Ducks in the Desert: Golf Courses Galore

SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Phoenix area is known as the “Valley of the Sun,” but a more appropriate nickname might be “Valley of the Golf Courses.” People from all over the country come here seeking the sunshine and a way to soak it up.

“It’s a golf destination is what it is,” said Rowland Cole, the general manager of Coyote Lakes Golf Club, one of roughly 220 courses in the area.

They certainly look different than the courses of Western Oregon. Instead of lush, green courses, these have a desert flair.

“We get the background of the White Tank Mountains,” Terry Noon said, describing the landscape around Arizona Traditions Golf Club. “And the possibility of rain when they say 20 percent is 0.”

With so many courses, how do you choose? We looked at some of the most affordable.

“Our average fee is about $42 right now,” said Coyote Lakes’ Cole. “The word we keep hearing is ‘fun.’ It’s a fun course. What makes it fun if you’re a golfer is it’s only 6,300 yards. So if you’re a long hitter, you can get all to all the par 5s in 2. But if you spray the ball, it’s very undulating and hilly and it’s very difficult if you spray the ball.”

“Our prices are a lot less than the east side of town by about 50 percent,” Noon said of Arizona Traditions. “The course is in the best shape it’s been in in the past couple of years. We had a great overseed, it’s growing well and people are enjoying it.”

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