I have had the opportunity to work on my golf game while Diana worked on rehab in Scottsdale Arizona. I made it my mission to try as many courses as possible during our three-month stay. Many area courses are hot, flat, and uncrowded in the summer and a fraction of high-season rates. Other courses provide more interesting (read: not flat) experiences with similar deals.
When The Temperature Goes Up, The Prices Go Down
High season golf in the Valley Of The Sun (Phoenix Area) can be very expensive. Some of the courses I played go for as much as $200 in high season (winter). I tried many other courses that charge between $50 and $100 for that time of year.
Summer temps can sizzle here. This year was particularly bad with more than 50 days at or above 110 degrees! With 100+ golf courses competing for my dollars, most of the courses were on a deep sale. On average, I paid below $30 for a round of golf, including cart. The most I paid was $60 for The Phoenician. The scenery and condition of the course made it more than worthwhile.
Many Experiences To Choose From
The golf experience spectrum here is quite varied. From exclusive resorts with manicured greens to a course surrounded by double-wide manufactured homes. You can choose what type of experience you are looking for. Most courses are typical 18 hole par 70-72, but there are several short and executive courses as well as 9 holes to choose from if you are interested in something less challenging.
Some courses feature a desert landscape, but many of the older courses are similar to what you might find wherever you live.
Websites To Check
I had two go-to websites to check for deals. TeeOff.com provides special rates on selected tee times at a variety of local courses and has no booking fees. A couple of guys I played with on one of the courses told me about BirdieBug.com that also has no booking fees. Their offerings often overlap, but each usually had something to offer the other didn’t, making it worthwhile to check both. Both sites work in many parts of the country, so I will use them both when I pick up the sticks again.
Courses I Played
My favorite course was Rancho Manana, up north in Cave Creek. The scenery was great, there was a fair amount of vertical change and the narrowness provided quite a challenge. I would happily pay another $35 for another go at it.
Tied for second were The Phoenician and TPC – Champions. Both had less terrain change and cost a bit more than Rancho Manana, but still worth it.
Honorable mention goes to Arizona Grand. This used to be a beautiful Hilton Golf Resort. It is no longer branded Hilton and the course is showing a lot of wear and tear. Still, the terrain was challenging and the course provided some great scenery.
Several courses were just uninspired. Encanto, Ken McDonald, and Palmbrook come to mind. The Biltmore – Adobe had some amazing homes surrounding it, but otherwise, it was not too interesting. The worst was Apache Wells. The water features were fun, but the adjacent double-wides just didn’t provide that golf on vacation vibe.
What is your favorite vacation golf course?