Where to stay & play on a Scottsdale golf trip
One of the US’ leading golf destinations - dovetail Scottsdale’s exciting downtown with the surrounding desert landscape for your next golf package.
Scottsdale has long been a popular vicinity for golf trips and for those who are coming from colder climates, it’s a favored golfing winter retreat, with perfect playing conditions and world-class desert layouts. Off the course, it is a special destination for visitors. The cuisine is delectable, largely influenced by Mexico, and Downtown Scottsdale is both fun and quirky, with each district providing something new and exciting.
On the course, there are very few destinations in the US that match both the quality and quantity. From the famous TPC Scottsdale, host venue of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, to the likes of We-Ko-Pa and Troon North, we break down the top courses and resorts for your next Scottsdale golf trip.
There are two award-winning courses at We-Ko-Pa – Saguaro and Cholla – and they both ranked by Golfweek in the top seven public courses in Arizona. Scott Miller is the visionary behind the Cholla, which opened for play in 2001, while a collaboration in 2006 between Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw has helped deliver the challenge that is the Saguaro. Golfweek rank the Saguaro as the ‘Number One Public Access Course in Arizona’ – and for good reason too. Plus, with the addition of We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, this is a great stay & play destination.
Grayhawk is another facility that boasts two excellent golf courses, the Raptor and Talon. Previously, the complex has hosted the PGA TOUR's Frys.com Open (now Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and Safeway Open) and with the venue set to host the 2022-2024 NCAA men’s and women’s golf championships, it’s easy to understand why this is such a reputable hub.
The Raptor Course is a remarkable Tom Fazio design with emphatic length needed off the tee, while the Talon Course focuses more on tighter fairways, where accuracy reigns over power and distance. Both courses provide immaculate greens, and despite the length needed on the Raptor Course, putting well is the secret to scoring well at this world-class facility.
Boulders Resort & Spa oozes class, which is highlighted by being awarded ‘Best Golf Resort in the Southwest’ by Golf Digest and ‘Best Hotel in Arizona’ through Travel and Leisure. The two golf courses, in addition to the first-class hospitality offered by the resort, are of magnificent quality. The South Course is stunning from both a visual and performance perspective, with the rugged desert dominating the landscape. The alternative North Course can rival the South on both fronts, with exceptional views of Black Mountain and providing a comprehensive test of golf.
The premium destination for golf in Scottsdale, TPC Scottsdale is located approximately 20 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and ten miles from the Old Town. Ardent golf fans will be fully aware of the annual PGA TOUR tournament that is held here, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but there are 36 holes of golfing magic on offer.
The Stadium Course is renowned globally for the atmosphere the 20,000 bystanders encapsulating the 16th hole generate during competition week, whilst The Champions Course can provide an excellent alternative experience, offering a gentler journey to novice golfers. Whatever route you decide upon, TPC Scottsdale has all the facilities to deliver an unforgettable experience.
Typically, with multiple courses at a club, one layout is determined to be more challenging than the other. However, at Troon North, that’s not the case: both courses provide a hefty challenge. The Pinnacle Course is visually spectacular, with vistas of the vast desert and mountain views dominating the round. The Monument will demand the best of a golfer’s short game as the greens roll fast and the plentiful bunkers offer valid protection.
The complex at Hyatt Regency is the definition of luxury, as it boasts a golf course, stylish accommodation options and extra amenities to keep your group occupied. Gainey Ranch Golf Club is the facility that is associated with the complex, and you can only access it privately or as a guest staying at the Hyatt Regency Resort.
There are three nine-hole loops to choose from, all designed by Benz and Poellot, and various tee markings encourage golfers of all abilities. Hyatt Regency Resort has previously been included in both the ‘Top 75 Golf Courses in the United States’ by Golf Digest and ‘Top 100 Resort Golf Courses’ in the World through Golf Magazine
Westin Kierland is located in the Kierland Community, just a 30-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The resort combines luxury accommodation and hospitality, with all the benefits of the surrounding desert landscape – which makes for a great round of golf.
The golfing experience comprises of 27 championship golf holes (Ironwood, Acacia and Mesquite) and you can choose which two loops to tackle to conjure the experience you are seeking. There are 732 rooms available at the resort, all boasting high-speed internet, coffee facilities and room service. The complex also has its own spa and leisure centre, which is ideal for those recovery days.
Ak-Chin is another must-play venue in the area. It may be located 45 minutes south of Scottsdale, but the paradisiac environment that awaits certainly justifies the journey. As a result of the dunes-style layout, precision from the tee is the most important aspect of faring well and posting a respectable score. However, the true difficulty lies with the bunkers, and in particular, their depth. A collection of the greens are multi-tiered and due to tee markings which range from 5,100 yards to in excess of 7,500, every ability of golfer will find a challenge at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.
The Piipaash layout is regarded as the easier of the two. Golfers will be looking to take advantage of the flat fairways and reasonably sized greens, but there’s plenty of water to avoid on the back nine. Generous fairways are also found on the O’odham Course, but your shot-making ability will be firmly tested, as there are a plethora of deep bunkers awaiting any errant shots or decisions.
Senior Golf Vacation Specialist
Senior Golf Vacation Specialist, I advise clients on golf courses and accommodation options across the US, Mexico, and Caribbean