“It’s a dry heat.”
That’s the cliché you hear again and again when visiting Scottsdale in the summer. But as horrible as weather that requires eight syllables to describe sounds — I recently played golf there at 111 degrees — it turns out to be true. The combination of heat and humidity that hits much of the country in summer is much more draining than higher temperatures here.
But why would anyone want to play golf in such extreme weather? Because it’s really good and really cheap.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the most attended golf tournament in the world, and its venue, the TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium course, is instantly familiar to TV-watching fans. The famous 16th hole is a par-3 completely encircled by stands and bleachers (although the stands come down in summer), like playing golf inside an arena. It is one of the most iconic golf holes on the planet, the spot where Tiger Woods once famously wowed thunderous crowds with a magical hole in one. Golfers love to play in the footsteps of history, and for this reason, the TPC Scottsdale is an ultra-desirable spot to visit on a golf vacation.
It’s also one of the pricier rounds in the country, at least in peak season, when greens fees run as high as $369. But in summer, specials dip as low as $69, meaning you could play it five times for the rack rate and still have money left over for beer. This makes an out-of-reach dream suddenly attainable for many everyday duffers, and it is not just this course, but dozens of other desirable layouts across the region and around the country.
“It’s hot, but at least it’s not raining,” said Kieran Bell, a high school teacher from upstate New York who flew out west to stretch his golfing dollars on his summer break. Bell noted that unlike many of the world’s most desirable golf destinations in peak season, the weather here is reliably dry and virtually guarantees you can play every day. It’s also gloriously bug-free, an unheralded but valuable added benefit. Bell was playing 36 for most of his visit because “there are all these clubs here like this one [TPC Scottsdale] with two good courses, and if you play both it’s even cheaper.” As for the heat: “I just drink a lot of water and I’m taking a…