Scottsdale golf by season

By Brandon TuckerFebruary 23, 2010, 2:13 am
tpc scottsdale No. 16
No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale is a tourist attraction in and of itself

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Most of us already have a positive opinion of Scottsdale as a golf destination. After all, what’s not to like about dry, sunny weather with mountains as the backdrop? The PGA Tour loves it, evidenced by the Waste Management Phoenix Open being one of the longest-running events on Tour.

When you think about it, what’s not to like about golf in Scottsdale?

For more golf in Arizona, or to plan your next trip, visit GolfArizona.com
Well, for starters not every budget can afford the best golf courses in Scottsdale during the winter/spring peak season. But with every season comes different prices for accommodations and golf.

Besides the price you'll also encounter different weather, course grasses and conditions. A golf course in peak-season February is quite different from how it looks, plays and costs in May-November.

We've broken down exactly what to expect at the golf courses in each of the four seasons, to give you an idea of the seasonal rate structure. Each golf club has its own unique rate and conditioning schedule, so be sure to check with each course for specific details about your round.

Generally speaking, morning rounds and weekend rounds are premium, while afternoon and twilight tee times can be had for less than the rack rate.
 
January-April: Scottsdale's peak golf season

The peak season is where Scottsdale solidifies its reputation as a golfing paradise. Golf courses are in immaculate shape because the rye grass has had a few months to grow in since fall over-seeding. The bent grass greens, which many of the higher-end clubs have, shine in the cooler temperatures, so expect perfect. January and February can still be cold and yield some frost delays, but March and April can't be beat.

Since the courses and weather are at their best, it also means tee time deals are tougher to find and hotel rooms usually charge their highest. You can save a little cash by booking p.m. rounds at most clubs and golf packages through select resorts.

Sample morning green fees in March:

Talking Stick Golf Club: $175
Camelback Golf Club (Padre): $189
Kierland Golf Club: $205
TPC Scottsdale (Stadium): $272

May-June:  Scottsdale's spring shoulder season

The lush and green rye grass begins to fade away and the southern Bermuda grass starts to perk back up come May. But for golfers who simply must be in balmy shorts weather, this is an ideal time of year, with highs generally in the 80s and low 90s. Green speeds may start to slow a little as the temps rise, but they'll still be a good speed at most clubs.

Green fees come down in late April or May at most clubs but won't hit bottom until mid June or July.

Sample morning green fees in May:

Talking Stick: $110
Camelback (Padre): $109
Kierland: $140
TPC Scottsdale (Stadium): $157

July-September:  Scottsdale's summer off-season

This is hardly the 'off-season' for locals who salivate at the chance to play the area's top courses for pennies on the dollar. Of course, they do it with a tolerance for the desert's scorching summer heat. If you're visiting from a northern climate and aren’t used to four hours in 110-degree heat, you can try to book early tee times so you can be off the course by 10 or 11 a.m. Otherwise, load up on water, towels and sunscreen.

Courses with bent grass greens have to grow them out to a pretty furry speed, otherwise they don't stand a chance. The fairways and rough are Bermuda, and while not lush green like in the spring, they're quite playable and on the firm side. Also in the summertime, monsoon season means the most frequent storms passing through, usually in the late afternoon and evening. It can be a welcoming sight, because cooler air follows.

The courses can still be busy from the crack of dawn through the first couple hours of morning daylight. If you don't like slow play, make a 2 p.m. tee time, which often costs little more than cart fees, and zip around wide-open courses.

Sample A.M. green fees in August:

Talking Stick: $60
Camelback (Padre): $69
Kierland: $90
TPC Scottsdale (Stadium): $73

October-December: Scottsdale's fall shoulder season

Most golf courses close in September or early October for a couple weeks for over-seeding, which transition their Bermuda turf to a lush, cool-weather rye grass.

Rye grass plays and looks like northern grasses, but to get it up and growing, a great deal of water is required. This means that while the weather is usually ideal in the 70s, the courses, while green, can be wet in the few weeks after the course re-opens after over-seeding, so you can encounter plenty of mud balls.

The greens are back in fast conditions, and the rough is usually not grown out too thick yet, which makes for perfect scoring conditions. The weather this time of year is as good as peak season, with highs in the 70s, but there's the threat of frost delays once you head into December.

Because the golf courses aren't quite in peak shape, you'll save a little bit on green fees compared to peak season, but many hotels begin to reach their peak holiday rates.

Sample a.m. green fees in November:

Talking Stick: $130
Camelback (Padre): $149
Kierland: $165
TPC Scottsdale Stadium: $197
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CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream


Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Phil Mickelson

* This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

* For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

* He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

* This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.


Jon Rahm

* Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

* In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

* Last year he finished T-34 in this event.


Adam Hadwin

* Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

* In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.


Brian Harman

* Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

* Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

* Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.


Brandt Snedeker

* Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

* This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

* Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.


Patrick Reed

* Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

* This is his first start of 2018.

* Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.) 

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Teenager Im wins Web.com season opener

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Web.com Tour.

Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Web.com Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Web.com Tour event at age 20.

Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Web.com Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

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Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.


1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.