Beat the Cold and Go South for Great Golf
Pictured above: Seven Canyons in Sedona.
Long before the donnybrook days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, Northern Arizona was a sanctuary to travelers who prized a sumptuous, shirt-sleeve climate. Generations later, the attraction is even stronger thanks to amenities like mountain biking, Sonoran Desert hiking, ghost town meandering, family pleasing festivals and, for good measure, some of the state’s better golf experiences.
Northern Arizona is especially compelling to Coloradans who are intimate with the sun-splashed surrounds of Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff and Jerome. If you’re aching to refuel your fairways-and-greens compulsions, consider these four world-class destinations:
1. Few places in America offer a more spectacular setting than Sedona, which is renowned for its majestic red-rock buttes, eroded canyons, juniper forests and cosmic energy vortexes. Golfers are equally mesmerized, having access to three outstanding clubs including the daily-fee, Gary Panks-designed Sedona Golf Resort (pictured below); the semi-private, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Sr.-crafted Oakcreek Country Club; and private Seven Canyons, which was brilliantly orchestrated by Tom Weiskopf. Player’s tip: Registered guests of Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa enjoy exclusive playing privileges at Seven Canyons.
2. Prescott is a former territorial capital that has retained much of its rowdy Old West charm and grace. In fact, the world’s oldest rodeo is staged here—the 129th Annual Prescott Frontier Days is June 28-July 4—and infamous Whiskey Row still houses saloons frequented by legends like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. Golf is equally raucous, including public StoneRidge Golf Course (designed by Randy Heckenkemper) and 36-hole Antelope Hills (Panks and Lawrence Hughes, pictured below), as well as the members-only Capital Canyon Club (Weiskopf; formerly Hassayampa Golf Club).
3. Sited at an elevation of 7,000 feet and celebrated for its outdoor recreation, Flagstaff is an ideal stopover. Visitors enjoy a variety of thrilling pastimes including hiking Meteor Crater, experiencing Lowell Observatory, chair-lifting to the summit of Arizona Snowbowl, and mountain biking the rugged San Francisco Peaks. Golfers hoping for a tee time will need special connections, however, as all courses in the immediate area are private, including fabulous Forest Highlands (Weiskopf/Jay Morrish) and Pine Canyon (Morrish).
4. Every vacation to Northern Arizona demands a day trip to the historic copper mining camp of Jerome. There’s no golf here, but this reinvented art community offers an eye-popping array of studios and galleries that only adds to its ominous, Mingus Mountain locale.
Above: Enchantment Resort
Above: Mii Amo Spa
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.