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?
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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
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
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
TPC Scottsdale Stadium: $197