Resort Suites of Scottsdale: Welcome Golf Warriors and Partiers

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Three words: Personal Vacation Planner.

You don't have to be a millionaire or a movie star to have one. Resort Suites of Scottsdale will provide you with one should you decide to stay in one of their suites during your golf trip to the Valley of the Sun. Once most golfers discover this facility nestled between the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale and Grayhawk, the decision becomes a no-brainer.

"We have a diverse number of floor plans that make our suites conducive to golfers," says general manager Rick Hamilton. "We have one and two bedroom suites with full kitchens, and we also have four bedrooms suites that are 1800 square feet. With us, you don't have to line up four or five rooms at a hotel. Guys can get together at night and play cards and do what they do in the same suite, all with separate rooms."

Unlike a golf package provider, Resort Golf Suites travels the road of the upscale steak house by offering a la carte stay and play arrangements. When a golfer calls into Resort Suites to book a room and a golf vacation, he or she is immediately forwarded to one of the company's experienced vacation planners.

The vacation planner asks the golfer some basic questions, gaining an understanding of skill level, familiarity with the local golf scene, and budget. Based on the information gained from this extensive interview, the vacation planner recommends a series of golf courses to fit the golfer's every need.

"A typical resort suites client travels with three other players and plays golf every day," Hamilton says. "From there, we essentially have two types of players. There is the 10 a.m. player that wants to stay out late and have some drinks and dinner, and play 18 holes a day. Then there is the battle-hardened veteran having breakfast at 6 a.m., teeing off by 7:30 a.m., and then teeing off again by 1 p.m. There is the golf warrior and the golf partier."

Warriors and partiers alike will be glad to know that the vacation planners aren't just pencil pushers looking at brochures of the Valley's 100 plus golf courses. Each vacation planner, including Hamilton, heads out each weekend to play a different course, gathering information on rates, course conditions, and service levels.

"It is a tough business, but someone has to do quality control for this operation," Hamilton chides. "Seriously though, we want to be able to give players the first and last word on the 60 plus course that we work with in the area, as well as the ones we don't work with. If a new course opens, we are there. If an older course gets a face-lift, we are there. The planners know their reputation is on the line, so they give the best updates on conditions and new courses."

Resort Suites has a proud tradition of working with some of the best golf courses in Scottsdale, which in turn translates into some of the best venues in the western United States. But Hamilton feels that the perception that Scottsdale is for wealthy, upscale daily fee golfers only, is misplaced and needs to be corrected right away.

"With Troon North (at right), and Grayhawk, and the Boulders, it's easy to categorize us as a high end daily fee destination," he says. "But what we have that Las Vegas and Palm Springs lack is a group of 30-35 courses that are affordable and incredible plays like Wildfire, Kierland, Anthem Country Club, Sun Ridge Canyon and Dove Valley Ranch. Scottsdale has ridden the coattails of those high end facilities, but what we are doing now is trying to educate everyone as to the depth of the golf here."

Resort Suites is conveniently located for golfers who want quick access to both top of the line and middle tier courses. Within a five to six mile drive of the property are 12 golf courses, and Kierland, with its 27 holes of pristine desert golf, is just two miles down the road.

One of Resort Suites' most unique guest services is its ability to book tee times at local private courses, such as Anthem Country Club and Tonto Verde. Hamilton says that these private facilities realize that a majority of Resort Suite clients are potential members, and traveling golfers are given the red carpet treatment upon their arrival.

"We can get golfers on courses like Tonto Verde, where they can play 36 holes on the two courses," Hamilton says. "They will be treated like members, from the bag drop to the 19th hole. With the daylight limited in the winter months, it's a great chance to fit in two rounds without having to travel."

Because Resort Suites doesn't specialize in golf packages, per se, Hamilton says that golfers are typically offered the "rack" or off the street rate at the courses he works with. However, the lack of discounts is offset by the fact that Resort Suites is able to secure tee times at the Valley's finest courses three to four months in advance.

"We are starting to push the envelope with the courses we work with quite a bit by getting advanced tee time discounts," Hamilton says. "But we want to stick with our concept of giving you exactly what you want. We don't force feed anything, in terms of a golf package that tells you where you can play. You get your room and then you pick your courses with a trusted adviser."

For more information on Resort Suites, call 800-767-3574.

Hamilton's Analysis

Resort Suites general manager Rick Hamilton and his vacation planners are considered experts on the golf courses of the Valley of the Sun. Here is their breakdown on some of the toughest, and most player friendly courses in the Phoenix area, with their comments in parenthesis.

Score Card Wreckers: Las Sendas (forced carries, undulating greens), the Talon Course at Grayhawk (target golf with teeth), Dinosaur Mountain at Gold Canyon (the views will distract you from the 200 yard carries), the Pinnacle Course at Troon North (the granddaddy of target golf.)

Sympathetic Layouts: Anthem Country Club (built for members who play everyday), Eagle Mountain (feels like the desert, but you can play your normal game and shoot your regular score), Kierland (wall to wall grass with fairways that feed to the middle), Wildfire (new Faldo Course will be available for $100, what is more sympathetic than that?), and Dove Valley.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of from 1997 to 2003.

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