What are three things that draw people to Arizona in the Winter? If you answered golf, golf, and more golf, you are correct.
This weekend the FBR Open (now renamed Waste Management Phoenix Open) swings into Scottsdale, Arizona in one of the biggest events of the entire PGA Tour. The annual event draws hundreds of thousands of people to Tournament Players Club to watch as the top professional golfers of the PGA duke it out for a $6 million dollar prize. Wait, hold on, that almost sounds like it might be a little bit exciting. I don't want to mislead anyone here.
What I mean to say is that golf, the favorite sport of doctors and CEOs, is a huge hit here in Phoenix. Thanks to a mild winter climate and the wonders of modern irrigation, Phoenix has become a mecca for year-round golf enthusiasts. Golf has become a symbol of Phoenix as much as hippies have become a symbol of San Francisco. There are over 60 different golf courses in the Phoenix metro area!
There are three main types of golf courses in Phoenix: municipal courses, resort courses, and private golf clubs. Municipal courses do not require an annual membership and typically charge sensible admission fees. This is where the locals and college teams go to perfect their swings.
Large resorts such as The Pointe, The Arizona Biltmore, and The Phoenician offer "play and stay" packages that include a combination of hotel room and golf course fees. These are very popular with out of state visitors, tourists, and other folks who should have brought more sunscreen.
Private golf clubs are common in master-planned residential and retirement communities like Anthem, Sun City, Sun City West, and Sun City Grand. They often require memberships and frown on letting outsiders play on their courses. Private clubs are popular with retirees and wealthy private citizens who consider non-members to be "rifraff." It's amazing they can even see the flagstick with their noses so high in the air!
And yet the FBR Open is the one time of year when golf fans from all walks of life unite in Scottsdale to watch the best of the best at work. Or play. Or whatever you call it.
If you cannot be in Scottsdale this weekend to see it for yourself, you could do something equally exciting like solving a crossword puzzle or taking a nap. On second thought, that might actually be more fun than watching golf.