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Discover the Best Golf Courses in Phoenix – Desert Golf Guide

If you’re planning a golf trip or a local AZ resident, you’ll love going through this list of the best golf courses in Phoenix. All the courses below are public golf courses in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area.

If you’ve never been out to the valley before don’t expect a lot of pine trees like you’re at Torrey Pines. It’s straight desert golf where you’re either in the fairway, light rough, or your ball is next to a cactus.

The good thing about Phoenix-Scottsdale courses is everything is pretty close together. And we don’t have much traffic aside from rush hour so you can get around pretty easily.

Best Golf Courses in Phoenix

Let’s start this list with the best courses in the city of Phoenix and then get into ones in the surrounding areas like Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert, and more.

Wildfire golf course

1. Wildfire Golf Club

Wildfire is one of the best golf courses in Phoenix as it’s always in great shape, a good layout, and has two championship venues. It’s located in North Phoenix (Desert Ridge area) and a course you can count on being in good shape year round.

Here’s how they described these two courses on their website. “Our Nick Faldo championship course resembles an Australian sand belt course with expansive fairways, large greens and over 100 bunkers. The Arnold Palmer signature course uses flashed bunkers and undulated putting greens to offer a unique challenge. Wildfire has been awarded the “Best Place to Tee Off for National Golf Month” by GlobalTravelerUSA.”  

Both courses are solid and don’t think you need to make a preference on one or the other. It’s also a great resort and has a ton to do in the area. Read my full review of Wildfire Golf Club here

Papago golf course

2. Papago Golf 

Papago had to make this list as it’s the home course of the Arizona State University Sun Devils and somewhat iconic in the area. They used to have the ASU Karsten golf course (RIP) but moved to Papago in 2019.

Papago is renowned for its stunning views of the iconic Papago Buttes and the surrounding desert landscape. Designed by the renowned golf course architect William F. Bell, this course features undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and challenging greens, making it a favorite among both locals and visitors.

With its central location and a range of tee options, Papago is a welcoming destination for golfers of all skill levels, offering a challenging yet rewarding round in a picturesque desert setting. It’s not really “desert golf” but if you’re off the fairway you’re going to be in trouble. They’ve lengthened it recently to make it better for the Arizona players but don’t recommend many golfers playing the tips.

In terms of best golf courses in Arizona for public play I prefer Aguila golf course vs. Papago. The prices get steep in the winter months too.

Read my full review of Papago golf course now.

Raven golf club hole 18

3. Raven Golf Club

Raven Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona is another mid-price course that is a favorite for all types of golfers. 

Designed by renowned architect Gary Panks, the course seamlessly weaves through the picturesque South Mountain Park, offering golfers a unique blend of challenging play and breathtaking desert vistas. The meticulously maintained fairways and greens, coupled with strategically placed bunkers and water hazards, provide an exciting round for golfers of all levels.

The Raven Golf Club is not only celebrated for its golfing experience good practice facility too. They also have golf packages with lessons for Martin Chuck’s Tour Striker Academy. Just my opinion but I think he makes some of the best training aids in golf!

It’s close to Sky Harbor airport, almost always in good shape, and one of the better deals in the Phoenix area.

Read my full review of Raven Golf Club now.

4. Legacy Golf Club

One of my favorite golf courses in Phoenix is Legacy Golf Club. It’s never too overpriced (even in winter months) like TPC Scottsdale, Grayhawk, or Quintero golf club. It’s right next to Raven Golf Club and makes for a fun weekend of golf if you’re an out-of-towner. 

The par 71 course is a good challenge but not overly difficult with wide landing areas and not much desert. It’s a good test for all types of players and easy to see why it wins so many awards for Arizona golf.

View from putting green on Aguila golf course

5. Aguila Golf Course 

I had to include Aguila golf course on this list as it’s one of the best deals in the Phoenix area. There are a ton of Arizona Golf (AGA) tournaments here and qualifiers so I’ve played it a ton. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to provide stunning views of the Sonoran Desert like Troon North or TPC Scottsdale. But it’s also not going to break the bank as it’s a city owned course that is in great shape year round. 

Even in the peak season this is one of the cheapest golf courses you can play with pure greens. It has a great layout with some great risk reward holes. 

6. Mountain Shadows Short Course

If you’re staying in Phoenix and don’t have your golf clubs (or don’t feel like dropping $200+ on green fees), Mountain Shadow is a good choice. The “short course” is a great place to work on your irons/wedges and no question the best executive course in AZ. 

They don’t have much of a practice facility (no driving range) and has a more casual vibe than most courses in Arizona. But the views are amazing and it’s always in great shape.

Check out the winter and summer pass options for a great deal if you’re a local Arizona resident. Read the full review of Mountain Shadows now. 

Mountain Shadows hole 1

Other Courses in the Phoenix Area

Now that we’ve covered some of the best courses in Phoenix, let’s review a few outside the Phoenix zip codes. Luckily, Phoenix and Scottsdale are very close to each other and easy to get to these courses if you’re flying in Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. 

7. Troon North Golf Club 

Troon North Golf Club is worth considering for your golf trip if you’re not afraid to spend a little extra money. It’s about 30 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor and located near the Boulders resort in North Scottsdale.

Troon North has two courses – Monument and Pinnacle. Both are the definition of playing golf in the desert so make sure your game is on point. Otherwise you’ll lose a lot of balls in the desert and can make for a long day on the links.

8. We-Ko-Pa Golf Club

The Bill Coore Ben Crenshaw designs in Fort McDowell at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club are a couple of great courses. It’s not far from Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and a short drive if you’re staying in Scottsdale. You can also stay at the casino in Fort McDowell for a stay-n-play type of package.

Their website description sums up these courses perfectly. “Both the Scott Miller designed Cholla course and the Coore/Crenshaw designed Saguaro course are among the very best in the southwestern United States as judged by both golf media and players alike.

Their unique differences set them apart from other 36-hole facilities in the Scottsdale area, and with no homes, roads, businesses or development of any kind, at We-Ko-Pa, it’s just you, your ball and the sights and sounds of nature.”

Sunrise view TPC Scottsdale champions

9. TPC Scottsdale 

TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium course is famous for the WM Open – an iconic PGA Tour event held in February each year. The Stadium is the more famous of the two courses, but the Championship course is my favorite.

Both are considered desert golf, but they’re a lot more forgiving than some courses on this list. If you’re in the area, they’re definitely worth playing. Read the full review of TPC Scottsdale here to learn more now. 

10. Grayhawk Golf Club

Grayhawk golf club has the Raptor course and Talon Course. Both are great courses, but I’m a big fan of Raptor as there are some memorable holes, including the 18th which is a memorable par 5 with water in play. It’s also the host site of the NCAA championship each year, with one of the best practice facilities in Scottsdale (and all of Arizona).

11. Ak Chin Southern Dunes

Located in Maricopa (about 30 minutes from Sky Harbor), is Ak-Chin Southern Dunes. I consider this one of the hidden gems in the Phoenix area as the Fred Couples design is a great challenge.

While there aren’t a lot of water hazards, beware of the endless sand. The dunes layout is one of the best challenges in golf and easy to see why it’s used for 1st Stage Q-School.

If you’re making the commute down to Ak-Chin Southern Dunes get there early as they have a great driving range and practice facility. Check out their summer 6-pack as it’s one of the best deals in Arizona.

Read my full review of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes now.

12. Quintero Golf Club  

Depending on where you’re staying, Quintero Golf Club is worth considering. It’s desert golf at its finest but there are some wide fairways and some iconic holes. Some holes have straight uphill elevated greens followed by massive drops that are 2–3 clubs downhill.

It’s on the way to Wickenburg Ranch Golf Club, which is one of my favorite places to play golf. It’s definitely a commute, but has some of the best desert golf in the area.

Other Courses to Consider in the Phoenix-Scottsdale Area

  • Sunridge Canyon – Fountain hills

  • Boulders Resort – North Scottsdale

  • Camelback Golf Club – Paradise Valley

  • Gold Canyon – Two courses (Dinosaur Mountain and Sidewinder)

  • The Phoenician – Scottsdale (great scenery and views of Camelback mountain)

  • Wigwam Golf Course – Litchfield Park (Three 18 Hole Courses) – the Gold course is the best in my opinion

Top Questions About Phoenix-Scottsdale Golf

Do you have more questions about playing golf in Phoenix, AZ? If so, keep reading through the most common questions and answers now.

How many golf courses are there around Phoenix?

There are more than 200 golf courses in the Phoenix area. Some of the most known golf course architects include Tom Lehman, Jay Morrish, David Graham, Ben Crenshaw, Scott Miller, Gary Panks, and Tom Weiskopf. Needless to say, there are some great places to play golf in the valley.

Is TPC Scottsdale a public golf course?

Yes, TPC Scottsdale is a public golf course but not a cheap one… especially in winter months. The Stadium course is more popular thanks to the Waste Management Phoenix Open but the Champions course has a great layout as well. Both are very fun and very well maintained for a public golf course but it’ll cost you. 

Does Arizona have golf bikes?

You can rent a golf bike or golf board at certain courses but not all of them. Some of them include Westin Kierland, Gold Canyon, Longbow, and others. If you do want to use a bike make sure to get there earlier than normal to watch the safety video that is required for golfers using them.

Closing Thoughts 

Whether you come to watch the PGA Tour event or want a great golf trip, there are tons of options.

My biggest advice is to try and map out your courses first then figure out the best place to stay.

For example, you don’t want to fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, then stay in Litchfield Park but play golf in Scottsdale. It’s a lot of driving and won’t make the trip as fun.

Try to play in one area like Phoenix – Scottsdale and stay somewhere that is convenient. Then make sure to visit other places like TopGolf, PuttOut, and Pop Stroke at night.

What’s your favorite place to play golf in Phoenix?

Let me know in the comments below.

Make sure to read about the Best Golf Courses in Scottsdale or the Best Golf Courses in Mesa next. 

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