In Phoenix on business? Top golf courses for entertaining clients and colleagues

By Travel ArticlesDecember 3, 2012, 6:31 pm

PHOENIX -- From October through March, the greater Phoenix area is paradise for the business traveler -- and his or her clientele.

There's no snow, plenty of amenities -- and did we mention there's no snow?

It's not a bad idea to pack your golf clubs, either. The Valley is awash in great golf courses, from the pricey and challenging layouts in north Scottsdale to resort courses that are meant to be enjoyed rather than suffered.

So if you're in Phoenix on business and want to host colleagues or clients, here are just a few of the courses that would make for an ideal business/golf outing:

Raven Golf Club Phoenix

Located on Baseline Road in south Phoenix, Raven Golf Club Phoenix is just a couple of minutes off the I-10 -- thus easy access from anywhere in the Valley -- and a popular stop for both locals and tourists.

The Raven, a Gary Panks design, was built as a parkland course in the middle of the desert. More than 7,000 pine trees were imported to give the course a Midwest feel. It's not as difficult as some of the Valley's notorious desert courses, but it will test the low handicapper because its diversity of holes require golfers to use every club in their bag.

Wigwam Resort

Since Wigwam Resort has been upgraded by a group led by former Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo, it has become a popular destination for business travelers or conventions on the west side of town.

The Wigwam features three courses, two of which were designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. All three tracks are old-fashioned, straightforward courses, with few blind shots or forced carries. Plus, many of the resort's casitas are right on the grounds, so it's as convenient as possible.

Adobe Course, Arizona Biltmore

It's no secret that the Arizona Biltmore is one of Phoenix's finest resorts. What's not so well known is the welcoming simplicity of the Adobe Course.

Designed in 1928, the Adobe has wide fairways -- some as spacious as 50 yards -- accessible greens and plenty of room to spray a few shots and survive.

It's the ideal course for the business traveler who wants to play a few holes but doesn't have the game to challenge some of the Valley's tougher layouts.

Golf Club of Estrella

Another west-side gem, the Golf Club of Estrella is located in Goodyear, just a few miles south of University of Phoenix Stadium and Arena, the homes of the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes, respectively.

The Golf Club of Estrella is one of the most underrated desert courses in the Valley, but beware: It has some of the deepest sand traps this side of the Sahara. It may not be the ideal diversion for business travelers who struggle with a sand wedge in their hand.

TPC Scottsdale

Staying in north Scottsdale? Then make sure to book a round on TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course, site of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The course is always in spectacular shape and it's a kick to play the same holes Phil Mickelson walked on.

And, of course, there's nothing like standing on the tee of the par-3 16th hole and imagining 20,000 rowdy fans ready to jeer if your tee shot misses the green.

Vistal Golf Club

The revitalization of downtown Phoenix over the last 20 years has been accompanied by a boon in hotel construction and, thus, an increase in business travelers who stay downtown and rarely get beyond the Phoenix Convention Center.

Unfortunately, there aren't any great courses in downtown Phoenix, but one option just a few miles west is Vistal Golf Club. Vistal, a 7,013-yard par 71, was re-designed in 2000 with consultation from local PGA Tour players Tom Lehman, Billy Mayfair and Howard Twitty.

The emphasis at Vistal is on having a good time. Classic rock music is played throughout the facility and practice area.

Lookout Mountain Golf Club

Part of the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in northeast Phoenix, Lookout Mountain Golf Club weaves its way through the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

Fortunately, the desert isn't as lush or as prevalent as other desert courses in the Valley, so it's possible to hit your ball a few yards off line and still find it.

The resort features the Falls Water Village, which includes a 138-foot enclosed water slide, private cabanas and whirlpools.

Troon North

The low-handicapper staying in north Scottsdale will have no problem paying the $200 -- or more -- to play the Monument Course or Pinnacle Course at Troon North.

The Monument is a links-style course. The Pinnacle features greens that are tiered and incredibly fast. And from December through April, forecaddies are available for $30 per player.

The Valley has more than its fair share of quality golf clubs, but Troon North stands alone.

Getty Images

Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

Getty Images

Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Tee times

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

Getty Images

U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

"They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

Getty Images

Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

“It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.