Hope springs eternal: Spring training baseball and golf around Arizona's 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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Saddle up for a rolling round at StoneRidge Golf Course in Prescott Valley, Arizona
Saddle up tight in Arizona's cowpoke country for a buckin', rollercoaster ride of a round at StoneRidge Golf Course in Prescott Valley.
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Arizona Golf Destinations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.