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Arizona is one of the best places in world for golf

The ancient boulders do give Boulders a distinctive look
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Arizona has one of the best concentrations of golf courses in the world - and the best climate for enjoying them. Many places in the state enjoy over 300 days of sunshine a year, and even if the sun isn't shining the climate is warm and dry for much of the year. The greatest concentration of top courses is in and around the neighboring cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, but there are also championship courses in other towns and cities including Tucson and Sedona.


Golf opportunities in Sedona include the course at the Sedona Golf Resort, a par-71 course set among the staggering Red Rocks country. It has been voted among the five best public courses in Arizona. Also among the red rocks of Sedona are the Oakcreek Country Club, a par-72 course, and the par-72 championship course at the Hilton Sedona Golf Resort and Spa.


In Southern Arizona, Tucson has the best collection of courses, mainly at the luxury resorts in the city's foothills. Further out, in Marana, north of Tucson, the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club has 36 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus, and said to be one of his best-built courses. The Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort has three courses with 45 holes in the Santa Catalina Mountains, while the Starr Pass Resort also has three evocatively-named courses: the Coyote, the Rattler and the Roadrunner. The Rattler has a challenging par-5 hole that features a split fairway.


In Phoenix and Scottsdale the choice of courses is bewildering. One of the oldest is the Wigwam Golf Resort in Litchfield Park, west of Phoenix. It has three courses: the Heritage, the Patriot, and the Gold. The Gold is a par-72 of 7,430 yards (6,794 metres) and is acknowledged as one of the best in Arizona. The Legacy Golf Club is at the base of South Mountain in Phoenix, and yet only a 10-minute drive from Sky Harbor International Airport. It's on what was once a private ranch and is well worth seeing as it has a rich history and scenic fairways set among the mountains.


One of the best of the resorts for golf is the Phoenician in Scottsdale. It has three 9-hole championship courses that can be played in various combinations to give several different challenges. It's been voted America's leading golf resort and has the only sand-island green in Arizona. If you want to relax after the golf you can choose from nine different swimming pools.


Of the many courses in Scottsdale, Boulders definitely has the most striking setting. There are two courses in this Sonoran desert location, with backdrops of huge 12 million-year-old boulders in places - and saguaro cactuses along the fairways. And yes, there is a chance you'll encounter rattlesnakes here - just one of those hazards which makes playing golf in Arizona more fun.


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