Phoenix enjoys about 300 days of sunshine a year. Its desert climate can lead to some blazing-hot summers; the other nine months of the year, though, temperatures hover in the mid-70s. Due in no small part to its constant sunshine, the city has since ballooned into the fifth-largest city by population in the United States.The topography of the Phoenix area is a desert but by no means desolate. Camelback Mountain, located about 20 minutes south of the resort, is a designated city park area with scenic hiking trails that wind past boulders and red-sandstone formations. Hundreds of golf courses line the rugged landscape around Phoenix. Downtown Phoenix pulses with techno beats and rowdy live music shows, as a cornucopia of swanky bars and nightclubs keeps the party going downtown into the wee hours of the morning. For a laid-back nighttime experience, the sleepy neighboring city of Scottsdale has a number of rooftop lounges.
Palm fronds rustle in the breeze at Continental Golf Course, where players traverse a lush landscape of Bermuda grass under the gaze of a picturesque mountain peak in the distance. Designed by Greg H. Nash and Jeff D. Hardin, the relatively short layout surrounds two lakes, with water coming into play on multiple holes. On the 360-yard ninth hole—the course’s second most difficult—a narrow fairway leads to a small green protected by a right-side bunker and feral golf carts picketing for caddy status. The course's most challenging hole, the par-4 18th, presents a 340-yard dogleg right replete with intersecting waterways at the bend. Although the course lacks par 5s, the diverse landscape presents challenges for golfers of all stripes, from greenhorns to green-jacket holders.
Before or after rounds, golfers can refuel at the restaurant or drop by the driving range to stretch out their swings or employ the sage wisdom of an on-site golf pro during lessons.
Course at a Glance:
Foothills Golf Group’s four golf courses each carry the company’s signature: immaculately groomed sweeping landscapes. The 7,142-yard behemoth that is Club West Golf Club showcases this purity of the turf with a challenging course design filled with elevation changes and stunning views of the surrounding hillsides. The Duke At Rancho El Dorado and The Foothills Golf Club represent classic Arizona golf, leading players along a lush emerald carpet that winds through a desert landscape peppered with shrubs and cacti. The 6,713-yard Ahwatukee Country Club rounds out the portfolio with a fair layout that challenges all skill levels to keep the ball out of the desert sands haunted by the ghost of Peter O'Toole's caddy.
Shalimar Country Club's 2,417 yards of manicured golfing terrain are peppered with towering trees, slinking sand traps, and rolling hills. The design of the nine-hole, par-33 course masterfully incorporates its scenic assets—the fifth hole sits across a yawning lake, and the ninth hole's island green is flanked on all sides by water hazards, bunkers, and punks who steal golf balls for their solar-system dioramas. To be prepared to dodge these obstacles, players practice on a driving range and chipping-and-putting green. After their rounds, golfers can wander into the restaurant and lounge for a meal or a drink or peruse the golf shop to try on new apparel and test the mettle of name-brand equipment.
Course at a Glance:
Golfers aim their shots in between the fences that bookend the target field at Desert Mirage Golf and Learning Center's driving range. But their swings at the range—which emulates course conditions with natural grass hitting areas and earthworms that sneeze in golfers' backswings—are mere rehearsals for the main performance: a round at the Center's 9-hole course. The par-31 course offers five par-threes and four par-fours and features to a memorable finishing hole: a 322-yard par-four with a pond that runs down the left side.
A PGA Tour instructor and former tour player, Rohan Teasdale enhances players’ power and control by making each golf swing biomechanically sound. He operates his training school, G'Day Golf, at McCormick Ranch Golf Club, where he works with players of all skill levels to lower scores through the use of video swing analysis and a strict diet of sautéed golf balls. In addition to adjusting swing patterns to improve efficiency, Rohan also tweaks other facets of the game to produce well-rounded players. More than just a coach and instructor, Rohan acts as a full support system and friend to each student as they strive to reach their goals.