The best golf resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona

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Round Trip Feature: Scottsdale

Class, it's time for a history lesson.

So how did Scottsdale really become the top winter golf destination in America according to Golf Advisor? Let's start at the beginning. Scottsdale was named after its founder Winfield Scott in 1894. It wasn't incorporated into a city until 1951, when it had just 2,000 residents.

Thanks to an average of 314 sunny days per year, more and more people started moving into the Valley of the Sun. In the 1970s, a number of large-scale, master-planned communities started sprouting up - several incorporating golf, including Desert Mountain and Gainey Ranch. Scottsdale now boasts more than 240,000 residents. That's not including the millions of others who live in the greater Phoenix area.

With such great weather, tourism became a major economic engine, fueling a boom of resorts, golf courses, restaurants and attractions that today draw six million visitors annually, according to the city.

Now that class is over, it's time for recess. Let's go play some golf at 10 of Scottsdale's best golf resorts. These resorts (not ranked in any specific order) are all located in Scottsdale proper or nearby east of Phoenix. Here's a look:

  1. The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale has a true Stadium-style par 3: The epic 16th hole.

    An ongoing renovation since 2017 has the Fairmont sparkling. La Hacienda, its Mexican restaurant, and the Well & Being Spa set a high bar for other Scottsdale resorts to reach. Playing the TPC Scottsdale Stadium course when the stadium is erected for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, ranks among the most unique golf experiences anywhere.

    Our best articles, photos and video curated by our editorial staff to help plan your golf trip to the Valley of the Sun.

  2. The resort's elegant pool complex sits in stunning surroundings

    A village of casitas sunken into the boulder-strewn landscape make guests feel like they're truly connected with nature. The Monument and Pinnacle courses are two of the early golf pioneers that put Scottsdale on the map.

  3. The We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort features 36 holes of Scottsdale's best golf.

    We-Ko-Pa is in the midst of building a new casino and re-purposing its existing gambling space into something else. We-Ko-Pa's courses, Cholla by Scott Miller and Saguaro by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, have been local favorites since opening in 2001 and 2006, respectively.

    Golf Packages
    PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE | Enjoy 3 nights' accommodations at Wekopa Casino Resort and 3 rounds of golf at Wekopa Golf Club (Cholla & Saguaro Courses) and Sunridge Canyon Golf Club.

  4. Gigantic boulders steal the show on the appropriately named Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, Curio Collection by Hilton.

    Choices are tough at The Boulders: Do you play the North or South course? Do you go spend the day at the spa instead? First world problems, indeed.

  5. Check out the great view from the J&G Steakhouse at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    A reconfiguration from 27 holes to 18 has done wonders for the golf at the resort. The Phoenician resort is as luxurious as Scottsdale gets with fine dining, a wonderful spa and a resort within a resort concept at the Canyon Suites that offers even more pampering and privacy.

  6. GolfBoards are one of the innovative and fun ways you can get around the 27 holes at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    The 27-hole Kierland Golf Club can energize your round with alternative modes of transportation - a Golfboard, Turfrider (a fat-tired motorcycle) and Ellwee (a four-wheeler from Sweden). The resort specializes in more traditional forms of relaxation - a spa, good food and drinks and top of the line accommodations with exclusive golf vacations packages.

    Golf Packages
    PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE | Enjoy 3 nights' accommodations at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa and 3 rounds of golf at Troon North Golf Club, Westin Kierland Golf Club, & Boulders Golf Club.

  7. View of the 7th hole at Mountain Shadows Golf Course

    The Short course at Mountain Shadows , along with the resort, emerged from a multi-million-dollar rejuvenation in 2017. Arizona architect Forrest Richardson transformed a tired, executive course into a par 54 of 2,310 yards with wild greens and imaginative green surrounds that's fun for all golfers.

  8. Talking Stick Resort features 36 holes of golf and one of the more lively stay-and-play resorts in Scottsdale.

    The Talking Stick Entertainment District is a playland for adults, home to the resort, two golf courses, a casino, spa, multiple restaurants, a Topgolf, the Salt River Fields (the spring training home of the Arizona Diamonbacks and Colorado Rockies) and other unique attractions: Racing electric karts, walking among stingrays and indoor skydiving.

  9. A view from Gold Canyon Golf & Resort.

    We're stretching the borders of Scottsdale to include several fine resorts nearby, such as Gold Canyon, home to 90 rooms, multiple restaurants and two courses, Sidewinder and Dinosaur Mountain.

  10. A view of a green protected by bunkers at Ambiente Course from Camelback Golf Club

    Camelback Mountain is the centerpiece of the 427-room resort and its two courses, the newer Ambiente by Jason Straka and Padre by Arthur Hills.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,100 courses and written about golf destinations in 25 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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How wonderful to see some of these Courses again! I am now 93, but I well remember trying to 'tame' a lot of these Courses during the 1990's up to 2001. I used to spend some two to three months, in Scottsdale, at the same time each year, as a holiday from the UK - I made some great golfing friends, and I now live on those memories.
Thank you for bringing back those idyllic times!

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How did you miss Wildfire?

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Best round of golf last week was at Quintero. Least enjoyable was Talking Stick. Course not even close to the same as Quintero and the round cost less. Enough said.

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Whirlwind Golf Club in south Phoenix is easily one of the most popular courses in Phoenix and is a way better golf experience than some of the courses on this list in my opinion. They’ve hosted the Q-School Finals multiple times and many other great events including the Cardinals Charities Celebrity Challenge. It baffles me how it never makes any of these lists. Oh well, there’s my rant haha. I enjoyed the video though Matt Ginella.

If it’s golf only then In my opinion Troon should be behind We-Ko-Pa and The Boulders.

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If your going to stretch the borders and your looking for a reasonable rate at a very good golf course, The Legacy Resort is worth a look. Gary Panks is known for designing good courses in the valley, and 3 of his designs worth playing are within close proximity as Aguilla and The Raven are near the Legacy Resort.

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The best golf resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona