Pack right for an Arizona golf trip, and save on worry and cash

Golf vacation planning: How to pack for a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - If you're thinking of taking a golf vacation, it would be hard to beat a trip to Scottsdale. With more than 200 golf courses in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, the choices are endless, and the weather - especially in spring, fall and winter - is ideal.

But what do you bring for the ultimate Scottsdale golf trip, and how do you pack for it? Here are a few pointers:

Check the forecast: Most of the time, even in the spring or fall, temperatures can get quite hot in the desert, so you want lots of light clothing. Light colors, microfibers and a good hat will serve you well. If it's not windy, Scottsdale is the ideal location for a Panama hat for sun protection.

Speaking of the sun, there's plenty of it when you play golf in Arizona. A good pair of sunglasses is a must, and you might as well pack your own sunscreen instead of buying it at the course. Several companies now sell it in small packages that will easily fit in your golf bag.

Remember, though, if you play in the winter, Scottsdale can get quite cool at night, and even the days can be a bit chilly. A sweater or windbreaker is a good bet, as well as at least one pair of medium-weight slacks.

Bring a camera: Preferably a small, cool digital one that you can point and shoot quickly. There's lots of great scenery on courses like Troon North and The Boulders, not to mention the other attractions in the area.

Off-the-course attire: Scottsdale has lots of great restaurants and pubs, spanning the range of cost and formality. For the most part, casual clothing is fine, but if you're looking to go someplace upscale, a dinner jacket might be in order. Bring a nice pair of smart casual shoes, too, just in case.

Do the flight thing: With airlines charging more and more these days for checked bags, you might want to try this strategy: Stuff some jackets and outerwear and an extra pair of shoes (as your golf shoes) in your golf bag. That might enable you to take just a carry-on and check your golf bag, which can make for significant savings. Most airlines now are charging $20 for your first checked bag, and $30 for a second bag. So checking just one is a $60 savings, which can be better spent on a steak and a few cold drafts.

Finally, if you're a cigar smoker, remember not to pack a lighter in your checked luggage. According to Transportation Security Administration regulations, lighters are generally not allowed, and torch lighters (for cigars) are strictly forbidden, whether you carry them on or not.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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Golf vacation planning: How to pack for a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona