LOCATION: 19 miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “We have one of the most popular, scenic, highly regarded and family friendly daily fee golf properties and competition venues in Arizona and the Southwest,” said General Manager Bob McNichols. “Purists appreciate the beauty of the core golf experience that is Longbow Golf Club. No homes or roads intrude on the interior of the playing field. Avid golfers will also appreciate the short distances from green to next tee, making walking a most viable option. Strategically, no two holes are alike and all of them offer multiple options for shot selection. As it winds its way through a variety of diverse landscape habitats, including the native desert, high desert wildflowers, and rugged desert savanna around a three-acre lake, Longbow Golf Club offers a unique and memorable golf experience full of variety, challenge, and fun.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOTS: The view facing north while standing next to the fourth green captures the lake and beach bunker surrounding the green on hole six with the McDowell Mountain Range as a backdrop. Or right in front of the nine-foot-tall bronze archer icon for Longbow Golf Club that can be seen from The Grille at Longbow Golf Club patio restaurant and bar. @longbowgolfclub
DID YOU KNOW? A brand new Home2 Suites by Hilton Mesa Longbow opened right next to the 18th fairway this past July and offers traditional all-suite accommodations with extended stay for business or pleasure, stay–and–play, or “staycation” opportunities. It also includes a pool, access to The Grille at Longbow Golf Club, and access to the Longbow Fitness Trail.
LOCATION: 64.9 miles northwest of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “As our community has grown, there are more homes, but the setbacks from the course still leave you feeling as if you’re playing in the middle of the desert,” said Wickenburg Ranch General Manager Corby Foster. “It’s a favorable course off the tee, but with very challenging greens that can serve up multiple hole locations among their undulating surfaces. That’s why putting is key, and what really helps that is being on the appropriate tier of the green with your approach shots. The first nine holes play uphill with some forced carries. There are two par-threes in the first four holes, but then you face some really long par-fives, including the dogleg-right fifth and the all–uphill ninth. Once you get through the front nine, it’s all-downhill after that, literally. Just watch out for the wash that runs in front of 18 green; it has ended many hopes of reaching the closing par-five in 2 shots.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: Hole 13 (“Big Water”) is a stunning par three that looks down from an elevated tee to a green guarded by a lake and a beach bunker. No. 14 (“Yikes”) is a long par-five with a view of Vulture Peak in the distance. @wickenburgranch
DID YOU KNOW? During construction of the community and the course back in 2007-2008, more than 12 million cubic yards of dirt were moved to create a singular setting, making it one the largest projects of its kind at that time.
LOCATION: 7.8 miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, our course is both fair and challenging,” said Director of Golf and Tennis Ryan McKay. “The green complexes are trying, with some severe undulations. It benefits you to stay below the hole.” Golf course architect Phil Smith, who led a renovation of the course in 2018, said: “The Phoenician Golf Club is a tremendous experience for golfers. While challenging, everything is in front of you. There are no surprise bunkers or blind hazards. Everyone has the opportunity to make an informed decision on how to approach each shot.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: “Our signature hole is No. 13,” said McKay. “It’s a short par-four where if you look to the left, you will see Camelback Mountain, which epitomizes the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. If you look to the right, you will see downtown Phoenix and also enjoy panoramic views of the Valley of the Sun.” @thephoeniciangc
DID YOU KNOW? “We have had three U.S. Presidents play our golf course in the past 15 years, including one while in office, President Obama,” said McKay.
LOCATION: 31.5 miles south of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “We are unique in that we have no houses, no cacti, and no islands of turf in the desert,” said General Manager Brady Wilson. “We also overseed wall-towall to accentuate the Sand Belt look made famous on courses in Melbourne, Australia. With complimentary bottled water, a freshly paved parking lot, new Club Car lithium golf cars, some of the best greens in the Valley, and six different sets of tees, you are always going to get a PURE golf experience at Ak- Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: Limiting yourself to only one, or calling one the best, is hard to do here. In fact, Wilson challenges each patron to find their favorite and then tag the club on Instagram. However, if he had to choose, he would give you two holes, with multiple vantage points. From the fairway on No. 9, you have a great view of the green with the clubhouse as a backdrop. From the 14th tee, you can see all 10 bunkers on that hole with a great view of the Estrella Mountains in the background. @akchinsoutherndunes
DID YOU KNOW? Ak-Chin Southern Dunes will again host the Copper Cup January 16-17, 2022. Started last year, the event features a modified Ryder Cup format between the Arizona State University and University of Arizona men’s golf teams, both of which are highly ranked nationally. Don’t miss the incredibly delicious milkshakes, made from the same recipe that was once voted the best milkshake on the PGA Tour at Castle Pines Country Club in Colorado.
LOCATION: 34.5 miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “We have 36 holes that are unmatched in beauty,” said The Boulders Director of Golf Operations J.C. Wright. “Centuries ago, a geologic eruption left a series of rock formations that give our golf courses their distinctive look.” Designed by Jay Morrish, the North and South courses meld perfectly with the surrounding desert landscape in the shadow of gigantic granite boulder formations that are scattered in gravity defying piles. This is challenging desert golf with narrow fairways that lead to smooth and true putting surfaces.
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: No. 5 on The South Course plays right up to a massive group of rocks (called the Boulder Pile) and 40-foot-high, century-old saguaro cacti that look like tooth picks in comparison. No. 7 on The South Course, a par-three called “Rosie’s Rock,” includes a three-story high boulder that sits precariously atop a tiny one— just an arm’s length from golfers on the tee. Golfers often ask if this huge balancing rock might fall, but they can be assured that its been there for centuries. @thebouldersgolfclub
DID YOU KNOW? You may just have spectators watching during your round. Not human spectators, but wildlife such as coyote, cottontail rabbits, javelina, mule deer, quail, and roadrunners — there’s even a “friendly” bobcat — that make their homes in the desert. That’s why the Boulders has adopted the “Coyote Rule.” A tribute to the resort’s wildlife-rich setting, this local rule states that players may replace their ball without penalty if a coyote snatches it during play!
LOCATION: 32 miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “Troon North is the hallmark of the desert golf experience, with two 18-hole layouts stretching through natural ravines and foothills of the high Sonoran Desert, in the shadows of Pinnacle Peak,” said General Manager Brian Thorne. “The challenge, visual sensation, and special ambiance of Troon North set the standard by which all others are measured. The immaculately groomed courses and exceptional level of customer service created the renowned Troon Golf Experience. The Monument Course plays about 2 shots easier than Pinnacle and includes significant elevation changes that not only provide a challenge to our golfers, but allows for breathtaking views. While Pinnacle offers amazing views as well, it plays more like a links-style course, weaving it’s way around our desert landscape and offering a challenging and enjoyable mix of holes.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: Any angle of the massive and ancient course namesake rock on Monument No. 3 is worthwhile. Other spots on Pinnacle include the 11th green, which is back dropped by a hill with piles of rocks, and No. 16, which is just a beautiful green complex. @troonnorthgc
DID YOU KNOW? In 2011, Troon partnered with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) and has been home to that organization’s annual charity tournament every November. Since 2011, Troon and its facilities have raised $687,000 for PCH. Troon North has also raised $142,000 with various fundraisers throughout the fall leading up to the tournament.
LOCATION: 15.3 miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “Lookout Mountain is a resort-style course for the first six holes with plenty of room and not much desert,” said Director of Golf & Recreation Brett Trenter. “Over the next six holes things tend to get more target-oriented with many more elevation changes as the holes flow through the North Mountain Preserve. You start to capture the views of Lookout Mountain from there. The final six holes flatten back out but place a premium on accurate driving. It can be a bit of rollercoaster ride: things start out slowly, then pick up over the middle section, and then you just try to hang on to finish well.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: The tee on No. 10 is the absolute best place for a selfie thanks to a stunning panoramic view. The spot, located 140 feet above the fairway, even has its own hashtag: #highestteeinphoenix. @lookoutmountaingolfclub
DID YOU KNOW? Lookout Mountain was the host course for the 1989 Arizona Classic (then a PGA Senior Tour event) and also hosted the Skills Challenge from 1994 through 1996, featuring players from the LPGA, PGA, and Senior Tours.
LOCATION: 25.9 miles northeast of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “We’re nestled in the ravines of Arizona’s McDowell Mountains and colorized by dramatic sunrises and sunsets,” said General Manager Bret Greenwood. “Opened in 1996, this Scott Miller-designed course is a spectacular representation of desert golf, as it winds through natural box canyons, rolling hills, and lush desert valleys. At Eagle Mountain, you’ll find a challenging — yet fair — golf experience, with contoured fairways and immaculately maintained emerald greens throughout a par 71, 6,800-yard layout.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: One of the most photographed holes, as well as a great selfie spot, is the 18th. From the elevated tee you get a memorable view of the entire East Valley. @eaglemtngolf
DID YOU KNOW? Eagle Mountain recently completed an extensive bunker renovation project as well as other agronomic enhancements designed to improve long-term turf quality and playing conditions. The project, completed last summer, was focused on three areas: drainage, irrigation and bunkers. Drainage areas in approaches and landing areas were renovated to support turf health along with firmer and faster conditions. Bunkers were modified (some eliminated), reshaped and rebuilt incorporating a technically advanced drainage and liner system.
LOCATION: 14 miles south of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “Both of our courses are a fun and fair test of golf,” said General Manager Louie Unga. “The versatility of the Cattail and Devil’s Claw courses are remarkable in that they are suitable for casual, resort-style play, but also can be stretched out to accommodate the world’s best players. Whirlwind hosted the final stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School in 2017 and 2018.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: The giant Adirondack Chair near the clubhouse can fit an entire foursome for a photo! @whirlwindgolf
DID YOU KNOW? “We recently worked with Troon and Wild at Heart to re-home two burrowing owls that were displaced,” noted Unga. “Our agronomy team helped to build a temporary shelter for them and fed them for 30 days as they acclimated to their new home. Both owls are now flourishing on our property, which has become a haven for desert wildlife.”
LOCATION: 33.5 miles west of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “We have a classic target-style desert course with forced carries and plenty of bunkers,” said Trevor Finton, general manager of the Golf Club of Estrella. “Our fairways are very generous, but the bunkers are strategically placed to make things look tighter off the tee than they really are. The greens are pretty subtle, with many putts breaking toward the Southwest, kind of away from the Valley. We’re part of a fast-growing residential community and we host a lot of fundraising events for local schools, etc. The course has really become a place with a laidback vibe where many locals hang out.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: On the elevated 18th tee you have a great view of the Estrella Mountains. Another memorable option is on the par-3 17th where an elevated tee leaves you hitting over the desert to a green that falls right off a hillside. @estrellagolf
DID YOU KNOW? The course record of 60, from the 7,139-yard tips no less, was set by Point Loma University golfer Sam Cyr during a college tournament in 2008. That round included a bogey on the par-3 third and pars on two of the four par-5s.
LOCATION: 20.5 miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “We’re known for offering consistently excellent golf course conditions and guest service,” said Director of Golf Nancy Dickens. “Kierland has 27 holes with mountain vistas, desert landscapes, strategic bunkering, and a golf experience that is challenging yet fun. From its upper-echelon rankings in several national golf publications to its innovative programs and amenities, our trio of different 18-hole routings are must plays in Scottsdale. Designed by Scott Miller, three complementary collections of nine holes — Acacia, Ironwood, and Mesquite — each features its own flavor and strategy, but all are equally enjoyable and challenging.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: The final tee on the Acacia nine is the high point of the property and features a memorable panoramic view of a large lake that borders the fairway and The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa behind the green. @westinkierland
DID YOU KNOW? An Audubon Certified Sanctuary Program (ACSP) golf course, Kierland has demonstrated exceptional water stewardship practices, converting more than 30 acres of turf to drought-tolerant plants and landscaping, native trees, and 3,000 tons of decomposed granite. The course has also been named one of Golf Digest’s “9 Most Cheerful Courses in America.”
LOCATION: 36.7 miles northwest of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
OUR COURSE: “Here, you’ll find a departure from traditional desert-style golf, combining a parkland-type design with infinite desert vistas and mountain views,” said Sterling Grove General Manager Ryan Stemsrud. “A Nicklaus Design, the course offers unique challenges on and around the greens, while encouraging players to swing away from the tee with large fairway corridors. Offering four teeing areas with three combos, there are seven overall yardage options to choose from, with only one forced carry from the forward tees.”
INSTAGRAMABLE SPOT: Hole 13 is a medium-length par three over water with a green that has an infinity edge into the lake and the White Tank Mountains as a memorable backdrop. @sterlinggroveclub
DID YOU KNOW? Sterling Grove is slated to open its clubhouse and outdoor amenities in January, 2022. The new clubhouse includes the Copper + Rye restaurant, the Market at Copper + Rye, a movement studio, fitness center, steam rooms, bocce courts, three outdoor pools, a hot tub, and Bob’s Poolside Bar. Already open are sport courts, which include nine pickleball courts and five tennis courts.