TPC Scottsdale and Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offer great Arizona golf courses, food and resort fun

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- TPC Scottsdale is a fun golf course. It's enjoyable for the travel golfer, an extreme experience for rabid fans of the Waste Management Phoenix Open and amusing for most of the PGA Tour pros who aren't grumpy.

Wacky just seems to happen. Remember when Tiger Woods had some gallery guys move that boulder, AKA loose impediment?

Bizarre happened in 2015 when Jordan Spieth, playing with Woods, blocked his drive over the fence on no. 5 -- a 470-yard par 4 that borders the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

"There are some Fairmont casitas there where Spieth's OB drive was heading," said Rick Evans, a former caddie for Kenny Perry. "And later, after his round and some time at the practice area, Jordan returns to his casita to find his ball had broken a window in the casita where he was staying."

Fanatical lives here -- such as the 564,368 fans that attended the 2015 tournament and the more than 20,000 spectators who can get rowdy in the "stadium" that surrounds the 162-yard, par-3 16th hole -- the one Woods aced in 1997.

TPC Scottsdale renovations well received

A year ago, the pros were playing the first tournament following an extensive $9.2 million renovation of TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course by Tom Weiskopf. All greens were resurfaced, and holes 2, 3, 4 and 14 all had putting surfaces moved. The second and third greens were relocated to allow morning sun to burn off any morning frost quicker.

Bunkers were reshaped, put in play for the longest hitters, decreased in number from 73 to 66 and filled with Augusta white sand.

Two "game-changers" came at 14 and 18. Fourteen was lengthened and the green moved to a hilltop. It is now one of the toughest holes on tour at 490 yards, par 4, uphill and adds another hole to the crescendo of the tournament.

Weiskopf also said he likes the move at 14 because it shifts the hole away from the road to the right and opens up a view of the famous Superstition mountains.

Another finishing touch was redoing the no. 18 bunker where players faced a 310-yard carry over the lake's left side. Today's bunker has "islands" or "church pews (ala Oakmont)" and requires a launch of 340 yards to carry.

So how were the changes received by the PGA Tour pros after last year's tournament?

"The comments from the PGA Tour players were well received," Assistant General Manager Doug Hodge said. "We have about 80 PGA Tour and pros that call Scottsdale home. Comments have been positive, and they love the west end practice area."

That gives the resort a double-sided practice configuration with the pros able to claim their own private space when resort play is ongoing.

Video: Matt Ginella discusses Weiskopf's recent TPC Scottsdale renovation

TPC Scottsdale's notable Waste Management Phoenix Open highlights

The 332-yard, par-4 17th, for example, can win or lose the tournament. In the final round of the 2011 tournament, Tommy (Two Gloves) Gainey nailed one off the red stakes, propelling his ball into the water, then he chunked the chip. His triple bogey took him from contender to a tie for eighth place.

Andrew Magee aced the hole in 2001 -- the only par-4 Tour event hole-in-one ever. It was an uncanny shot that happened just after he had made a double bogey on 15. He pulled out driver, the ball bounded onto the green past Gary Nicklaus and Steve Pate, struck Tom Byrum's putter and ricocheted into the hole.

This hole -- imagined by Weiskopf and Jay Morrish back when the course opened in 1986 -- showcases their knack for great short par 4s.

"Short par 4s are hard to do correctly," Weiskopf said. "If you are going to lay up, I want the players to have the pressure of a tough chip and putt. And most of these, I do have the biggest green on the course with lots of contours and movement in the putting surfaces."

Stay and play: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort offers an assortment of golf packages that let guests play both the Stadium Course and the Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale, as well as nearby Talon Course and Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club.

The AAA Five-Diamond resort has awesome Spanish Colonial architecture, open plazas with fountains, locally inspired art and decor, and a blend of comfort and style that captures the Southwest. Don't miss Hacienda Plaza with its Well & Being Spa.

Resort dining includes La Hacienda, Bourbon Steak and Ironwood American Kitchen.

Dining in the golf clubhouse is can't-miss as well, with Toro Latin Restaurant and Rum Bar by Richard Sandoval overlooking the 18th green.

After lunch at Toro, why not schedule some instruction? TOURAcademy TPC Scottsdale offers programs built for both the low-handicapper and the new golfer who is just learning. It also offers the latest video and computer software for analyzing your golf game.

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.
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Commented on

Oh yeah, great story, awesome venue, fun to see the 16th in person.

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TPC Scottsdale and Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offer great Arizona golf courses, food and resort fun