Beat the winter golf blues with an Arizona tee time


Saguaro Course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Photo courtesy Mike Bailey)

Looking for relief from the cold, miserable weather that's enveloped most of the country? Well, if you're not going to Hawaii, just head to the desert. More specifically, check out the golf in the Arizona desert near Phoenix and Scottsdale, which has been pretty much immune to the effects of the arctic cold fronts that swept all the way past Miami recently.

And here's another bonus: Because of the economy, there are some deals to be had as well. That means golf courses you might get a break on the rates at high-end gems like We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Troon North or Grayhawk, especially if you can get there during the week.

Or, if you willing to go a little out of your way, head up to Peoria northwest of Scottsdale. With a five-star rating by Golf Digest, the Trilogy at Vistancia is one of the better bargains in the area with green fees half of what the high-end Scottsdale golf courses typically charge. Designed by Arizona's own Gary Panks, Trilogy is sort of a desert golf/links-style hybrid that's most enjoyable.

And if desert golf isn't your thing, try the newly renovated municipal Papago Golf Course near Sky Harbor Airport and the Arizona State University Campus. It's an old William Bell design (Bell is the same guy who did Torrey Pines near San Diego) that's been updated nicely by Billy Fuller Golf Design.

Speaking of ASU, you should also check out the university's Karsten Course, a Pete Dye design that really isn't true desert golf either. And as a university course, green fees are kept to a minimum, even in peak season for visitors. Plus, you'll be walking the fairways where the likes of former Arizona State golfers Phil Mickelson, Billy Mayfair, Paul Casey, Grace Park and late Heather Farr honed their games before turning pro.

Check out Mike Bailey's golf blog or follow him Twitter.