Golf Daycation at The Phoenician
By Randall Smalley (Golf As Religion, @golfasreligion)
As a Phoenix local, sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own city, am I right?
This summer, I did a “Daycation” (a.k.a. a day-long “vacation”) at The Phoenician with some friends. We loved being able to enjoy a quick “getaway” that feels like you’re on vacation, but really, you’re just down the street!
Let’s start with my morning at the newly redesigned Phoenician Golf Club.
I arrived around 7:15 am to get warmed up on the putting green.
With a nice sunrise to kick off my Saturday, it was going to be another beautiful, sunny day in Phoenix. In the summer, while it can be very hot, you get the most unbelievable sunrises and sunsets, so hard to complain about higher temps!
I met my foursome at The 19th Hole at 7:30 am for a nice, hot breakfast. I went with a hearty egg sandwich to provide the energy for an action-packed day at the resort. The seating for The 19th Hole is right in front of the putting green – adjacent to the 18th hole – and only a short 20 yards to the first hole.
The service and food was amazing, and the simple touches like the ability to refill my coffee at the bar near our table was perfect for a morning round.
We then proceeded to the Driving Range, which is a short golf-cart-ride away, located on the Eastern side of the property.
When hopping into my cart, I was amazed by the extra touches of The Phoenician Golf Club, including a sleeve of logo’d balls, sunscreen for the hot summer day, and logo’d tees and ball markers.
Once at the range, I warmed up for about 20 minutes with the range to ourselves.
It’s a beautiful property and the range gives you a glimpse of how special the location is for a golf course – there is not much golf in this area of Scottsdale that is this good – so to have all the amenities, is impressive for both locals and visitors.
Time to Hit the Links
Before we knew it, our tee time was here! We proceeded to the first tee and decided to play on two different teams. It was my buddy, Danny (played pro golf), and me, versus Andrew, mini-tour and PGA hopeful, with teammate, Elle, who used to work at Superstition Golf Club and in 5 years has become a 12 handicap!
The 1st hole features a beautiful, narrow fairway with bunkering on the right and desert on the left. Being a resort course, The Phoenician is very fair despite providing challenges. In 2018, The Phoenician completed a redesign, moving to one 18-hole championship golf course at just over 6500 yards (previously, it was 3, 9-hole courses).
Truly, I was blown away by the redesign, mainly because it became a golf course that I can play daily.
It has all the features – a front-9 routing that takes you through the Eastern part of the property, and curves back North and then South to finish near the first 9 at the Golf Clubhouse.
The front is the more challenging of the two, but the back 9 has all the scenery.
The Front 9
My favorite holes on the front 9 – based on design, overall challenge and beauty – are the par 4 4th, par 3 5th, and par 4 9th.
The par 4 4th hugs the water with a beautiful second shot into an uphill green. The par 3 5th is a challenge due to its length and pin placements. Completely guarded by bunkers, your iron off the tee needs to be struck well as this is over 200 yards and there are not many places to miss. It’s less about the views and more about the design. Lastly, the par 4 9th is a scenic hole with a tee shot that you will want to curve from left to right for a second shot into a downhill, sloping green. Be careful about being long, though, as this is also guarded by water on the left side around the back and balls tend to go further than you think. A par here is definitely a birdie on any other par 4.
As you finish the front 9, it’s time for a nice drink and a 10-minute ride to the back 9.
The back 9 brings in all the scenery as it sits in front of the property, which provides views to the Southwest. I mentioned the amazing sunsets we experience in Arizona and this is where you can capture the most beautiful images of the course.
The Back 9
My favorites on the back 9 are the par 4 15th, the par 3 17th, and number 18.
The 15th is a drive-able par 4 and I am happy to report I drove the green and sunk a short putt for an Eagle. When I walked up to the green, I had some visions of a hole-in-one on par 4, but was just short. What I love here is the risk/reward as well as the fact that the routing of the back 9 takes you from lower elevation to higher toward Camelback Mountain. Number 15 is at the top of the elevation, right next to Camelback Mountain, offering amazing views, but also great shadows in the early mornings and evenings.
Number 17 is unique because you cross the street and the hole sits at the front of the property. A short carry over water, it’s just exciting to play a par 3 with all the action around you. Behind you is the entrance to the resort and to your right is Camelback Road, a famous inter-way that separates Scottsdale from Phoenix (Arcadia), and in front of you is a beautiful green protected by bunkers.
As you finish the 17th, the par 5 18 presents an amazing finishing hole as it takes you back toward Camelback Mountain and to the Golf Clubhouse. It’s a slight dogleg right, which you can reach in 2 if you bomb your drive – but playing it safe and hitting your 3rd from the fairway just before the water in front of the green is best. Once you putt in for par, or better hopefully, you get to look back on an amazing view of Phoenix and the sunsets here are again, spectacular.
The Phoenician Tavern
As we finished out our round in under 4 hours, it was time to head into The Phoenician Tavern for the famed pub grub and craft beverages.
The Phoenician Tavern offers a selection of beers on tap including a full bar and tasty American food. You can order anything from a light bite to a full meal and the service both at the bar and the tables is great.
Locals head to the Tavern just as much as resort guests since the food is so good. We finished our golfing experience there reminiscing about the round.
For a Golf Staycation, this is the perfect place as it offers all the amenities and is so close to my house. Funny enough, separate from my visit here this summer, this has become my home course in Phoenix. I have played the course numerous times and look forward to being back.
Book your tee time at The Phoenician Golf Club by reserving online or calling 480-423-2450.