NCGA Golf

FALL 2017

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M ost importantly, how's the golf? Not only is there a wide variety and deep bench of options throughout the state, but the Phoenix/ Scottsdale region alone is home to a deco- rated group of daily fee and resort courses at a wide range of prices. There are high- end courses such as We-Ko-Pa, Troon North and Grayhawk as the standard- bearers in Scottsdale, while the same area features highly regarded and modestly priced options such as Papago, Grand Canyon University and McCormick Ranch. And if you want to venture to the north or south, there's an embarrassment of golf riches to be explored. "Scottsdale is a very competitive market for golf—we compete against national and international destinations, and the resorts and courses here in Arizona are competi- tive with each other. That leads to ongoing attempts to make your product better," says Joe Shershenovich, the PGA Director of Golf at Grayhawk Golf Club. "So many of the properties here were built in the late '80s and '90s, which means they're now at the point where they need to be refreshed, and you see a lot of properties reinvesting in the entire experience. It's a very positive time here." At the high end, the Scottsdale area rivals any other destination in the country for daily-fee golf options—and the leaders aren't standing still. We-Ko-Pa Golf Club is a 36-hole daily-fee facility owned by the Yavapai Nation, and both courses— the original Scott Miller-designed Cholla and the Coore/Crenshaw Saguaro—have been renovated over the past two years. The clubhouse has been enhanced, the amount of turf on each course has been reduced to improve the facility's environmental impact and playability upgrades have been made. For instance, the par-5 8th hole on the Cholla course used to feature a desert wash running in front of the green. It presented a stern challenge on any attempt at reaching the putting surface in two shots—and layups often were left with a tough downhill lie. Post-renovation, the layup area is larger and more forgiving, and there is now grass all the way to the green —encouraging more golfers to go for it, and lessening the penalty for coming up a bit short. As with other changes at We-Ko- Pa, golfers now have more strategic options, which should lead to more enjoyable experiences on the course. The updates at We-Ko-Pa are part of an ongoing trend of renovation and rein- vention at Scottsdale's top daily-fee facili- ties. TPC Scottsdale—host of the "greatest show on turf," the Waste Management Open—made extensive updates to its Tom Weiskopf-designed Stadium Course two years ago, and added a new clubhouse dining option in its Toro Restaurant and Rum Bar. The TPC's sister course, the Champion Course is underrated too, and a reflection of how deep the golf depth chart is in Scottsdale. Weiskopf has also overseen renova- tions to his Monument and Pinnacle designs at Troon North, long regarded as one of the area's best desert golf experi- ences. Troon North continues to combine outstanding conditioning with forward- thinking programs for golfers. The Pace- setter program encourages early players to get around the course quickly, while the innovative Monument Express is a nine-hole executive layout within the stan- dard Monument routing that's ideal for families and beginners, or those looking for a quick round. Available after 3:30 p.m., the 1,500-yard short course can be played quickly—and kids 15 and under can play free with a grown-up. Another 36-hole upscale perennial favorite is Grayhawk Golf Club, with its Tom Fazio-designed Raptor Course and David Graham-Gary Panks Talon Course in North Scottsdale. One area where Gray- hawk has really amped up its efforts is at its Rock & Roll Range. You can practice or warm up to the sounds of classic rock— think Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" and Boston's "More Than a Feeling"—while surrounded by panoramic mountain views. Music is a big part of the experience at Grayhawk, from live acoustic sets from local acts on the club's Quill Creek Patio to day-long deejay sets that help golfers find their groove in the morning and chill out after their rounds. "Everyone in Arizona loves being out- side when the rest of the country is stuck inside during the winter," Shershenovich says. "The patio is our outdoor living room, 48 FALL 2017 | NCGA.ORG TPC Scottsdale (Stadium) Wildfire (Faldo)

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