When it comes to the links, Phoenix is home to everything from its namesake professional golf tournament to some of the top municipal courses in the US. It’s difficult to find a dirty or chopped-up course. Even the cheap executive links are in great shape.
Golf is hardly a retiree’s sport in Arizona. Young kids play. Teens compete in major tournaments. Executives play hooky to hit their country clubs. Average Joes play regularly with buddies and a cooler filled with adult beverages. Pros like Arizona State University alum Phil Mickelson and Tom Lehman, among others, live in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Dubbed the “Golf Capital of the World” by the National Golf Foundation, Phoenix is considered one of the world’s top golf destinations. A few mind-boggling statistics: A report by the Golf Industry Association of Arizona states that golf has an economic impact of $3.4 billion every year. The industry employs nearly 20,000 Arizonans.
The Valley’s courses are known as some of the most exclusive and expensive in the US. Flawlessly designed desert courses at the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale (home of the PGA’s Waste Management Phoenix Open), Troon North, the Phoenician, and other major resorts run pretty high greens fees in the pleasant cooler months. Fees at these top courses, and most courses, drop in the summer if you can stand the heat.
In 2005 the city of Phoenix first offered its Phoenix Golf Card, which gives players the ability to book tee times up to 9 days in advance. To take advantage, visit www.phoenix.gov/recreation/rec/facilities/golf or phone the call center at (866) 865-GOLF. You can also register in person at any Phoenix course pro golf shop. The card costs $100 per year and has a slew of added benefits, such as discounted rates and advance notice of specials, but it cannot be used at Papago Golf Course. A Premium Phoenix Card, which costs $50, is available to residents of Maricopa County only and may be used at all golf courses, including Papago.
For information on the Phoenix Open, see the Spectator Sports chapter. What follows is a list of some of the semiprivate and public courses in the area. Of course there are many exclusive private and members-only courses in town, but these are not open for public play. Keep in mind that greens fees change by the season, so you’ll want to contact individual pro shops for accurate quotes.