Top public, private golf courses in Arizona

Arizona is a gifted golf state with desert courses of all kinds to suit any budget or taste. Especially in the region of Phoenix and Scottsdale, there are miles and miles of fairways to welcome residents, visitors and seasonal snowbirds alike.

Tops among the public-access offerings is We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro Course, designed by famed architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. One of two courses at the facility operated by a casino next door, the Saguaro Course ranks No. 1 in Arizona on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list for each state.

Golfweek’s Best offers many lists of course rankings, with the list of top public-access courses among the most popular. All the courses on this list allow public access in some fashion, with it standard daily green fees, through a resort or by staying at an affiliated hotel. If there’s a will, there’s a tee time.

Also popular are the Golfweek’s Best rankings of top private courses in each state, and that list is likewise included below. Key: (m) denotes modern course, built in or after 1960; (c) denotes classic course, built before 1960.

Golfweek’s Best public-access courses in Arizona

1. We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro), Fort McDowell (m)

2. Wickenburg Ranch, Wickenburg (m)

3. Quintero, Peoria (m)

4. TPC Scottsdale (stadium), Scottsdale (m)

The 15th hole at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course, which Tom Weiskopf designed with longtime partner Jay Morrish.  The course is home to the PGA Tour's WM Phoenix Open.

5. Golf Club at Dove Mountain (Saguaro/Tortolita), Marana (m)

6. Ventana Canyon (Mountain), Tucson (m)

7. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, Maricopa (m)

8. We-Ko-Pa (Cholla), Fort McDowell (m)

9. Troon North (Monument), Scottsdale (m)

10. Troon North (Pinnacle), Scottsdale (m)

11. Grayhawk (Raptor), Scottsdale (male)

12. Grayhawk (Talon), Scottsdale (m)

13. Sewailo, Tucson (m)

Sewailo Golf Club at Casino del Sol in Tucson.

14. Boulders Resort (South), Carefree (m)

15. Tucson National (Catalina), Tucson (m)

16. La Paloma (Ridge/Canyon), Tucson (m)

17. Boulders Resort (North), Carefree (m)

18. Gold Canyon Golf Resort (Dinosaur Mountain), Gold Canyon (m)

19. Las Sendas, Mesa (m)

20. Papago, Phoenix (m)

21. Verrado (Founders), Buckeye (m)

22. Legacy, Phoenix (m)

23. Whirlwind (Cattail), Chandler (m)

24. TPC Scottsdale (Champions), Scottsdale (m)

25. SunRidge Canyon, Fountain Hills (m)

26. Starr Pass, Tucson (m)

27. Sedona Golf Resort, Sedona (m)

28. Camelback (Ambiente), Scottsdale (m)

29. Wildfire at Desert Ridge (Faldo Championship), Phoenix (m)

30. Los Caballeros, Wickenburg (m)

The 12th hole at Estancia in Arizona, a private golf course designed by Tom Fazio.  Photo courtesy of Estancia

Golfweek’s Best private courses in Arizona

1. Estancia, Scottsdale (T19, m)

2. Desert Forest, Carefree (T47, m)

3. Scottsdale National (The Other Course), Scottsdale (m)

4. The Rim, Payson (m)

5. Forest Highlands (Canyon), Flagstaff (m)

6. Whisper Rock (Upper), Scottsdale (m)

7. Whisper Rock (Lower), Scottsdale (m)

T8. Desert Highlands, Scottsdale (m)

T8. Stone Canyon, Oro Valley (m)

10. Silverleaf, Scottsdale (m)

11. Troon CC, Scottsdale (m)

T12. Mirabel, Scottsdale (m)

T12. Pine Canyon, Flagstaff (m)

14. Forest Highlands (Meadow), Flagstaff (m)

Torreon Golf Club in Show Low, Arizona.  Photo courtesy of Torreon/Allan Henry

15. Torreon (Cabin), Show Low (m)

16. Desert Mountain (Cochise), Scottsdale (m)

17. Flagstaff Ranch, Flagstaff (m)

18. Paradise Valley CC*, Paradise Valley (c)

19. Desert Mountain (Chiricahua)*, Scottsdale (m)

20. The Gallery (North), Marana (m)

Note: If a course has a number in parenthesis, that indicates the course’s ranking on either the prestigious Golfweek’s Best Top 200 Modern or Classic course lists.

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