Fall is the perfect time to tee it up in one of the country’s great golf destinations – Scottsdale, Ariz. The weather is ideal, the winter crowds have yet to arrive and the courses are well groomed.
This fall will see big changes at many of Scottsdale’s more popular golf courses. First among these will be the completion of a $1.8 million renovation project on We-Ko-Pa Golf Club’s Cholla Course, one of the highest-rated golf courses in the state, located on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. The renovated course opened this past Sept. 16 with new greens comprised of MiniVerde Ultra Dwarf, which provides faster, truer-rolling greens that hold the ball extremely well.
Additionally, the bunkers received new sand and drainage work to improve playability and prevent pooling during winter storms. The irrigation system was modernized to enhance conditioning and efficiency of water use.
Finally, Cholla’s mammoth 605-yard, par-5 8th hole was remodeled, widening the landing area on the second shot, giving players a more realistic risk/reward opportunity.
Coming in early November, Verde River Golf & Social Club will unveil its new look following a substantial six-month remodel overseen by PGA Tour star Tom Lehman and his design partner, Chris Brands, of Lehman Design Group.
Among the more dramatic changes players will notice is the “turning of the clock,” which alters the routing of the golf course so the previous ninth hole is now the opening hole. The previous first hole is now the second hole, and so forth throughout the first nine and the back nine.
“Turning the clock” in this way, Lehman said, will better accommodate the new clubhouse location, enhance access to the club for both residents and guests, and the result will be a compelling new start and finish to the Verde River golf experience.
Other strategic changes will provide a good blend of challenge and accessibility for different types of players. For example, the standard and forward tees have been repositioned to reduce forced carries and create better angles to fairways and greens for intermediate and novice players. Championship tees have been reconfigured to further challenge professionals and strong players.
Shortly after the first of the year, Mountain Shadows Resort Golf Club will open its new golf course, designed by acclaimed local golf course designer Forrest Richardson, who was a protégé of Arthur Jack Snyder, the designer of Mountain Shadows’ original golf course. The Richardson-designed golf course will be an 18-hole, par-3 course built atop the former golf course site with outstanding views of nearby Camelback Mountain.
Scottsdale is celebrating its status as “The world’s finest golf destination” by hosting the inaugural Scottsdale Golf Week, Dec. 5-11. The week’s highlights include enticing promotions, activities and a unique golf adventure called “The Gauntlet.”
The Gauntlet tournament, comprised of three rounds of world-class golf at three of the best courses in Arizona, features rounds at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club and Grayhawk Golf Club and a final “obstacle golf” round on the Monument Course at Troon North Golf Club. Designed for players’ amusement, players are forced to use creative, inspired shot-making skills to navigate the course.
Challenges will include pressure-launcher tee shots; putting to small and large cups; target tee shots; and playing with antique clubs. Rates for The Gauntlet start at $2,500 per person and $4,500 per couple, and include accommodations at the AAA Five Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
Or if classic golf is more your style, consider a Scottsdale Golf Week package:
- Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North: Book two nights and receive $100 resort credit
- Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain: 20 percent off a one-night stay plus breakfast at the resort and golf at Camelback Golf Club
And since you can’t be on the course all day, fill your itinerary with Scottsdale Golf Week activities including:
- Free 30-minute demonstration on the Robo Swing Trainer at Boccieri Golf
- Daily putting and trivia contests at PGA Superstore’s two Scottsdale locations
- All-day happy-hour pricing at McDowell Mountain Golf Club
Eight 10-player PGA Junior League Golf teams comprised of golfers from across the nation will advance out of the regional championships during September and October qualifying to contend for the title. The teams will compete in a two-person scramble format, with coaches allowed to substitute players every three holes.