Scott Bordow is the golf columnist for the Arizona Republic. Follow him on Twitter at @sbordow.
It might be a cliche to describe the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa as an oasis in the desert, but that's exactly what it is. That's evident in everything from the food to the hospitality to the rooms themselves. I've stayed in many of the Valley's top resorts, and the JW Marriott is as good as it gets. Here are 10 reasons why.
A study of Tucson's La Paloma and Dove Mountain show how Jack Nicklaus' design approach evolved over the years
Twenty-five years passed from the time Jack Nicklaus constructed La Paloma Country Club (1984) to the opening of Dove Mountain (2009), two of the top courses in the Tucson, Ariz. area. His maturation as a course designer is evident in the evolution of his designs and further evidence of how the Tucson golf scene has grown up as well, Scott Bordow writes.
Located 20 minutes southeast of Scottsdale, Ariz., Longbow Golf Club doesn't have the panache of some of the Valley's esteemed courses. For one thing, none of the 18 holes are visually spectacular. But what the part links-style, part desert course lacks in style, it makes up for in consistency. Longbow is a solid golf course that will entertain and challenge golfers. Its best attribute is its simplicity.
Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club in Cave Creek: A nice escape from the Phoenix Valley's most notorious courses
The Phoenix-Scottsdale corridor is inundated with golf courses that have a degree of difficult off the charts. Every so often, however, there's a course that doesn't bring out the fear factor. Such is the case with Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club in Cave Creek. Now this a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design is no pitch-and-putt course. But it's a course that even hackers can play and enjoy.
There's no way around it: Poston Butte Golf Club is geographically challenged. The par-72, 7,282-yard Gary Panks design is about 90 minutes southeast of downtown Phoenix and the axis of golf that's north Scottsdale. It's located in the town of Florence, which might as well be nowhere for folks who believe the golf experience in the Valley begins and ends in Scottsdale. And that's a shame, because those who make the drive will play a golf course that is both enjoyable and challenging.
Is Sedona Golf Resort the most challenging course you'll play? No. Is it one of the most unforgettable? Absolutely. Sometimes, a golf course is defined by its scenery, and that's the case here. The red rocks are so majestic they relegate Gary Panks' design to the back seat. That's not to say Sedona Golf Resort isn't a joy to play. It is. But it's the views around the course that make it special.
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes G.C. in Maricopa, Ariz. was once known as a private, men-only golf course. These days, Golfers who don't mind an easy drive down from Phoenix will discover that Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, which is now public and owned by Troon Golf, is an absolute treasure, one of the best tracks in the Valley. The Australian links layout gives it a completely different feel than most courses in Arizona, Scott Bordow writes.