A November 2000 trip
to Scottsdale by jim
Quote: I spent a few days in Scottsdale at a conference, but had a little time to enjoy myself as well.
Hiking and mountain biking are fantastic all around Scottsdale and Phoenix.
I also enjoyed walking around Old Scottsdale and looking at the Southwestern stores (although they were a bit touristy and expensive but good for a few interesting moments). This would have been much more fun if my fiance had been with me!
Running along the canal to Arizona State University and seeing some of the campus was fun. The football stadium is very cool with two rocky mountains on surrounding it.
Finally, I got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, PF Chang’s. It is a chain restaurant but is at its best in Scottsdale.
Stay at one of the smaller hotels right outside of Old Scottsdale. They are nice, affordable and very close to what you will want to see/do.
Go to one of the many spas in the area for a world-class treatment/massage.
If you are staying in the Old Scottsdale area, renting a mountain bike to get around is a good idea. My hotel was within 2-3 miles of everything I wanted to do, so I enjoyed riding a bike. However, it might not be such a good idea in the summer when it is blistering hot.
Hotel | "Hotel Waterfront Ivy"
The rooms are massive and include a separate living room and kitchenette. The bed is extremely comfortable with several feather pillows and great linen.
Plus the service is great including a couple of special touches (including a rubber ducky in the tub and a delectable chocolate chip cookie every night). It's the one time I was glad my fiance wasn't with me so I didn't have to share!
A complimentary breakfast (buffet style) is provided. Plus there are several small pools and cabanas on the property as well as very nice tennis courts. You can sign up for spa services, but in a town like Scottsdale I would recommend you go to one of the more prominent spas for a massage or other treatment. The location is great (close to Old Scottsdale and Camelback Mountain) and the service at the hotel was fantastic. You also don’t have to pay a fee to dial up the Internet from your room (as long as you use an 800 number). All in all, I enthusiastically recommend this hotel.
By the way, I booked my room on www.quikbook.com. That may explain why the price was so good.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 26, 2000
Ivy at the Waterfront
7445 EAST CHAPARRAL RD
Scottsdale, Arizona 85250
Hotel | "Pointe South Mountain Resort"
The rooms are fairly large and the suite I stayed in had a kitchenette and separate sitting room. The bed was very comfortable and the service at the hotel was exceptional. Little touches like apples in the lobby and the valets dressed in pseudo cowboy gear were nice.
What I really enjoyed was the spa. The spa has a full gym with aerobic equipment, weights, classes and everything else you need to get a really good workout. It doubles as a fitness center for some people who pay a monthly fee. You also have a great pool, excellent tennis facilities and a championship golf course.
The location was convenient for the airport (about 10 minutes away) and right off the highway (which in some people’s eyes is also a bad thing). But most importantly for me, it was right next to some great hiking and biking (although oddly enough the resort did not rent bikes).
Arizona Grand Resort
8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway
Phoenix, Arizona 85044
Restaurant | "P. F. Chang's China Bistro"
P.F. Chang's China Bistro
7014 East Camelback Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
+1 480 949 2610
Restaurant | "Madison's Restaurant and Bar"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 26, 2000
7108 East Stetson Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
+1 480 949 8453
Restaurant | "Elements"
The setting is absolutely beautiful. The restaurant is set against Camelback Mountain and looks down on a scenic portion of Paradise Valley. There may not be a more romantic spot at sunset (certainly for a restaurant). We ate inside because it was a windy night, but usually there is outdoor seating. The patio where you eat overlooks a gorgeous pool.
As you would expect, the décor of the restaurant is quite attractive. It is a very hip place, but not in an over the top way. In fact, I thought it was a very soothing atmosphere, particularly if your table has a nice view.
Most importantly, the food was spectacular. I had the sea bass and it practically melted in my mouth. The crab salad appetizer was also heavenly. Of course, I saved room for dessert and savored the chocolate cake (with a creamy melted chocolate center). The wine choices are excellent--no matter what you choose, you will have a wonderful meal.
I enjoyed the meal so much that I am not going to wait for a special occasion to go back next time.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 7, 2004
Scottsdale, Arizona 85253
The course has excellent range facilities and the chipping and putting areas are in excellent condition. I strongly recommend you warm up for this course. There is also a gorgeous club house and nice café/bar overlooking the golf course. The cheeseburger hit the spot after the ninth hole.
The GPS system on the carts provided all the distance information and "pro tips" to help you play the proper shot. The tips are essential because if you don’t manage the course well you can get in lots of trouble. In fact, you may hit several seemingly perfect shots that end up putting you in a bad spot.
Regarding the play, you have to keep the ball in the fairway. The brush, rocks, and ravines eat balls at a rapid rate. Plus, you are a bit hesitant to go looking for them after the warning about snakes, scorpions, and the like.
Some of the holes are downright hard. I was scratching my head on the tees wondering where I could put the ball. On the 18th tee I hit what I thought were two nice shots and ended up in the water both times. A short game is important, but don’t expect the greens to hold your ball very well. In other words, if you go at the pin your ball is off the green. The greens were lightning fast. Count on a few three putts . . . we even had a couple four putts in our foursome.
Having said all of that, I really enjoyed this course despite shooting my worst score in over 20 years. It can be frustrating when your good shots aren’t always rewarded, but the scenery and quality of the course make this a wonderful golf experience. The next time I play here I will be ready for all of the little secrets of this course.
A tip on the green fees: we got a special rate of $75 (in April) per person because we paid together as a foursome (a total of $300). If we had paid individually, it would have cost $129 per person (a total of over $500).
Las Sendas Golf Club
7555 E. Eagle Crest Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85207
The clubhouse and practice facilities were fantastic. You couldn’t ask for better. The practice greens were a nice approximation of the actual greens on the course.
I played from the back tees, which really make the course challenging. Even from here, the course is not particularly long, but you get some real tough holes because of the extra yardage. From the back tees most of the par threes were close to 200 yards, and there was a par four that was 495 yards. From the next farthest tees you get a pretty big break, but the course was still challenging.
If you have a woman in your group, she gets a massive break in terms of yardage on many of the holes. For a long-hitting woman, she will be able to reach the green on a couple of her drives. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are several very short holes (just over 300 yards for the par fours and a couple of very manageable par fives).
The course has a bit of elevation, so you have a couple of holes where you are way above the green and fairway. These holes were beautiful and a lot of fun. There are also water hazards on a couple of holes, but nothing too difficult. Irregardless of which hole you are playing, you have to keep the ball in the fairways because the desert terrain makes it very hard or impossible to hit out of the rough.
One funny thing--I have never seen so many rabbits. They are everywhere on this course.
Lookout Mountain Golf Club at Tapatio Cliffs
11111 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85020
The facilities are immaculate. There is a fantastic driving range and putting green, plus the clubhouse is top-notch. I recommend you take the time to grab some food and/or drinks in the clubhouse while you are there.
Regarding the play, there are some very challenging holes. If you decide to play from the back tees there are some very long holes. But I liked the challenge and felt that the course was fair. If you hit a good shot, you were generally rewarded. I particularly liked a couple of the longer par threes that required a long iron or a short wood. The par fives were also fun in that you had to really hit it a long way to reach them in two. Be prepared to use every club in your bag, including your sand wedge (the sand traps caused me a little trouble).
Considering I wanted a desert course, I wasn’t that impressed with the course . . . and it is not the cheapest course in the Phoenix area. But I don’t want to discourage anyone from going here. It is a nice place to play as long as you know what to expect.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 7, 2004
Talking Stick Golf Club
9998 E Indian Bend Rd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85256
Some other comments about the course:
- The course was fair and didn't require you to be a scratch golfer to score relatively well. Most of the holes had a bail-out area off the tee (except when the water was on the right side), and the fairways were pretty wide.
- The twilight rate (after 1pm during the winter) saved us a decent amount of money, and we were able to finish the round (just barely).
- The course did provide some nice views of beautiful desert-style homes. This is clearly a nice neighborhood, and the trees, waterfalls, and waterways made for some excellent scenery.
- Avoid the sand. Some of the bunker shots were extremely hard.
- The course couldn't have been in better shape. The greens were very fast and smooth, and the fairways were very lush and well tended.
My only complaint about the course is a relatively minor issue. The course needed better yardage markers. The 150-yard markers were prominent, but almost any other distance was difficult to determine. I strongly recommend you buy a yardage book from the pro-shop. Otherwise, you will be repeatedly frustrated as you try to pick your club.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 28, 2004
Ocotillo Golf Resort
3751 S Clubhouse Dr.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85224
Attraction | "Legacy Golf Resort"
More important than the scenery, the golf experience is excellent. There are many challenging holes with well placed hazards and well manicured greens on every hole. I thought the course was fair although you do get punished for errant tee shots. There are a few very long par fours and I couldn't reach the par fives in two shots (and I normally can), but I wouldn't call it a particularly long course. We played from the back tees (not the championship tees) and I never had to hit more than a mid iron into the green (except for about three holes). The par threes were also mid iron distance.
On the day we played, we followed a college tournament so the pin placements were pretty tough. But the greens weren't ridiculous. They were quick but not scary. There were some undulations and you could end up with some long putts, but overall the greens were fair.
All said, this was a very enjoyable golf experience. It was a very pretty course with lots of interesting golf shots. One bonus, it is easy to get to from the airport if you are arriving for a golf road trip with buddies.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 28, 2004
The Legacy Golf Resort
6808 S. 32nd Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85042
On a previous trip to Scottsdale, I did some mountain biking around the Pointe South Mountain Resort (see separate journal entry). If you like biking over rough, desert terrain don't miss it. It is beautiful, wide open and very exhilarating.
Charlotte, North Carolina