When planning a golf vacation to the Sonoran Desert ' home to the majestic Saguaro cactus ' remember that prices fluctuate greatly from season to season. For those who can handle the dry heat, the summer offers unbelievable value for such beautiful, well-conditioned, famous courses. Greens fees range from $50-100, as opposed to the rack rate of $275-325 the resorts command in high season.
Start your trip in Tucson spending a couple of days at Ventana Canyon Resort, Two spectacular courses designed by Tom Fazio, the Mountain Course and the Canyon Course, highlight the resort. Arrive at noon that first day. Throw your bag in your oversized, plush suite, walk downstairs to the lobby, check in at the pro shop, and then take twelve steps out the door to the first tee of the Mountain Course. The beginning is the best stretch, featuring a par-4 which plays into a back drop of a stunning forest of Saguaros, a par-3 which plays from one island in the canyon to another island in the canyon, and a strategic par-5 which plays from a pulpit tee with a panoramic view of the valley.
The Canyon Course is equally fun and scenic, playing through an Audobon Preserve of ancient cacti and desert flora. The walks from tee to green are frequently half a mile or more, so youll want to cart it. Play till sunset, then enjoy your evening before teeing off at dawn the next day to get started on your second round before noon, taking advantage of the all-you-can-play rules. The cost of 72 holes and an overnight stay? $229 in summer.
A two-hour drive to Scottsdale from Tucson, (http://jayflemma.thegolfspace.com/?p=237) brings you to the beating heart of Arizonas golf scene. Resort fans will have three great flagship facilities from which to choose. Tom Weiskopf built two terrific courses at Troon North; the Monument Course and the Canyon Course. Summer season rates go as low as $75. Skins game and Fall Series fans will know Greyhawk Golf Club and it's two courses: the Raptor Course (Tom Fazio) and the more narrow and penal track, the Talon Course (Gary Panks).
Ten miles north, Carefree is home to the world-famous Boulders resort, nestled charmingly amidst enormous ten million-year-old monzonite boulders. The North and South Courses (Jay Morrish) play over, around, and between these geologic marvels. $300 or more on high season, walk-ons pay $95 in summer. Play-all-day and stay packages in the huge casitas start at $299 per night.
The TPC Scottsdale is home to the FBR Open, but underwhelms compared to the other resorts. However the steak dinner at the courses fine restaurant is not to be missed.