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We-Ko-Pa. Saguaro Course

Have a Memorable Golfing Experience in Arizona - Top 5 Resorts You Should Check Out

By Sean Petersen

Arizona is synonymous with desert landscapes, and its mild winter climate makes it a golfing heaven. Since the early 1960s, over 300 golf courses have been laid out across the state, the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, and the equivalent of Scotland's St. Andrews. Many courses are designed in a target golf style with narrow fairways, and some of them are eponymously named after the region's various cacti, which flank many emerald fairways in the hot and arid state.

Today, Arizona is home to 472 golf courses. With so much variety, it can be difficult for golf enthusiasts to choose the perfect course for their game, so we present you with five of the best golf resorts in the state where you can enjoy a few rounds with your friends or family.

1. Hyatt House Scottsdale/Old Town

Located in the charming Old Town Scottsdale, Hyatt House is ideal for your golf weekend getaway. The hotel is in close proximity to some of the best golf courses in the area. Verrado Golf Club and Talking Stick Golf Club are only two of the amazing golf clubs located near Hyatt House you should definitely play at if you're a golf aficionado.

In the shadows of the White Tank Mountains, a short drive west of Phoenix, you can find 36 holes of championship golf designed by PGA Tour star Tom Lehman. The Verrado Golf Club has two thrilling layouts meandering the desert, abounding in ancient saguaro cacti, old-growth Ironwoods, and abundant wildlife to distract you from unparalleled views of the valley. Both golf courses at the club stretch to over 7,000 yards, offering the player a very difficult test. The jaw-dropping views and rugged natural beauty will remain a memory that yearns for another opportunity to play at the Verrado Golf Club.

These are the two golf courses you can play at this club:

The Founder's Course: It features a dramatic mountainside setting with massive rock outcroppings, huge desert washes, picturesque box canyons, and dramatic elevation changes. The course also offers superb views of the White Tank Mountains and the Phoenix skyline. The course plays to almost 7,300 yards and will give even the most skilled player a thrilling test of golf.

The Victory Course: It's a generous, wide-open layout, and it may be even more player-friendly than the Founder Course, with no forced carries. Although at 7,258 yards from the back tees, this golf course has plenty of bite for anyone who dares to take on the whole course. There are five tee sets, beginning at 4,646 yards, so there's a setup for every player level. The Victory Course was built out of an old construction site with picturesque boulders in some of the fairways.

At Talking Stick Golf Club, you can immerse yourself in beauty, history, and peace as you embark on your journey through the Sonoran Desert at The Valley of the Sun's premier resort. The two golf courses at the club were designed by the acclaimed team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. While the O'Odham Course features broad, angular holes, rewarding thoughtful play through the rise of its many options according to one's skill level, the Piipaash Course offers a more straightforward style of play.

The O'odham Course's layout emphasizes accuracy, with fairways and greens strategically surrounded by brush and waste areas, and features a mix of long and shorter holes. Finally, the Piipaash Course has fairways that are tree-lined and greens that are elevated. There's some water that comes into play, too, if players aren't careful.

2. JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

If you're looking for a more luxurious golf vacation destination, JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is the perfect place for you. Immersed in the vibrant serenity of Arizona's Sonoran Desert, the resort offers a diverse array of experiences, including golf. You can tee off amidst awe-inspiring mountain views and lush fairways at Wildfire Golf Club.

The club's two championship golf courses were designed by legends Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo to highlight the state's incredible natural beauty. These are only some of the features of the two spectacular golf courses at the club:

The Faldo Championship Course: Playing up to 6,846 yards, the layout offers an inspired variation of the usual desert-themed courses. It features generous fairways, large greens, over a hundred sand bunkers, and multiple tee boxes. The surrounding mountains and century-old cacti become a stunning backdrop for a championship round. Spreading out over 174 acres in the shadows of the MacDowell Range, this fun and not overly tricky layout has been very popular with golfers of all skill levels ever since it opened in 2002. Nick Faldo took inspiration from the excellent sand belt courses of Australia when designing this course.

The Palmer Signature Course: Offering an incredibly scenic golfing experience, this golf course plays up to 7,145 yards. The expansive fairways enable golfers to remain in play even on errant shots. Furthermore, the flashed bunkering on the Palmer Signature Course is superb, and the putting greens carry plenty of undulation like many Arnold Palmer designs. From the century-old Saguaro cacti to the native grasses and painted backdrops, this golf course has rapidly turned into a must-golf destination. The Palmer Signature Course features mini-Verde greens with Bermuda fairways that are overseeded with rye, and due to the sunny weather Arizona is known for, year-round tee times are available.

3. We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort

Located 30 minutes from downtown Phoenix in Fountain Hills, We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort is a welcoming getaway where you can play, stay, and indulge to your heart's content. Discover timeless splendor and incredible adventures in the painted landscapes of the Sonoran Desert.

Since before time, the Yavapai have been the caretakers of these beautiful lands. And now, the owners have created a new destination that infuses this rich heritage with luxury and warm hospitality. There are two golf courses you can play at We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, namely:

The Cholla Course: As one of the most dramatic courses in the state, the Cholla Course expands across desert washes and over ridges, flowing into greens tucked into foothills. Threading through an expanse overlooking the Verde and Salt River Valleys, Red Mountain, and the Superstition Mountains, the golf course encompasses the essence of desert golf.

The Saguaro Course: It was designed by renowned course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The golf course incorporates design elements that are rare to the desert golf experience; the layout encourages walking as opposed to carts and resembles older, more traditional courses, where greens are close to tees, and the course follows the topography of the land. The Saguaro Course was chosen as the #1 public course in Arizona by Golfweek Magazine.

4. Boulders Resort & Spa

At Boulders Resort & Spa, you can now experience brand new enhancements, new greens, bunkers, cart paths, and challenging play on the sun-splashed terrain of the golf club, where you'll test your handicap on two award-winning courses designed by Jay Morrish and stretching across a mesmerizing desert landscape. These are the golf courses you can enjoy at the resort:

Boulders North Course: As the older of the two courses, it features scenic views of Black Mountain as it meanders through the Boulders community. It's built right into the desert foothills and offers breathtaking panoramas, including stunning boulder formations, striking Sonoran Desert sunsets, and natural desert terrain. However, you should keep your eyes open, as desert wildlife is often visible during play. Every day, golfers are surprised to see bobcats, rabbits, coyotes, or javelinas while hunting for a wayward shot.

Boulders South Course: This course provides players with much of the same experience they would find on the North course. The picturesque views and desert beauty continue. While the other course is the original at the resort, many people believe that the South course is the most picturesque. Actually, it has holes going right up into the boulder formations. While playing, you will encounter the signature "Boulder Pile" and "Rosie's Rock," two of the resort's most famous rock formations.

5. Wigwam Resort

Surrounded by the stunning Sonoran Desert landscape, this iconic resort offers a thoughtfully curated selection of luxury casitas and suites, along with a wide range of recreational amenities, including golf. Wigwam Resort is truly a golf heaven, and it features three memorable golf courses:

The Gold Course: For over 50 years, this course has been recognized as one of Arizona's most challenging golf courses. Also known as "Arizona's Monster," the Gold Course has hosted numerous signature tournaments over the years, including many U.S. Open Qualifiers.

The Blue Course: Like its sister course, the Blue Course is also a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design that opened in 1965. Both layouts feature Trent Jones' signature small, elevated greens. Still, that's where the similarities end, as this course is over 1,400 yards shorter from the tips and isn't quite as demanding off the tee.

The Red Course: Built in 1972, the Red Course features a traditional layout lined with pine and eucalyptus trees. The golf course's closing stretch of holes may just be the most challenging final four holes in the Phoenix area. The 15th hole is a 414-yard par-4 requiring a well-placed tee shot to bring par or birdie into play.

Whether you're living close to Arizona or on the other side of the country, planning a golf getaway in The Grand Canyon State will definitely be worth the trip, as you have a myriad of resorts and golf courses to choose from and enjoy with your friends or family. As you can see, Phoenix and Scottsdale have a lot to offer in terms of golf, so gather your loved ones and plan the perfect golf vacation in Arizona!

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Revised: 09/21/2023 - Article Viewed 2,819 Times

About: Sean Petersen

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