Here’s how to take a golf buddies trip to Scottsdale for less than $1K

August 30, 2019

If you’ve never experienced the joy of desert golf, late summer and early fall are a great time to visit Arizona, home of some of the finest desert golf in the country. (Full disclosure: I live here now, but I felt that way even before I made the move!)

The temps are cooler than the scorching summer months, but still hot enough to allow you to enjoy a morning or afternoon poolside. And the seasonal crowd hasn’t yet arrived en force, so crowds aren’t a big issue. In short, there’s no reason not to plan your next buddy trip in the Valley of the Sun. Check out the budget breakdown below to see how you can do it for less than $1,000 per person.

*Note: Many courses in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area temporarily close for overseeding in September/October, so make sure to call ahead before booking your trip to avoid disappointment!

AIRFARE: ~$1,200 ($300 EACH)

Airfare is from the east coast to Phoenix is a pretty reasonable for a weekend I selected in October. From JFK and Boston, you can expect to spend around between $275 and $350 for a nonstop flight. Chicago flights are slightly cheaper, ranging from $240-$260. (Prices via Kayak.)

TOTAL AIRFARE SPEND: ~$300 x 4 tickets = $1,200


You’ll want to do some exploring during your Scottsdale weekend, as well as have easy access to the courses on your itinerary with your clubs, so I think renting a car is a good idea. Fox Rent A Car offers a standard SUV for only $205 (price via Kayak) for a Friday-Monday itinerary, which seems like a pretty good deal. And, bonus! There will be plenty of space for both your buddies and all your sticks.

TOTAL SPEND: $1,200 +$205 = $1,405

Talking Stick Resort is a great Scottsdale base for a buddies trip.
Talking Stick Resort is a great Scottsdale base for a buddies trip.

HOTEL: $1,006

Beautiful resorts are plentiful in Scottsdale, but because this is a buddies trip, my pick is Talking Stick Resort, where you can book two rooms with two beds for $159/night (price via Expedia) plus a $25 resort fee.

Why Talking Stick? Not only is it a resort complete with a casino, its next-door neighbor is TopGolf Scottsdale. Buddy-trip jackpot!

TOTAL SPEND: $1,405 + $1,006 (two rooms, three nights) = $2,411

Troon North in Scottsdale is a must-play for golfers visiting Arizona.
Troon North in Scottsdale is a must-play for golfers visiting Arizona.

GREEN FEES: $1,000

Great golf can be found in abundance in Scottsdale, so narrowing it down to two choices for a weekend trip is tough. But you can’t go wrong with a round at Troon North, a staple of GOLF‘s Top 100 Courses You Can Play, and a first-class experience from start to finish. It’s also less than a 30-minute drive from Talking Stick.

Green fees are kind of steep: $199 apiece. But you can save a bit if you opt to play after 2:00, when the price drops to $125.

Day 2 options depend on your budget. If you want another splurge, go for TPC Scottsdale‘s Stadium course, annual home of the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. But if you want a more wallet-friendly round, check out Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club, just 3.5 miles from Talking Stick, always in nice shape, with tee times available for under $50 a player.

GREEN FEES: $1,000 (four players, two rounds)

TOTAL SPEND: $2,411 + $1,000 = $3,411

DINING: $580

Dining, as we know, can be a real budget buster. One way to keep costs down on a buddy trip is to head to the nearest Wal-Mart or Costco upon arrival and load up on some sustenance for the weekend: snacks, booze, mixers, whatever you like. Let’s say that’s $100.

One nicer sit-down night out between the four of you will be, say, $200.

If your group can sustain itself on breakfast bagels ($30 x 3 days = $90) two Chipotle-type dinners ($45 x 2 = $90) and some hot dog-fueled course lunches ($50 x 2 days = $100), your total dining spend would be … $580.

That’s a total spend of …

$3,411 + $580 = $3,991

$3,991 divided by four people = $997.75/person!

That’s less than $1k per person for three nights and two days of glorious golf and sun in Scottsdale. Ready to book? Happy travels!

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