 318Tucson 299Flagstaff 270Yuma 335Arizona also boasts of some of the greatest golf courses in the country. Some of the top courses are:Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia – In Golf Digest’s most recent 2008-2009 edition of its Places to Play guide, Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia was one of only 23 golf club’s nationwide – and the only golf course in the state of Arizona – to earn the publication’s coveted 5-Star designation. The 5-Star designation is determined by combining the opinions of official Golf Digest raters with the feedback provided by the general public on Golf Digest’s Web site. Golf Digest defines the 5-Star rating as “Superb. Golf at its absolute best. Pay any price to play at least once in your life.”Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia in Peoria is not just another Arizona desert course you play once … this is an experience that will leave you wanting more. Crafted by Gary Panks, Trilogy stops just short of the split rail-surrounded tee boxes that mark such historic courses as St. Andrews, Royal Troon or Maidstone, and has the taste of a Shinnecock Hills. Rolling fairways, intimidating native grasses and beautiful bunkering highlight this gem.The Boulders in Carefree – The Boulders Club, a semi – private country club for club members and resort guests, features a 6,811-yard, par 72 championship golf course and a 6,726-yard, par 71 championship golf course, both designed by Jay Morrish. The Boulders is world renowned as one of the finest golf resorts in the western United States. The courses are considered the most demanding in the Southwest, and are known for their rugged beauty. The course offers 36 challenging holes, golf pro shop, fitness center, restaurant, and a residential home development.Camelback Golf Club – The Indian Bend course at Camelback is one of the few area courses where the golfer must negotiate tight, tree-lined fairways off the tee. This traditional layout is a great change of pace if you’re planning on several rounds of desert golf. The Indian Bend Course is an American links-style 18-hole, Par 72 course. The course features secluded sand bunkers, rolling terrain, water hazards and beautiful mountain views.The recently redesigned Padre course is a fun and challenging alternative to the many desert-style golf courses in the Scottsdale-Camelback area. This traditional parkland layout offers a large dose of risk-reward holes. The Padre course is one of the truly underrated of Scottsdale’s premier courses and a round of golf here is always a fun experience.The TPC Stadium course is a resort-style layout operated by the PGA Tour and offers you the opportunity to play where the professionals play. It is located on the grounds of the AAA Five Diamond Fairmont sScottsdale Princess Resort and opened for play in 1986. The “Stadium Course” has gained immeasurable attention as the stage for the FBR Open (formerly the Phoenix Open) — the largest spectator event on the PGA TOUR. Each year, more than 500,000 fans flock to the TPC for a fantastic tournament.The course is beautifully defined with bunkering, elevation changes, water features and desert landscaping. It embodies the standards of excellence set forth by famed design team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. Built in the middle of the once barren Sonoran desert in 1986, this course is not dominated by its desert setting. There are plenty of carries over the desert from the tee box, but little desert on the course itself. The Stadium Course (see for more information) has much more of a parkland or links-style feel as opposed to true desert target golf. The short par-3 sixteenth hole (162 yards from the back) was considered the rowdiest on the tour, with more than 20,000 (mostly college) fans cheering on every shot to the green that is surrounded by five bunkers. Tiger Woods made the hole even more famous in 1997 when he aced it and the crowd roared from the moment he hit the shot until he pulled it out of the cup.Omni Tucson National Golf Course. As host course for the PGA Tour’s Chrysler Classic of Tucson and the Southern Arizona Open, the Omni Tucson National Golf Course takes center stage. Its traditional-style fairways cap a bluff overlooking the beauty of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The PGA pros rank the 18th hole as one of the most challenging finishing holes on the tour will have you swinging in no time.If you are looking for a native challenge in Tucson, try their new desert-style target course. This Tom Lehman designed course offers a combination of native desert vegetation with strategic fairway bunkering. Players can approach each hole in a variety of ways, keeping the course challenging and unique with each new round.There are many challenging and rewarding courses to play in Arizona and you can almost always depend on great weather that allows you to enjoy golfing somewhere in Arizona all year round.Arizona has a reputation as a golf Mecca, and it certainly doesn’t lack in the number, variety or quality of golf courses.