Travel mailbag: The best courses in the Phoenix area for a bachelor party

tpc scottsdale scenic

If you're headed to the desert, Scottsdale is a terrific place to start.

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Welcome to GOLF’s Travel Mailbag, a series in which members of our staff field your course- and travel-related queries. Have a question for a future mailbag? Tweet us at @golf_com.

What are the best courses in the Phoenix area for a bachelor party?

Divots and debauchery, eh?

You’ve picked a good place.

The biggest challenge here isn’t finding properties that pair high-quality golf with post-round revelry. The trick is narrowing down the choices. There’s only so much you can squeeze in over what we suspect won’t be much longer than a weekend getaway.

You might start by checking out Talking Stick Resort. It’s in Scottsdale, but just a quick skip from the Phoenix airport. Talking Stick has two courses, the O’odham and the Piipash, Coore-Crenshaw designs that complement each other in their styles: the former is more links-like, the latter more tree-lined. Both will test your shot-making, but neither was built to beat you up. 

Blackjack, on the other hand, can absolutely crush you.

But, hey, you’ve got gambling money, right?

We-Ko-Pa is a slice of desert bliss. Patrick Koenig

Talking Stick isn’t just a resort. It’s a casino resort. That means table games, slots and all the other trappings. Live music. Comedy shows. Surf-and-turf restaurants. Pool parties. A bonanza for a bachelor bash.

You could say something similar of We-Ko-Pa, in Fort McDowell, another golf/casino one-two punch. There are two courses here, too, the Saguaro and the Cholla, and both routinely rate among the top public tracks in the area (Saguaro is also on GOLF Magazine’s list of Top 100 Courses You Can Play). 

Moving along on the public-access list, we’d be remiss not to point you toward Papago, a muni with a pedigree. Owned by the city of Phoenix, it was designed by Billy Bell in the 1960s and, in renovated form, doubles today as the home course for the Arizona State men’s and women’s golf teams. When you wrap up your 18, we recommend another round or two at Lou’s Bar & Grill, an outdoor venue on property that has live music Thursdays through Saturdays. 

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The music isn’t always live at Grayhawk Golf Club, farther north, in Scottsdale, but it’s almost always playing. Rock tunes echo in the parking lot and pump from speakers on the driving range, adding to the festive atmospherics at a 36-hole venue that used to host a PGA Tour event. Phil’s Grill, aka Lefty’s Lair, is the popular post-round gathering place here, a kickback bar and restaurant adorned with memorabilia from its namesake’s Hall of Fame career. (Mickelson has served as Tour ambassador for Grayhawk for decades.)

By the end of a bachelor-party weekend, you might be too worn down for a regulation 18.

You could always do Topgolf; there’s a great one in the heart of Scottsdale.  

You might also consider the Short Course at Mountain Shadows, an 18-hole, par-3 design, in Paradise Valley, at a resort of the same name. Back in the day, Mountain Shadows was a frequent hangout for members of the Rat Pack, and the property retains a throwback cocktail-hour vibe. 

Our own Alan Bastable was just there with a group of friends, and you can read more about his visit here. Bastable and his crew are all middle-aged, their wild bachelor days long behind them. But the article provides a nice description of Mountan Shadows. You might also read it as a comforting reminder that guys’ getaways don’t have to end when married life begins.

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Josh Sens Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.