Spotlight

Cactus League baseball

Hope springs eternal: Spring training baseball and golf around the Cactus League

Each spring some 15 Major League Baseball teams come to Arizona for a month of Cactus League action. If you're going to be in Arizona checking out your favorite MLB team, make sure to have your golf clubs handy. There are numerous golf courses worth hitting that are close to the spring training homes of your favorite baseball team. Mike Bailey has more.
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Rolling Hills Golf Course

In Tempe, Rolling Hills and Ken McDonald golf courses offer casual, playable rounds

If you're looking for a good time and hoping for a good score out on the golf course, head to Tempe and play either Rolling Hills Golf Course or Ken McDonald Golf Course. Both are ideal for golfers who prefer tennis shoes to soft spikes, card more double bogeys than birdies, and would never spend $200 on a round of golf. Neither will ever show up on any top-10 lists, but if you want to get some exercise and leave with some money in the wallet, they're a great bargain.
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The Legacy Golf Resort

Solid play: Fun Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix boasts immaculate conditioning, affordable green fees

The Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix doesn't overwhelm golfers with its beauty; nor is it one of the most challenging courses golfers will find in the Valley. But what it does it does very well: It's an enjoyable 18 holes that's always in immaculate condition and doesn't cost a fortune. In other words, it's the perfect place to play if the local muni is too easy and courses such as Troon North are too difficult or expensive.
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Arizona Golf Destinations

  • Northern Arizona

    Northern Arizona will never be mistaken for the Valley of the Sun when it comes to golf, and therein lies the beauty. At elevations ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level, the northern part of the state presents golfers with a completely different set of challenges, landscapes, and (for the budget minded) price points.

    Palms Golf Club is situated just east of Mesquite in Littlefield. Built in 1989, it was the Mesquite area's first golf course. The layout balances the old and the new, creating a course with a lot of variety.
    Oakcreek Country Club is situated amongst Sedona's red rock mountains, providing unique scenery throughout. Opened over 40 years ago, it is Sedona's first golf course. The course was a collaboration between Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and his son. It is a classic, player-friendly layout that offers plenty of room for error.
    Elevation changes are the name of the game here with swings from the tees that could make the most even-keeled soul feel Vertigo. The drop from tee to the fairways is as steep as 350 feet.
  • Phoenix

    In Phoenix, golfers can play fantastic golf courses and without having to shell out nearly as much money as they would to play one of north Scottsdale's finest. In fact, rates at some of Phoenix's best courses can be had for as low as $50 in the winter and $20 in the hot summer months. Top plays include Raven Golf Club, The Phoenician, the Adobe Course at the Arizona Biltmore, and the Arizona Grand.

    As Jack Nicklaus II's inaugural Arizona course, Golf Club of Estrella offers a classic golf experience unlike any in the area. Following in his father's legendary footsteps, Jack II's daily-fee championship course is golf in the traditional sense -- challenging yet forgiving, and always spectacular.
    Situated just west of Phoenix in Litchfield Park, Falcon Golf Club is surrounded by the Estrella and White Tank Mountains. Nearly every hole offers beautiful mountain views. The course has a player-friendly design that still has plenty of variety, which gives it appeal to a wide range of skill levels.
    Historic, city-owned Papago Golf Course is a local favorite that sees more than 100,000 rounds a year. In 2008, Papago underwent an extensive, $5.8 million renovation by William Fuller, who formerly worked under architect Bob Cupp.
  • Southern Arizona

    Make the trip out to Arizona and the Phoenix area will attract you like a magnet with its legion of golf courses and resorts, all fighting over your golfing dollar. But if you are overwhelmed by the choices the "Valley of the Sun" has to offer, head south into spacious, affordable Southern Arizona. The small towns here have a certain charm that Phoenix, Tucson and Scottsdale lack, not to mention a handful of challenging, affordable golf courses.

    As Jack Nicklaus II's inaugural Arizona course, Golf Club of Estrella offers a classic golf experience unlike any in the area. Following in his father's legendary footsteps, Jack II's daily-fee championship course is golf in the traditional sense -- challenging yet forgiving, and always spectacular.
    Legacy Golf Club’s championship course features lush, green fairways, forgiving rough and strategically-placed hazards. Dramatic elevation changes provide extensive views of nearby Camelback Mountain, Squaw Peak and the Phoenix skyline. The resort itself features 328 suites with kitchens, a practice facility, pool, fitness center and tennis court. The facility also includes a fully stocked pro shop and a golf academy.
    The Golf Club at Johnson Ranch has a unique layout that features a front nine that is almost completely different from the back nine. After a relatively flat and lengthy first nine holes, golfers will face a back nine that meanders through rolling hills, experiencing dramatic elevation changes along the way.
  • Tucson

    Savvy Arizona golfers are quick to remind anyone who asks that the Valley of the Sun is like the Old Pueblo on steroids when it comes to fairways available for public consumption. But since the early 1990s, Tucson has made a respectable run in the realm of high-end resort and daily-fee golf. What's more, Tucson is not nearly as inundated with players as Phoenix or Scottsdale, and the Old Pueblo's lack of serious traffic issues will enable you to get from one course to another in a much more expedient fashion than in grid-locked Phoenix.

    Nestled in the desert foothills of the Tortolita Mountain Range, the 27 holes at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain feature dramatic elevation changes and stunning views. The Wild Burro/Saguaro golf course combines Nicklaus' favorite nine, Wild Burro, with the front nine of the Accenture Match Play Championship.
    Nestled within the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Preserve Golf Course in Tucson features excellent views as well as dramatic elevation changes. The layout features rolling fairways and undulating greens that cause uneven lies, but the golf course is still eminently playable for golfers of all skill levels.
    Quarry Pines Golf Club offers a mix of dramatic elevation changes and stunning mountain views with 18 enjoyable holes.
  • Scottsdale

    There's no other way to say it: Scottsdale -- and in particular north Scottsdale -- is a golfing Mecca. Nearly 200 public golf courses have been built in the Valley, and it seems like 198 of them are in six-mile square radius in north Scottsdale.

    Starfire Golf Club in north central Scottsdale boasts three nine-hole courses. Arnold Palmer designed the Hawk nine and redesigned the existing King and Squire Courses as well. To the Squire/King Course, Palmer added bunkers and water hazards that come into play on 13 holes.
    Desert Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills offers some of the best scenery of any of the courses in the area. The mountain setting provides the layout with elevated tee and green complexes with stunning mountain backdrops.
    The JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club offers two 18-hole courses, the Padre and the Ambiente. Nestled in Paradise Valley, the Ambiente Course enjoys stunning mountain backdrops.
  • Prescott

    Outside of Arizona, Prescott largely remains a mystery, its charming old-time downtown streets and its ancient Victorian homes almost as undiscovered by tourists now as Arizona was in general back before the gold rush boom of the mid 19th century. Not surprisingly, it's a few club-toting, birdie-seekers who are starting to change that. Prescott is emerging as a golf destination, a quality, lower-priced alternative to the crowded meccas of Phoenix and Scottsdale.

    Oakcreek Country Club is situated amongst Sedona's red rock mountains, providing unique scenery throughout. Opened over 40 years ago, it is Sedona's first golf course. The course was a collaboration between Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and his son. It is a classic, player-friendly layout that offers plenty of room for error.
    Elevation changes are the name of the game here with swings from the tees that could make the most even-keeled soul feel Vertigo. The drop from tee to the fairways is as steep as 350 feet.
    Nestled in a valley between the Mingus and Bradshaw mountain ranges, Prescott Golf & Country Club offers panoramic views, tree lined fairways and fast bentgrass greens. Opened in 1971 and designed by Milt Coggins, the golf course is a par 72 that stretches to 6,800 yards.