In Phoenix for a Cardinals game? Here's where to play golf near the stadium
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- You don't have to be a golfer to enjoy an Arizona Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium.
But if you do like to knock the little white ball around, there are dozens of quality golf courses within a 30-minute drive. The hardest part isn't getting on, but deciding which course to play.
Here are a few to consider:
Golf courses in the West Valley
Golfers who don't want to make the drive to north Scottsdale and its buffet of world-class courses can stay close to the Cardinals' stadium and still enjoy several quality 18-hole tracks.
One worth checking out is Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia in neighboring Peoria. In a market full of desert courses, Trilogy is a nice change of pace. The links-style course, designed by Gary Panks, stretches to 7,291 yards and features more than 70 bunkers. Golf Digest has given Trilogy its coveted five-star rating.
The retirement community of Sun City, about 10 miles up the road from the stadium on Loop 101, is a good option for golfers who don't mind leisurely rounds and old-fashioned, straightforward courses. Lakes West Golf Course -- a relatively simple par-72, 6,021-yard design -- features several creeks and lakes.
The best bargain in the West Valley might be Grand Canyon University Golf Course (formerly known as Maryvale G.C.), a muni designed by William F. Bell, architect of San Diego's famed Torrey Pines.
Golf Courses in north Scottsdale
It's an easy half-hour drive to some of the Valley's most recognizable courses.
A must-play course is TPC Scottsdale, site of the tournament formerly known as the Phoenix Open.
Anyone who's watched the Phoenix Open on TV will imagine himself on the par-3 16th hole, framed by 20,000 fans who boo when tee shots don't hit the green. Tiger Woods aced the hole in 1997, and as he walked away, the roaring gallery pelted the tee box with plastic cups.
Although it's a desert course, the Monument is a links-style layout designed by Tom Weiskopf as an ode to the British Open courses he so loved. One example: The 539-yard, par-5 ninth hole is called "Hell Bunker" in honor of the infamous monster sand trap on No. 14 at St. Andrews.
The Pinnacle is all about putting. The greens are huge and severely sloped. If your putts aren't falling, it could be a long day. Troon North isn't cheap, but it's one of those luxuries every golfer should afford at least once.
No golfing trip to north Scottsdale is complete without a stop at Kierland Golf Club. Not only are the 27 holes a treat both for their variety and distinction -- there isn't a cactus on the property -- but also golfers can tool around the course on Segways and hear an Irish bagpiper play behind the ninth green of the Acacia Course as the late afternoon sun dips in the sky.
Other golf courses to consider
It's simply amazing how many golf courses are within 30 minutes of the Arizona Cardinals' home.
Others to try include Raven Golf Club - Phoenix (formerly the Raven Golf Club at South Mountain and featuring more than 7,000 pine trees), the Raven Golf Club at Verrado (situated on the base of the White Tank Mountains) and Wigwam Resort (with three 18-hole courses). It seems you can't throw a tee without hitting one of the Valley's numerous golfing destinations.
So if you're going for the football, don't forget the golf balls. Just beware: The desert can hit as hard as a 260-pound linebacker.
September 7, 2011