Destination: Arizona

Perhaps the biggest misconception is that Arizona is nothing more than a large desert. And while the Sonoran Desert with its majestic saguaros certainly dominates the landscape, the Grand Canyon State offers so much more, including mountains, rivers, big-time sports, skiing and great golf.

For golf there are three main regions - Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson and Northern Arizona. The Phoenix/Scottsdale region has more than 200 golf courses, arguably making it the golf capital of the United States. With Phoenix now the fifth-largest city in the United States (and climbing) and Scottsdale one of the country's top tourist and retirement destinations, the area has something for everyone.

The Phoenix area (as well as Tucson) is the spring training home to nearly a dozen Major League Baseball teams, and the city is also the regular-season home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the NFL's Arizona Cardinals and NBA's Phoenix Suns.

The area is also rich in Native American heritage, as evidenced by its restaurants, resorts and even golf courses, some of which are owned and operated by local tribes.

With the PGA Tour's Waste Management Open being played at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, the area is loaded with great venues, which are heavily overseeded in the fall to produce pristine playing conditions. Setting the standard in the area is Troon North, which features a pair of Tom Weiskopf designs that were recently improved through rerouting and a few other cosmetic improvements. Venues such as We-Ko-Pa and Grayhawk are usually at the top of everyone's desert golf course lists as well. The Phoenix area is also home to the always-affordable, Pete Dye-designed Karsten Course on Arizona State University campus in Tempe, and the classic William Bell-designed Papago Golf Course, which recently underwent a complete facelift, bringing better views of the wonderful Papago Buttes next to the course.

In Peoria, less than 30 minutes northwest of Phoenix, lies Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, the only golf course in Arizona to receive a coveted five-star rating from Golf Digest.

Further south in the Tucson area, you get a little different experience. The name Tucson is derived from the a Native American word for "spring at the foot of black mountain," which is just southwest of downtown. Tucson is also home to Arizona's "other" national park. Saguaro National Park, one of the country's newest, is second only to the Grand Canyon in number of annual visitors. The city is also known as great bicycling and spa location.

In nearby Marana, the WGC Accenture Match play is conducted at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, which has 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus signature golf. But Tucson golf has always had a good golf reputation. Its municipal system is considered one of the best in the country, and venues such as Tucson National (former home of the Tucson Open), The Golf Club at Vistoso, The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, The Westin La Paloma Resort, and Tubac Golf Resort and Spa are but of few examples of the area's outstanding golf offerings.

Northern Arizona, of course, is a totally different world than Tucson and Phoenix. During the late fall through spring, it is skiing, not golf that dominates the landscape. But when the snow starts to melt, golf courses from Prescott to Flagstaff provide an affordable and cooler alternative to the rest of the state.

Sedona Golf Resort, for example, is a terrific Gary Panks design with views of the surrounding red rocks that will make you forget what you shot. And as you make your way toward Flagstaff, the desert seems to disappear and the Rockies take over, giving you more of a tree-lined Alpine feel. Courses such as the Hale Irwin-designed Prescott Lakes Golf Club and the 36 holes at Antelope Hills near Prescott provide the perfect environmental contrast to Phoenix and Tucson.

See also

We-Ko-Pa GC

Destination: Scottsdale

Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the largest cities in the Valley of the Sun with nearly 250,000 residents, and golf has played a large part in its rapid expansion over the past three decades. Annually, visitors and residents play 12 million rounds on 51 Scottsdale courses. The city includes some of the nation's best public and resort courses and many of the top multi-course facilities in Arizona.
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Cave Creek Golf Packages
Dates: January 28, 2018 - December 31, 2018
Play at the beautiful Dove Valley Ranch, and stay at one of Scottsdale's finest resorts!
Price range: $199