Scottsdale, Arizona, Thursday 18th November 2010. Scottsdale has been voted as ‘2010’s Top North American Golf Destination’ by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) at a glittering ceremony at the City of Arts and Science complex in Valencia, Spain.
Rachel Sacco, President & CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, commented: “We are delighted to receive this accolade, especially knowing that we were up against some of the world’s top golf destinations. With 51 golf courses within Scottsdale's city limits and an additional 156 courses sprinkled across Scottsdale's Valley of the Sun neighbours, we think you’ll agree that we have the numbers to back up our claim as the world’s finest golf destination.
“Golf travellers from all over the world not only visit to enjoy our courses, but to make the most of over 330 days of annual sunshine and a mere 7 inches of annual rainfall, meaning Scottsdale golfers enjoy more than 12 million rounds of golf every year. We are also home to the PGA TOUR's Waste Management Phoenix Open, the most watched and best attended golf tournament in the world, welcoming about 500,000 spectators a year. Add to that a year-round median average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and way-below-par humidity, and Scottsdale's scorecard is shaping up nicely.”
Scottsdale was named as the top North American destination as voted by IAGTO’s 340 golf tour operators from 51 different countries. Each operator was asked to nominate the best performing golf destinations this year. Operators were asked to consider customer satisfaction, quality of golf courses, value for money, professional conduct of suppliers, support from the local tourism industry and accessibility to tee times.
DESERT GOLF GEMS
No golfing landscape is as distinctive as Scottsdale's striking Sonoran Desert. Here, green fairways stretch across a starkly beautiful landscape brimming with billion-year-old rock formations, craggy mountain backdrops and towering saguaros. It's a sweeping, sun-drenched setting populated with coyotes, roadrunners, rattlesnakes and the occasional beer cart.
An internationally renowned landmark that helped put desert golf on the map when it first opened in 1990, Troon North Golf Club (www.troonnorthgolf.com) now plays better than ever thanks to a reconfiguration and renovation. Overseen by Tom Weiskopf, original designer of Troon North's Pinnacle Course and co-designer of its Monument Course, both tracks were blended and re-sequenced in 2007 to create new layouts with improved playability.
Undoubtedly Scottsdale's most recognisable club, TPC Scottsdale (www.tpc.com/scottsdale) is a 36-hole jewel best known as the host of the aforementioned Waste Management Phoenix Open – fondly referred to as “the greatest party on grass.” Here you can attempt to replicate Tiger's hole-in-one on the Stadium Course's famed 16th hole, or try to carry the water right onto the 15th hole's island green. In-the-know locals, however, rave about TPC Scottsdale's lesser known but equally scenic Champions Course, which meanders across natural ravines and rolling terrain.
Not only is Grayhawk Golf Club (www.grayhawkgolf.com) a favourite of 2010 Masters champ Phil Mickelson, for whom the club's grillroom is named, but it also developed a reputation as one of Scottsdale's most stylish golf clubs. Not to say that Grayhawk's Talon and Raptor courses aren't superstars in their own right - highlighted by Talon's scenic back nine and Raptor's tournament history. In fact, Grayhawk hosted a variety of top-flight competitive events, including the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, Williams World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods, Tommy Bahama Challenge and, of course, the Frys.com Open, a PGA TOUR event held on the Raptor Course 2007-2009.
Hand-stitched into the wilds of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation bordering Scottsdale, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club (www.wekopa.com) offers a desert golf experience like no other. Golfers are completely immersed in the Sonoran Desert with no dwellings, roads or even out-of-bounds markers to distract them from the panoramic surroundings.
Although desert golf is associated with the typical golf experience in Scottsdale, the city features several outstanding courses that provide a traditional look and feel. McCormick Ranch Golf Club (www.mccormickranchgolf.com) offers 36 holes that unfold around sprawling water hazards and along fairways of mature pine, eucalyptus and palm trees that compliment the wide open spaces of Scottsdale's desert tracks to the north. At Camelback Golf Club (www.camelbackgolf.com), play through lush tree-lined fairways, gently sloping contours and sparkling water hazards with magnificent mountain backdrops. Test your skills on the Indian Bend Course, a traditional American links-style course, or the Padre Course that was designed by world-renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills. Both McCormick Ranch and Camelback golf clubs opened decades ago and have since undergone the occasional renovation to maintain high standards of conditions and integrity of the original designs.
STAY & PLAY SUPERSTARS
Enjoy world-class resort golf at The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa (www.theboulders.com), where the top-flight North and South courses wind around and over the property's namesake rock formations.
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (www.kierlandresort.com) offers three, picturesque nine-hole layouts, allowing golfers to mix and match to create a variety of playing experiences. Kierland Golf Club was one of first in the world to feature the G2 climate-control device that changes the air temperature in and around golf carts by more than 40 degrees - keeping golfers warm in the winter and refreshed all summer long. The Westin Kierland also pays homage to the Scottish immigrants who helped develop Arizona's railroads, mines and towns by offering the Scottish Golf Experience where golfers don rented kilts and sample Johnnie Walker beverages while perfecting their swing on the course.
PLAYING FROM THE LADIES' TEE
The Boulders Resort's Fore Ladies program offers comprehensive instruction specifically designed to help ladies of all skill levels better understand the game. LGPA professional Jean Ashley Crawford revamped the resort's golf programme for women and combines three days of instruction with social activities in a non-intimidating setting. At Kierland Golf Club, female golfers receive instruction from Sandy LaBauve as part of her women-friendly program recognised by the Executive Women's Golf Association. The TPC Scottsdale's Practice to Pamper package provides instruction followed by a relaxing golf massage at Willow Stream - The Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale (www.scottsdaleprincess.com).
The new Junior Golf Academy at Troon North Golf Club focuses on the most important aspect of the game, fun! Young golfers learn important skills needed to improve, from driving the ball and hitting iron shots, to short game and rules of the game. Kierland Golf Club rolled out a family golf program that allows families to play and practice together. Juniors learn the fundamentals of putting, chipping and full swings, as well as golf etiquette and history of the game. The Family Tee program at TPC Scottsdale makes golf more enjoyable for kids and newbie adults by turning the Champions Course into a shorter, more playable venue.
PR Contacts for Scottsdale:
UK PR Representative for Scottsdale CVB
Hills Balfour, PR Account Director
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7367 0916
Vice President of Communications
Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tel: 480-429-2253 / Fax: 480-421-9733
Sarah Reck, Tourism Sales Manager - Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Giles Greenwood, Golf Tourism Development Director - IAGTO
Sarah Reck, Tourism Sales Manager - Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Peter Walton, Chief Executive - IAGTO