Updated February 2024 to update booking information.
If Phoenix is the hub of golf on the west coast, Scottsdale is the epicenter. Nowhere else in the valley is good golf more concentrated than here. Aside from great golf, Scottsdale is Phoenix’s hub for fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. Back in my younger days, Scottsdale was the place to see and be seen but, it probably wouldn’t be wise to go into those exploits here.
With that being said, I’m still a frequent visitor to Scottsdale. Only now, it’s more for the golf and less for the beer and late nights.
Without further ado, let’s take a gander at the best public golf courses in Scottsdale.
Pinnacle Course at Troon North
Arguably the hallmark of Scottsdale public golf is the Pinnacle Course at Troon North. Set amongst giant granite boulders in the Sonoran Desert, great golf meets awe-inspiring landscape at this track.
If it’s your first time playing, I recommend hiring a caddie. The greens are tricky to read and the wind that swirls in and around the surrounding boulders can make club selection difficult.
Aside from the unforgettable golf course, the other amenities will blow your mind.
If you’re a Callaway fan and looking to upgrade your equipment, Certified Master Fitter, Doug Hammer, will personally walk you through a comprehensive fitting to find the perfect clubs for your swing and game.
The facility features Trackman and SAM PuttLab Technology so rest assured, you’ll be getting the best information around.
If food and drink are calling your name after your round, set aside the evening to take in the Dynamite Grille. An award-winning wine list and delectable southwest inspired cuisine will leave you feeling full and ready for bed after a long day.
In short, mark this track down as a must play next time you’re in Scottsdale.
TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers a powerful and memorable round of golf in a stunning desert setting. The course, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, is a well-known stop on the PGA Tours and home to the WM Phoenix Open, featuring the famous par-3 16th stadium hole.
Here are some key points about TPC Scottsdale:
- TPC Scottsdale’s back nine is filled with risk-and-reward opportunities, providing an exhilarating golfing experience.
- The course underwent renovations to cater to both tour players and resort guests, ensuring an exceptional golfing tour for all.
- Situated about 45 minutes from Scottsdale’s airport, TPC Scottsdale is conveniently accessible for those visiting the area.
- The course’s scenic beauty, framed by mountain ridges and the Sonoran desert, offers a visually captivating backdrop to your game.
- TPC Scottsdale is a must-visit for golf buffs seeking a demanding yet enjoyable round amidst the natural beauty of the Sonoran desert.
If you’re looking to enjoy top-notch golfing in the Scottsdale area, TPC Scottsdale is a destination that shouldn’t be missed.
Ambiente and Padre Courses at Camelback Golf Club
Both courses at the JW Marriot Camelback Inn are world-class. Lush, rolling fairways situated in the Camelback foothills make for a golf setting you won’t soon forget.
Dramatic elevation changes, expansive waste areas, and copious water hazards are ready to eat up errant shots on the Ambiente course.
While the Ambiente Course is a blast to play, I’m a little more partial to the Padre Course due to its more traditional layout. Call me boring, old-fashioned, or whatever, I can handle it. This course features tree-lined fairways and subtle nuances that put a premium on shot making and managing your game.
When you’re done with your round, there’s more than enough space to put your feet up in the pueblo-style clubhouse that measures an astounding 36,000 square feet.
If you like to stay where you play, be sure to check out the stay and play packages at this five-star resort.
O’odham and Piipaash Courses at Talking Stick
There isn’t a resort in Scottsdale that has more going on than Talking Stick. For me, the great golf is at the center of it all.
The O’odham Course is a thinking man’s track. Even though the layout is fairly flat, sight lines and shot selection are key if you’re going to score on this Coore and Crenshaw design. While there aren’t necessarily a lot of huge numbers to be made, there are plenty of bogeys.
The Piipaash Course on the other hand, can be much more penal. Not that shooting a good score is out of the question, but well protected, raised greens make this a second shot track that can leave you in some awkward spots if you don’t execute.
Aside from the golf, the hotel and casino are first-rate. The resort is home to world-class dining, a gaming floor that’s big enough to be its own city, an award-winning spa, and more entertainment than the Ratpack could have ever imagined.
Personally, I’m partial to the poker room after I play golf. The unfortunate part is that I always get check-raised and don’t know what to do.
Raptor Course and Talon Course at Grayhawk Golf Club
The Talon Course at Grayhawk is a strong test of desert golf. Surrounded by the Sonoran Desert and built into box canyons, this course is a must play. If it’s your first time, don’t let the narrow look off the tees fool you. There’s plenty of room, even though you can’t see it.
Even though its features are less dramatic, the Tom Fazio-designed Raptor course is a treat to play as well. Spread over natural arroyos with generous fairways, most golfers should feel comfortable getting to the green.
That’s where the fun begins though. These greens are some of the biggest in Arizona and gentle but large undulations make for some tough two-putts.
Both courses rank high on countless lists of best places to play and it’s not hard to see why.
The Phoenician Golf Course
The Phoenician Golf Course just underwent a wall-to-wall renovation and the results are out of this world.
Previously 27 holes, the new 18-hole design is more cohesive and is sure to afford one of the more memorable experiences in Scottsdale.
Everything is right in front of you on this great new layout. That isn’t to say however, that it won’t prove a stern test.
Built into the natural beauty that is the Sonoran Desert, the Phoenician has plenty of tee options for every level of golfer.
In addition to great golf, the resort has plenty of other amenities including luxurious rooms, an award-winning spa, and great dining options.
If a stay-and-play package is what you’re looking for, it doesn’t get much better than the Phoencician.
Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club
Golf can be expensive in Scottsdale. Heck, the entire community can be expensive.
Perhaps the best bang for your buck here is Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club.
This par 70 layout is a memorable experience that’s both a fun and fair test for golfers of all abilities.
For as much play as this course gets, I’m continually lauding its great condition.
This facility has everything you need from a great golf course, to excellent practice facilities, to tasty food and drink.
A must play for the value.
Orange Tree Golf Club
I attend a work conference at this property every year and it’s something I always look forward to. They do it right.
While the conference consists of gladhanding and pretending like I’m excited about the next speaker, I really just can’t wait to get out on the golf course.
Literally an oasis in the middle of the desert, Orange Tree Golf Club’s design reminds of courses in the Midwest. Even though the layout is fairly flat, mature trees frame holes in a natural, pleasing way that leaves no doubt as to how each shot should be hit.
Another notable aspect is the facility’s commitment to green practices and sustainability. The policies in place here are on the cutting edge and include minimization of non-recyclable waste, responsible water usage, and a robust in-house recycling program.
The newly remodeled practice facilities are to die for and the range has some of the best turf I’ve ever hit off of.
If it’s just golf you’re after, you should play here. If you want a more complete experience, you should still put this facility at the top of your list.
Starfire Golf Club
Starfire might just be Scottsdale’s favorite public golf course and I can’t say that I disagree.
Designed by The King, Arnold Palmer himself, Starfire isn’t overly long and welcomes golfers of all abilities.
I took my wife here for a casual round one weekend and I’ll never forget what the pro behind the counter told her, and probably meant for both of us – “golf is a game, and game’s are fun.” That’s stuck with me to this day and alone makes my memories of this fantastic facility ever fond.
I can’t say enough good things about Starfire. From the golf course, to how I’m treated every time I show up, to getting to spend quality time with my wife, we put this track on the calendar every few months and are never disappointed.
McDowell Mountain Golf Club
In the heart of Scottsdale lies McDowell Mountain Golf Club. A true gem named after the mountains that surround it.
In 2011, Phil Mickelson undertook this facility’s renovations and he did a great job in my opinion. Like Phil, I’m never one to shy away from a wager out on the course and McDowell Mountain can be a gambler’s layout.
Out of all the tracks in Scottsdale, this just might be the most FUN round out of the entire lot.
Plenty of risk and reward shots mean feast or famine for your scorecard, and maybe your billfold too.
The course and practice facilities are always in great shape and if you leave me a comment at the bottom of this article, there’s a chance I’d welcome a friendly wager at this facility, assuming I get enough strokes.
I love Scottsdale. Always have and always will. Though my motivations for visiting this special place have certainly changed over the years, there’s no doubt I’ll remain a frequent visitor.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to learn that there really is no place quite like Scottsdale for the serious golfer. To have such an array of world-class options in such a confined space is truly remarkable. If you’ve never been and need a little guidance, again, drop me a comment below. I’ll be more than happy to show you around. Just don’t check-raise me on the river and we’ll be just fine.