Snowbirds Score in Scottsdale

Desert Oasis Remains a Colorado Favorite

It’s mid-October. And while there’s still time to post some Colorado scores, another blissful season of winter golf is already in the chill air.

For many of us, it’s time for Scottsdale and its world-class golf resorts, sumptuous spas, Vegas-style gaming, exclusive galleries and major sports venues, including those that host heralded champions like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Lydia Ko and Stacy Lewis.

Scottsdale golf pilgrimages are time-honored traditions for generations of Coloradans, and with good reason. Here’s a 10-point list to help jump start your next trip down south:

Photograph (c) Chris Duthie

1. Headquarter your Scottsdale vacation at the J.W. Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Lauded by AAA and Condé Nast Traveler, the sprawling property offers an abundance of guest services and amenities, including lüxe-level accommodations, fine dining, Revive Spa, fitness center, waterpark and 36 holes of LPGA Tour-hosting golf designed by Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo at Wildfire Golf Club.

2. Following a Tom Weiskopf-directed major renovation of its Stadium course, 36-hole TPC Scottsdale—home of the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Open—also has completed a big-ticket transformation of its public-invited bistro. The new Fairmont Scottsdale Princess-operated Toro Latin Restaurant is a Chef Richard Sandoval signature that offers 111 varieties of rums from throughout the world.

(c) Chris Duthie

3. Golfers aching for major game improvements should book a “Robo Boot Camp” at Boccieri Golf. Directed by Stephen Boccieri, acclaimed for his Heavy Putter line and counterbalance grips, the 9,000-square-foot research and performance center offers personalized and effective fast-track lessons via a computerized Robo Golf Pro swing trainer, one of only 11 in the country.

4. Another proven way to slice strokes off your scorecard is to be professionally club fitted at Cool Clubs’ international headquarters in Scottsdale. Employing proprietary diagnostic software, modern technology and certified fitting technicians, the company builds putters, irons, woods, hybrids and drivers to specifications that are tailored to a player’s specific swing characteristics.

5. A fifth consecutive Wine Spectator Award of Excellence makes Talking Stick Resort a must-experience for connoisseurs of fine cuisine. Other head turners include beautifully appointed guest rooms, Native American art gallery, casino gaming, signature spa, fitness center, butterfly conservatory, a Major League Baseball training facility and 36 holes of Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw golf.

(c) Chris Duthie

6. After an extraordinary day on the links, push for far-from-ordinary entertainment at TopGolf Scottsdale near Talking Stick Resort. Beginners and never-evers are immersed in an unintimidating after-dark environment fueled by computerized target games, full bar, great grub and Disneyworld-level customer service. No waiting. Pool tables. X-box. Celebrity sightings.

7. Twenty-four consecutive years of winning the AAA Five Diamond Award and a just-announced major expansion underscore the popularity of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. In addition to adding 102 rooms to the mix (for a total of 750 luxury rooms), the property will soon offer a beach-equipped pool, expansive landscaped meeting space, plus a relocated and expanded 1880s-style Western town. Projects are slated for a May 2016 completion

(C) Chris Duthie

8. With its 10-year anniversary less than a year away, We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center is kick-starting the party with a resort wide rebranding that includes more luxury accommodations, Pink Jeep Tours desert excursions and enhanced guest programs that range from casino gaming to 36 holes of premium golf crafted by Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw and Scott Miller.

9. Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is one of the West’s newer resort destinations—and one of it finest. The rebranded Moroccan-inspired property tempts with luxurious guest rooms, Joya Spa, fitness center, swimming, delectable cuisine and a premier location that invites golfing, shopping, outdoor recreation and eclectic nightlife.

10. Satiate your Scottsdale palate at some of the city’s 600-plus restaurants. Foodies are especially impressed at celebrated eateries like Culinary Dropout, Deseo at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Dominick’s Steakhouse, La Hacienda at the Scottsdale Princess, Handlebar J, The House Brasserie, and Bryan’s Black Mountain Barbecue in nearby Cave Creek.

For more ideas visit the Scottsdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.


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Chris Duthie is a 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