Sanderson Farms Championship

The Country Club of Jackson


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Courses

The best courses you can play in Arizona

With over 200 courses in the Scottsdale area alone (and plenty more in Tucson), there’s no shortage of desert golf options in The Grand Canyon State. So, how do you pick which layouts to add to your next trip with so much golf to choose from?

Whether planning a golf getaway or looking for a local public option, we’re here to help you narrow down your Arizona golf search. We pulled our panelists’ scores from our most recent America’s 100 Greatest and Best in State rankings to determine the Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona.

Quintero Golf Club
Public
Quintero Golf Club
Peoria, AZ
Perhaps no course in the greater Phoenix area provides a better experience of the area's diverse topography. Some holes are framed by mountain ridges, others are out in the Sonoran desert. Still others are edged by manmade irrigation lakes or natural desert washes. Holes like the par-5 eighth and par-4 14th climb up long slopes, while dazzling par 3s at six and 16 plunge dramatically downhill. Quintero, a former private club, is a scenic and playable delight.
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We-Ko-Pa Golf Club: Saguaro
Public
We-Ko-Pa Golf Club: Saguaro
Fort McDowell, AZ
205 Panelists
A mainstay on Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public, the Saguaro course is ranked behind only Quintero among public options in the state. This Coore and Crenshaw design incorporates all the typical traits of a desert course while maintaining a traditional, walkable feel—the Saguaro features wide, forgiving fairways and greens situated close to the following tees. Like Bandon Trails, Sand Hills, and Friar’s Head, three of Coore and Crenshaw’s other acclaimed projects, We-Ko-Pa traces the natural movement of the land and provides 360 degree views of four surrounding mountains: Superstition, McDowell, Mazatzal and the Four Peaks.
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Wickenburg Ranch: Big Wick
Public
Wickenburg Ranch: Big Wick
Wickenburg, AZ
71 Panelists
The manageable summer temperatures at high elevation of this par-71 championship golf course allows for guests to experience well-manicured Bentgrass greens all year round. The desert track, known as “Big Wick,” is tucked away in North Phoenix and offers fantastic views of Vulture Peak and Prescott National Forest. Additionally, Wickenburg Ranch is home to a laid-back 9-hole par-3 course nicknamed “Li’l Wick” with hammocks and rest areas located between holes.
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Golf Club At Dove Mountain: Saguaro/Tortolita/Wild Burro
93 Panelists
Formerly home to the PGA Tour’s WGC match-play event, the Saguaro and Tortolita nines feature guarded greens and small targets. The Saguaro side lines a vast cactus forest, while the Tortolita sneaks through a secluded canyon. A natural stadium-like bowl surrounds the final green of the Tortolita, the perfect setting for matches that come down to the wire.
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TPC Scottsdale: Stadium
Public
TPC Scottsdale: Stadium
Scottsdale, AZ
111 Panelists
The famed home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open boasts probably the most well-known stadium hole in golf: the par-3 16th. Tiger Woods' hole-in-one in 1997 put it on the map for casual fans, who now flock to Scottsdale during Super Bowl week. The layout has architectural merit, too, with its risk-and-reward-filled back nine. Tom Weiskopf, who designed the course with Jay Morrish, has overseen renovations of the course—making tweaks to please the tour player and resort guest alike.
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Troon North Golf Club: Monument
Public
Troon North Golf Club: Monument
Scottsdale, AZ
105 Panelists
This esteemed Tom Weiskopf design pays homage to Open Championship-style golf in the middle of the Scottsdale desert. Set in the shadows of Pinnacle Peak, Troon North weaves through giant granite boulders that often impact shot options. The track is a tough, yet aesthetically pleasing experience for any golfer.
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We-Ko-Pa Golf Club: Cholla
Public
We-Ko-Pa Golf Club: Cholla
Fort McDowell, AZ
128 Panelists
Though our panelists rank the Cholla course as the second best at We-Ko-Pa, it's in the top-10 among public courses in golf-rich Arizona—making it a must-play. The Scott Miller design—located at the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, a 2022 Golf Digest Editors' Choice winner for resorts—winds through the arroyos and ridges of the Sonoran Desert. Split fairways, stacked stone riverbeds and 30-foot tall cacti in play give this hidden gem its character.
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Troon North Golf Club: Pinnacle
Public
Troon North Golf Club: Pinnacle
Scottsdale, AZ
107 Panelists
Like its sister course, the Pinnacle at Troon North is carved into the natural desert landscape with unfathomably large boulders lining the fairways and greens. Severe elevation changes create interesting variety among holes, as well as excellent vistas. The signature par-3 16th, referred to as the “Post Card,” features a tee shot over water to a large, undulating green.
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Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club
Public
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club
Maricopa, AZ
77 Panelists
An annual U.S. Open qualifying site and host to several top collegiate tournaments, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is a long and challenging sand-belt style course. The Brian Curley and Fred Couples design sits on a piece of land that was home to the Ak-Chin Indian Community until a 1912 Executive Order removed the reservation. In 2010, the community recovered its sacred base and opened the Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club for all to enjoy.
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The Boulders Club: South
Public
The Boulders Club: South
Carefree, AZ
Designed by Jay Morrish, this par-71 championship course is known for its natural beauty and intricate layout among the Sonoran Desert foothills. As players navigate boulder formations and elevation changes throughout their rounds, they are likely to spot some unique wildlife: bobcats, coyotes, and even javelina lurk among the scenic desert terrain. In June 2022, the course broke ground on a four-month bunker and greens renovation project. The greens, in addition to being expanded to their original shape and size, will be resurfaced with TifEagle Bermuda.
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Grayhawk Golf Club: Talon
Public
Grayhawk Golf Club: Talon
Scottsdale, AZ
Designed by two-time major champion David Graham and golf course architect Gary Panks, the Talon is one of two courses at Grayhawk. A challenging layout that plays just shy of 7,000 yards, it requires precision off the tee and into these well-guarded greens. It also boasts beautiful views of the McDowell Mountains and the Phoenix and Scottsdale skylines.
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Verrado Golf Club: Founders
Public
Verrado Golf Club: Founders
Buckeye, AZ
Featuring picturesque views of the White Tank Mountains, the Founders course is a very playable John Fought and Tom Lehman design. Five sets of tee boxes and generous landing areas coupled with hazardous rock formations and elevation changes make this course enjoyable for a variety of skill levels.
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Ventana Canyon: Canyon
Public
Ventana Canyon: Canyon
Tucson, AZ
One of two 18-hole layouts designed by Tom Fazio on property, the Canyon course incorporates well the natural terrain, including the rock formation known as Whaleback Rock. Its signature hole is the 18th, which features a partial island green.
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The Boulders Club: North
Public
The Boulders Club: North
Carefree, AZ
The older of the two 18-hole courses at the Boulders, the North Course presents stunning views of Black Mountain as it weaves throughout the rugged desert landscape. Also a Jay Morrish design, this track boasts bentgrass greens and several holes that are nestled tightly within ancient rock formations.
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Verrado Golf Club: Victory
Public
Verrado Golf Club: Victory
Buckeye, AZ

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: Every so often I come across a golf hole so compelling that it overshadows my memory of every other hole on the course. The par-5 18th at The Victory at Verrado is such a hole. It’s a dogleg right from the back tee (590 yards) over an irrigation pond (not really in play for big hitters) to a wide diagonal fairway with a rock escarpment on the left. The second shot is uphill to a green that’s tucked into a box canyon and protected front right by boulder outcroppings. It’s an unusual hole visually, the first hole you see driving up the street toward the course entrance, and it sets the tone for this very unusual course that was built partly on the site of an old Caterpillar Tractor testing grounds where operators learned to shove around chunks of rock using D-9 dozers. Victory is golf on the moon, but with some grass and full gravity, around rockscapes and washes, buttes and canyons.

For the complete review from our architecture editor, click here.

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SunRidge Canyon Golf Club
Public
SunRidge Canyon Golf Club
Fountain Hills, AZ
Tucked in a canyon 30 minutes northeast of Phoenix Sky Harbor, Sunridge Canyon features an intriguing mix of doglegs and carries over ravines. The course is best known for its closing "Wicked 6," which consists of two par 3s, two par 4s, and two par 5s, and plays generally uphill and into the prevailing wind. The course hosted the 1997 USGA Men's State Team Championship.
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Grayhawk Golf Club: Raptor
Public
Grayhawk Golf Club: Raptor
Scottsdale, AZ
Designed by Tom Fazio, the Raptor Course is one of two 18-hole layouts at Grayhawk. The course, which hosted the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open between 2007-'09, features generous fairways and greens, and has been lauded for excellent conditioning. The Raptor Course is also the host of the NCAA Men's and Women's Division I Golf Championships from 2021 through 2023.
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Sewailo Golf Club at Casino Del Sol
Sewailo differs from most Arizona courses in that it features more of an open, links golf feel, with ample forced carries and lots of water and sand to negotiate. Opened in 2013 and designed by former PGA Tour player Notah Begay III, Sewailo features multiple tee options for players of different playing ability.
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Papago Golf Club
Public
Papago Golf Club
Phoenix, AZ
Papago is one of the best values in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, offering incredible views of the nearby Camelback Mountains and downtown Phoenix. A recent $8 million investment into the course and the impressive Thunderbirds Golf Complex, where the Arizona State men's and women's golf teams train, have reengerized this municipal course that hosted the 1971 U.S. Amateur Public Links. The four-acre short game area boasts one of the most impressive collegiate practice facilities in the country with three acres of rough and fairway to mimic a variety of lies and a six-acre hitting area with 21 target greens and a number of fairway bunkers.
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The Phoenician Golf Club
Public
The Phoenician Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ
Phil Smith redesigned an existing 27-hole facility at The Phoenician into a new, ultra-playable 18-hole course that winds through the Sonoran Desert. The par-71 Phoenician can play as short as 4,594 yards or as long as more than 6,518 yards. The back nine winds through the mountainside, providing some dramatic views.
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Talking Stick Golf Club: O'Odham Course
The O'odham course (formerly the North Course) is one of two courses at Talking Stick designed by the acclaimed designed team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The layout places a premium on accuracy, with fairways and greens strategically surrounded by brush and waste areas and features a refreshing mix of long and shorter holes.
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Wildfire Golf Club: Faldo Course
As the name suggests, the Faldo Course at Wildfire was designed by six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo. Set on just over 6,800 yards, it plays relatively open, with ample landing areas off the tee and into greens, although there are some 140 bunkers strategically placed throughout.
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Wigwam Golf Club: Gold
Public
Wigwam Golf Club: Gold
Litchfield Park, AZ
The Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed Gold Course is the standout among three courses at the Wigwam—and it's ranked in the top 25 of public courses in the state. The Gold Course was renovated in 2015 and plays plenty long at 7,345 yards from the back tees, with narrow fairways and strategically positioned bunkers along with small greens—making it a stout tournament host.
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La Paloma Country Club: Ridge/Canyon
La Paloma features three nines designed by Jack Nicklaus—the Ridge and Canyon are considered the two best. The Canyon boasts a number of forced carries, while the Ridge features a series of elevated tee boxes.
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TPC Scottsdale: Champions
Public
TPC Scottsdale: Champions
Scottsdale, AZ
The Champions Course was built on the site of the old Desert Course and was revamped in 2007. A very walkable course when the Arizona heat is not too severe, the Champions course is more forgiving than the Stadium course but also provides some great aesthetics and shot options.
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Camelback Golf Club: Ambiente
Public
Camelback Golf Club: Ambiente
Scottsdale, AZ
Renovated in 2013, this beautifully conditioned desert course was made more playable for different skill levels, but at 7,221 yardspresents a stout challenge for advanced players. Carve out some extra time for the first-class practice facilities, including an updated short-game area. Proximity to downtown Scottsdale makes Camelback a convenient choice for many visitors, and the JW Marriott is one of the best hotels in the Scottsdale area.
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