Play the best golf courses in the Phoenix area

Swing for the hills – or the waters of the desert – on one of the valley’s many legendary fairways and award-winning golf courses.

arizona biltmore

2400 E. Missouri Ave, Phoenix
602-955-9656
azbiltmoregc.com

Presidents, Hollywood figures and various personalities have all trod the fairways of this classic Central Phoenix golf club, the brainchild of chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., who also built the eponymous mansion across the street. Choose from the Adobe course, built in 1928, or the shorter Links course, which offers striking views of the downtown Phoenix skyline from the 15th hole.

Blackstone Country Club

12101 W. Blackstone Dr., Peoria
623-707-8700
www.vistancia.com

A Golf Digest award winner, this 18-hole, par 72 course located in the luxury community of Vistancia was designed by Jim Engh and features deep channels and black volcanic rock.

The rocks

34631 N. Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree
480-488-9028
bouldersclub.com

This challenging duo of golf ball-devouring desert courses may drive you crazy, but the stunning setting among
copper-colored rocks, Jay Morrish’s GOLF Magazine Gold Medal-winning layout, and the occasional bobcat sighting.

Eagle Mountain Golf Club

14915 E. Eagle Mountain Parkway, Fountain Hills
480-816-1234
eaglemtn.com

Elevation changes provide sweeping views of the saguaro-striped Sonoran Desert at this Fountain Hills golf course. Immaculate greens and memorable holes make this top-notch course a winner.

Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

golden canyon

6100 S. Kings Ranch Road, Gold Canyon
480-982-9449
gcgr.com

The award-winning Dinosaur Mountain course at this 36-hole golf club set in the towering Superstition Mountains. The elevation changes and undulations make this a thoughtful course where choice of club is key, but you’ll be rewarded with plenty of eye candy in the form of cactus-strewn scenery and tower-sized monoliths. a mammoth.

Golf club in Estrella

11800 S. Golf Club Drive, Goodyear
623-386-2600
estrellagolf.com

This highly ranked course in faraway Goodyear is a great precursor to an Indians or Reds spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark. But even if you’re not a Buckeye State fan, this Jack Nicklaus Jr.-designed desert course is worth the trip, for its lush desert setting (not an oxymoron), mountain vistas, and epic fence stretch.

Gray Falcon

8620 E. Thompson Peak Parkway, Scottsdale
480-502-1800
grayhawkgolf.com

If it’s good enough for Phil Mickelson, it’s good enough for the rest of us. “Lefty” has been the ambassador of this award-winning club since its inception. After playing the Raptor course, dine at Phil’s Grill and check out his ASU memorabilia.

Las Sendas

7555 E. Eagle Crest Drive, Mesa
480-396-4000
lassendas.com

With contoured fairways leading to elevated greens that slope into bunkers, this course requires a bit of strategy. But it prides itself on its nature-friendly, unadorned Robert Trent Jones Jr. design as much as its views of the Usery Mesa Mountains.

Photo courtesy of Lookout Mountain Golf Course

Lookout Mountain Golf Course

11111 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
602-866-6356
pointegolf.com

A Troon golf experience, Lookout Mountain Golf Course at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort offers excellent views of both its namesake and Piestewa Peak. Twelve holes on the course play through unspoiled land, providing golfers with uninterrupted views.

McCormick Ranch

7505 E. McCormick Pkwy., Scottsdale
480-948-0260
www.mccormickranchgolf.com

McCormick Ranch’s two resort-style courses offer stunning views of the Camelback and McDowell Mountains. The Palm Course features 10 water holes that provide a challenge for golfers of all skill levels, while the Pine Course serves as the regional qualifier site for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. An ideal location for guests of the neighboring Scottsdale Resort.

Photo courtesy of Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale

mountain shadows

5445 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley
480-624-5433
mountainshadows.com

Fancy a quickie? The 18-hole “short course” at the Mountain Shadows boutique is a 54-par charmer that’s tailor-made for beginners and die-hards on a schedule. Located at the base of Camelback Mountain, it also offers stunning views of Paradise Valley, aka “PV”.

papago

5595 E. Moreland Street, Phoenix
602-275-8428
papagogolfcourse.net

As Caddyshack star Rodney Dangerfield would have said, city-owned yards are not respected. The exception is Papago. As the best golf course in the valley, it was deemed worthy of hosting an LPGA Championship in 2009. Designed in 1963 by Billy Bell of Torrey Pines fame, this challenging traditional course has been improved to a height of 5, $8 million in 2008. Now it’s as magnificent as its views of the Martian-like Papago Buttes.

Photo courtesy of The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale

The Phoenician

6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale
480-423-2450
thephoenician.com/golf

Akin to a golf-themed biosphere, the Phoenician’s 18-hole course – recently redesigned by architect Phil Smith – checks the name of several ecosystems, with dizzying elevation changes, holes carved into the Camelback foothills Mountain, palms, saguaros, fountains and flowers – sand-covered lakes and Arizona’s only green sand island.

Sun Ridge Canyon

13100 N. Sunridge Drive, Scottsdale
480-837-5100
sunridgegolf.com

This saguaro-strewn course offers stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Water hazards won’t be much of a problem, but desert wash areas that undulate over multiple fairways will keep you on your toes. You might want to down an Arnold Palmer before tackling the final sextet of swing test holes, dubbed the “Wicked Six.”

PTC Scottsdale

17020 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale
480-585-4334
tpc.com/scottsdale

Every year, pros and crowds flock to TPC for the Waste Management Phoenix Open (see pages 76-77 for more info and tips). Recreate their glory on the Stadium Course designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, or the equally enjoyable Champions Course. Pro tip: Look for the odd 13th hole bunker.

North Troon

10320 E. Dynamite Blvd, Scottsdale
480-585-7700
troonnorthgolf.com

Tom Weiskopf sculpted the Monument and Pinnacle courses in the desert. Its ingenious design, along with its pristine greens and breathtaking views, is why these rock-strewn beauties are consistently ranked among the best courses in the state.

Photo courtesy of Verrado Golf Club

Verrado Golf Club

4242 N. Golf Drive, Buckeye
623-388-3000
veradogolfclub.com

In the spring, brittlebush stains this West Valley desert course designed by Tom Lehman yellow, gilding the already picturesque setting of the White Tank Mountains. Wide fairways and mostly flat terrain make the layouts of the Founder’s Course and Victory Course quite forgiving, but there are some elevation changes and those dreaded washout areas.

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club

18200 E. WeKoPa Way, Fort McDowell
480-836-9000
wekopa.com

Saguaros and mountains ripple over the rolling fairways of this award-winning pair of 18-hole Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation courses. Thanks to the absence of buildings offering stunning views, the original course at Cholla and the new course at Saguaro make golfers forget that they are close to civilization.

Westin Kierland

15636 N. Clubgate Drive, Scottsdale
480-922-9283
kierlandgolf.com

With options for getting around on a Segway or Kierland TurfRider (two-wheeled scooter), these three Scott Miller-designed nine-hole courses are perfectly calibrated for the modern golfer. It is also central to Scottsdale shopping and dining, with easy access to Kierland Commons.

The Wigwam

300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park
800-909-4224
wigwamarizona.com/golf

These resort greens offer a trio of 18-hole championship golf courses (including two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr.), dubbed the Gold, Blue and Red courses. The Gold course is a favourite, stretching 7,430 yards from the tees and presenting a myriad of challenges including numerous sand traps and ultra-narrow fairways. The easy part? Enjoy the views dappled with palm trees.

Fires

5350 E. Marriott Drive, Phoenix
480-473-0205
jwdesertridgeresort.com

Nick Faldo and Arnold Palmer each designed a lush 18-hole desert course at this JW Marriott club. The Palmer route is longer and possibly more difficult; the Faldo course sports generous fairways but plentiful bunkers (108, to be exact) so resembling strands you’ll feel like you’re on a beach course.

Photo courtesy of JW Marriot Desert Ridge

Michael C. Ford