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I've been to Scottsdale half a dozen times in order to take advantage of the outstanding golf.
In this list, I try to highlight some of the accomodations and courses I've experienced.
This is an outstanding option for a golf group of four or more. Lodging features two, three and four bedroom suites, perfect for foursomes or eightsomes. This property also has arrangements with many local courses and can secure tee times at times and at rates that might otherwise be unavailable.
It is very affordable, but is not fancy or luxurious. Again, just what the doctor ordered for a group of guys (or gals) looking for a golf getaway. It is also very conveniently located just off Scottsdale and Pima freeway, adjacent to Scottsdale Princess and TPC- Scottsdale. Highly recommended.
Now, if you're looking to take your wife or honey on a super luxurious get away, this is one of your best options. Located about 20-30 minutes North of Scottsdale, in Carefree, this is an absolutely beautiful and peaceful resort. You have the option of a lodge room or renting a two or three bedroom condominium on the grounds (better if your bringing children).
The resort also features two world class, impeccably maintained and groomed championship golf courses. Bring money.
Another high end option, especially if you have children. This is a very large, high volume luxury resort. It has a 27 hole golf course and is located in the midst of Scottsdale. Don't go here looking for a relaxing vacation (that's the Boulders, the Biltmore or Four Seasons). There is always a lot going on here.
Another option for a romantic getaway with a loved one. Very relaxing and geared toward the older crowd. Located in Phoenix and not really convenient to anything except shopping. Two golf course on site that are a cut below the best. Not my favorite place to stay, but if you go out often enough, you should cross this one off your list.
Conversely, if you're a budget traveler, looking for a deal, you can save A LOT of money by staying at this Comfort Inn, located very conveniently near the corner of Shea and Scottsdale, only three blocks from Pima freeway. As Comfort Inns go, this is a notch above. Good, clean rooms, well stocked continental breakfast and close to many restaurants, courses and other attractions.
This is an excellent golf course if you want to feel good about yourself. Not nearly as punitive as many of the other desert "target" course. This tract has more grass and generous landing areas, many times bordered by sideboards which will gather errant shots. At one time, I could say that this was a bragain, a hidden gem, but they seem to have gotten with the program and you'll pay $200 in season for the pleasure.
I didn't play this course until my third trip because I'd been told that it was overrated. After playing it three times now, I disagree. Any time you have an opportunity to play a course that the pros play, you should do so. If for no other reason than you'll get to watch them every year play the same holes and shots that you did (with better result, though not always!). TPC courses are always groomed to perfection and the price is no more expensive than dozens of others in the area. Also, this course has more grass and less desert in play than almost any other course I've played in Scottsdale. If you've got a group of 10-20 handicap golfers, this is a course they can play without losing a dozen balls or getting cactus bit roaming through the desert looking for wayward shots. Great proshop and clubhouse as well. Joins the Scottsdale Princess hotel.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful courses I've ever played. Located on the McDowell Indian reservation and owned by one of the local tribes, this golf resort is awe inspiring and fun to play. The huge fountain which gives the name to Fountain Hills is easily visible from the driving range, though it is several miles away. When I played, they only had one course, they've since added a second.
Complaint: Rounds are difficult to book here. Do so well in advance. The pro shop overbooks rounds and play is very slow. In addition, they are firmly cart path only, which detracts significantly from the experience and slows play further. It is a healthy drive from downtown Scottsdale as well (30-45 minutes).
Located just across East Shea from Eagle Mountain, in many ways this is the antithesis of EM. The course plays out and back, with the front nine playing down a gully and the back nine playing back uphill to the clubhouse. Invariably, though challenging, the front nine is a scoring opportunity. Turning back uphill and into what is at times a 25 mph prevailing wind, the finishing stretch is a beat down. The course and clubhouse are beautiful and the course is very well designed and maintained. It's hard to feel good about yourself however, after going 37-47. I've done it three times (or similar scores), so don't make the trip unless you're near scratch, or looking for a challenge.
This is an interesting resort, located about 45 minutes southeast of Scottsdale. The resort is a poor man's La Quinta or La Costa, but the Dinosaur Mountain course is absolutely breathtaking. It is worth a round, just for the beauty. It is an extremely difficult course when the greens are running fast and the pins are in tough locations. So much so, that challenge sometimes bleeds over into farce. Nevertheles, wortth at least one trip.
The Monument and Pinnacle courses at Troon North are two of the most difficult, punitive and expensive courses you will ever play. If you are scratch, or in the alternative, a masochist, go for it. They're beautiful tests of golf and are connected with the nearby Four Seasons Resort.
Raptor and Talon are the two Grayhawk courses. Though mentioned in the same breath as Troon North, I've found them to be a cut below, both is layout and in grooming. It's possible that I hit them at a bad times. They are very well regarded and are equally proud of their tee times.
This is a course located north of town and managed by Troon North. Very nice course, a little off the beaten path (though the path is rapidly beating in that direction). Definitely worth the drive. At one time, it was relative bargain.
This is a funny little golf course that is located along the major drainage canal that runs through Scottsdale. It has high voltage lines running through it and I would imagine that the city or county probably owns the land on which it is built. Nevertheless, it is a fun course to play, and I found it well maintained and operated. It is quite inexpensive when compared to many of the other area courses. I'd definitely label it a bargain.
Restaurants come and go, and Scottsdale has a million of them (chain and otherwise), therefore I didn't think it wise to tout a lot of restaurants that might not even be in existence in a year. However, this is a special case. Barcelona is a nice restaurant, a high energy dance club and a martini bar all in one. You can book a 7 p.m. dinner, eat it to live entertainment, then stick around when things start to get wild. We left early (10 p.m.) and when we did, there were lines around the block to get in. Good meal and a good time.
Regardless of whether or not you are an architectural student or a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, this attraction is well worth your time. Extremely interesting tour of what became Wright's winter residence at a time before Scottsdale was even on the map.