Chris BaldwinThis Week at Oct. 26, 2007

Don't wimp out on Arizona desert golf

There are golfers with less game-time intestinal fortitude than an 85-year-old on his sixth bowl of extra spicy chili. Guys who talk tough and come up smaller than Mini Me.

You know who you are. You're the duffers who avoid Arizona desert golf.

Which is like a dedicated skier only sticking to the bunny slopes. Sure, there are nitwits who claim desert golf is boring, or unnatural or just plain weird. These are the same folks gripping their space-aged drivers tighter than Homer Simpson strangles Bart at the first sight of a cactus near the fairway.

You know how people from Arizona lower their handicap? They go to someplace like Hilton Head or Florida. I had a great time playing a bunch of Florida golf courses last winter, but there's no doubt it's a step down in difficulty level from the desert. Another hole flatter than a pancake with a water clear? Whoo, how frightening.

Similarly, if you go to the Northeast after a prolonged run of desert golf, you feel like you suddenly discovered that long-sought swing fix. Until you get back, play a course like Boulders South and realize that no, the swing still stinks, the game's just easier without desert creeping in on doglegs.

This is why you need to take on desert golf if you're serious about the game. And no place offers a better combination of desert courses and off-course fun than Phoenix-Scottsdale or Tucson.

You'll lose more golf balls than you've ever lost in your life and find out if you have any guts. Heck, even Phil Mickelson, who knows desert golf much better than most pros having played at Arizona State, sprayed balls into the rocky sand during his brief missed-cut run at Grayhawk Raptor last weekend.

There's just something about hitting into the desert that messes with your mind like no other bad shoot too. Plop one in the water and it's sort of cool in a perverse way to see the splash. Sail one into some Canadian pines and at least you get a nice walk in the woods. There's nothing neat or romantic about trudging through stark desert rocks, trying to avoid cacti and other prickly bushes that sometimes seem to jump for you, in a vain ball search though.

It's just tough, a reminder of how bad you screwed up.

Arizona desert golf isn't for everyone. Wimps should stay home.

As always, welcomes your comments.

Tucson Golf Special at Vistoso Resort Casitas

Pointe Casitas at Tapatio Village Dates: October 1, 2007 - December 31, 2007

Relax 4 nights in the pristine desert of Oro Valley on the North side of Tucson at the Vistoso Resort Casitas and play 3 rounds golf at Omni Tucson National Golf Club, Heritage Highlands Golf Club and Ventana Canyon Golf Club, starting from $540.

Price Range: $540

For more information, please call 1-800-767-3574 or click here.

Scottsdale-Phoenix GolfWhen's the best time for an affordable Phoenix-Scottsdale golf trip? Try the early winter

It goes without saying that if you want a great deal on golf in Phoenix-Scottsdale, you'll find plenty of reduced rates in the midst of summer, when triple-digit temperatures are the norm. But the fact is, some great deals are available for this amazing Arizona golf destination in November and December, as well. The heat has subsided and golfers cam play some of the courses of their dreams for much less than they ever would imagine.

Also: Red rocks, art, and scenic golf in Sedona

CLIENT FEATUREThe Laughlin Ranch Golf Course - Clubhouse

Looking to purchase a new vacation or retirement home in Arizona?

Attention golf enthusiasts: Have you been considering purchasing a new vacation or retirement home? Freedom Realty Exchange (FRE), an online real estate auction company, has just announced the launch of their "Desert Oasis" campaign to auction 19 new single-family homes at Laughlin Ranch and Talon Pointe in Bullhead City, Ariz. With this online auction being a final closeout of inventory, it is the last chance for buyers to purchase a home in these premier gated communities, in a prime golfing destination. For more info, see

Let help you find your next home

Bachelorette Golf TripsGreat golf, nightlife make Palm Springs bachelorette party central

While Palm Springs, Calif. features amazing spas and shopping, for women that love golf, the Gary Player Signature Course at the Westin Mission Hills, the Desert Willow complex and TPC Stadium are just three golf options that make Palm Springs a great bachelorette party destination for ladies interested in golf. And with resorts like Desert Springs JW Marriott and Costa's nightclub, there's plenty do when your round of golf is over.

Also: Palm Springs golf unaffected by California fires

Palm Coast Breakaway

Palm Coast Golf Package Dates: August 21, 2007 - December 31, 2007

Stay at Hampton Inn - Palm Coast and play The Grand Club - Pine Course and The Grand Club - Cypress Course starting at $249.00.

Price Range: $249 - $417

For more information, please call 1-800-767-3574 or click here.

Bad When you're playing truly bad golf, even Jesus can't help

When your golf swing has gone to hell, you're grouchy and rude. You hate everything and everybody. That's what's happening to Tim McDonald, who is currently hitting his driver short and stupid and with a hook the size of the Florida Panhandle. McDonald has received tips from anyone and everyone and still his game is a complete mess. He's even looked through old issues of Golf Digest. So what's a golf writer to do when his golf game is embarrassingly horrible? Perhaps now's the right time to find some religion.

Blog: Newspaper calls LPGA players "Beautiful, well-dressed and weak"

Columbia Golf Packages
Dates: October 1, 2018 - February 28, 2019
Dare to Compare! Enjoy 3 nights and 3 rounds of golf in South Carolina’s capital, Columbia. Golf Packages Starting at $279 per person!
Price range: $279