The Waste Management Phoenix Open, played at the beautiful TPC Scottsdale, is a mainstay of the PGA Tour. The tournament is known for its raucous atmosphere, particularly in the 20,000 seat stands surrounding the 16th hole. The “Greatest Show on Grass” is the best attended event on the entire PGA Tour calendar and is compelling viewing for any golf fan. Spectators looking to catch the full experience shouldn’t overlook all there is to see and do in Phoenix. The following is GolfLink’s Guide to Phoenix.
What to See and Do
Phoenix is nestled in beautiful desert country and surrounded by low mountains and rugged hills. Visiting the city during wintertime is ideal to get out and explore the area in mild temperatures. Hiking up Camelback Mountain is a great way to see the desert and enjoy a panaromic view of the city. Or if hiking up a mountain isn’t your thing, take an easy stroll through the Desert Botanical Gardens. The botanical garden provides one the world’s best collections of desert plants and provides a quiet backdrop inside the large city. It is also located near the Phoenix Zoo if you want to see the animals or go take a picture at the scenic spot known as Hole in the Rock in neighboring Papago Park. Kids and adults will appreciate the interactive features of the Arizona Science Center, while parents of young children will love the Phoenix Children’s Museum and its multiple stories of fun play-centered exhibits. Afterwards, adults and kids alike will appreciate the Phoenix Ranch Market, one of the city’s best Latino markets. A fresh juice stand, delicious bakery and large selection of Mexican foods provide numerous options for snacks.
Where to Eat
Phoenix is finally getting credit for its incredibly diverse food scene and any visitors will enjoy a wealth of options. Start your day off right with a huge selection of breakfast items at Phoenix Public Market Cafe, a large cafe that has a little bit of everything. A farmers market happens in the parking lot on Saturday, and if you still have room, the cafe’s bakery has some of the area’s best cakes. Quick lunch can be found at local favorite Short Leash Hot Dogs that serves gourmet dogs on naan instead of buns. Pizza can be found at Pizzeria Bianco, whose chef is the only pizza chef to win a James Beard Award. Some of the region's best Mexican cuisine is found at the Barrio Cafe. This is not your average taqueria, as the Barrio serves some of the most complex tastes and has also spawned the tasting menu style Barrio Gran Reserva restaurant for patrons who can't choose just one entree. Another excellent dinner option is steak at the Stockyards, a steakhouse with vintage style that harkens to Arizona's Old West heritage.
After the food has settled Phoenix has many places to get a drink, including at one of the city’s many brewers. Local beers can be found at Papago Brewing, Wren House Brewing Company or McFate Brewing Company. Bitter & Twisted cocktails provides a classy atmosphere and wonderful craft cocktails or head over to Undertow Tiki Bar for some of the strongest drinks in the valley of the sun. Just be sure and call for reservations first as space is very limited at this eclectic spot.
Where to Play
The Phoenix area is home to some of America’s top courses, and the following are 4 of the best courses in the region. It must be mentioned that Waste Management Phoenix Open host TPC Scottsdale is also a must-play if you visit the area when it isn’t hosting a PGA Tour event.
Troon North Golf Club
photo credit: Troon North Golf Club
10320 E Dynamite Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
The Pinnacle Course and The Monument Course
On the top of any list of courses in Arizona is Scottsdale’s Troon North. Featuring two courses, The Pinnacle course is wonderfully designed and walkable, but many visitors prefer the spectacular desert views of The Monument course.
The Boulders Resort
photo credit: The Boulders Resort?
34631 N Tom Darlington Dr.
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
North Course and South Course
The Boulders features two unique desert courses that live up to its name. With boulders over 50 feet tall dotting the course, the South course gives some of the best views of any desert golf course in America. The Boulders is located in the town of Carefree.
We-Ko-Pa Golf Club
photo credit: We-Ko-Pa Golf Club ?
18200 E. Toh Vee Circle
Fort McDowell, AZ 85264
Cholla Course and Saguaro Course
Another course located in the Scottsdale area, the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club provides two challenging courses snaking through the canyonlands of Central Arizona. Located on land owned by the Yavapai Nation, We-Ko-Pa uses the desert geography to create unique wide-open courses.
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club
photo credit: Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club
48456 W Highway 238
Maricopa, AZ 85139
Located in the town of Maricopa, the Southern Dunes Golf Club might be overlooked by golfers visiting the region. But for those who know, the 7,300 yard course boasts one of the best courses in the area. Even better, Southern Dunes is much cheaper than its Phoenix and Scottsdale counterparts.