Arizona has more golf courses per capita than any other state west of the Mississippi River, making it one of the most popular golf destinations in the United States. The sport is also one of Arizona's major industries, and greens fees can run from $35 at a public course to more than $500 at some of the premier golfing spots. New courses seem to pop up routinely: there are more than 200 in the Valley (some lighted at night), and the PGA's Southwest section has its headquarters here.
ASU Karsten Golf Course. NCAA champions train at this Arizona State University 18-hole golf course. 1125 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, Arizona, 85281. 480/921–8070; www.asukarsten.com. $149.
Encanto Park (). There are attractive, affordable public 9- and 18-hole courses at Encanto Park. 2775 N. 15th Ave., North Central Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona, 85007. 602/262--6862; www.phoenix.gov/parks. $12 weekdays, $13 weekends for 9 holes; $37 weekdays, $40 weekends for 18 holes.
Papago Golf Course. Phoenix's best municipal course is low-priced and has 18 holes. 5595 E. Moreland St., Phoenix, Arizona, 85008. 602/275–8428; www.papagogolfcourse.net. $84 weekdays, $89 weekends.
Gold Canyon Golf Club. Near Apache Junction in the East Valley, Gold Canyon Golf Club offers fantastic views of the Superstition Mountains and challenging golf. 6100 S. King's Ranch Rd., Gold Canyon, Arizona, 85218. 480/982–9090; 800/827–5281; www.gcgr.com. Dinosaur Mountain: $190 weekdays, $198 weekends; Sidewinder: $95 weekdays, $99 weekends.
Grayhawk. This 36-hole course has beautiful mountain views. In summer the greens fee is much lower. 8620 E. Thompson Peak Pkwy., North Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85255. 480/502–1800; www.grayhawkgolf.com. $225 weekdays, $255 weekends.
HillCrest Golf Club. With 18 holes on 179 acres of well-designed turf, HillCrest Golf Club is the best course in the Sun Cities development. 20002 Star Ridge Dr., Sun City West, Arizona, 85375. 623/584–1500; www.hillcrestgolfclub.com. $50 weekdays, $55 weekends.
Raven Golf Club—Phoenix. Thousands of Aleppo pines and Lombardy poplars at this course make it a cool, shady 18-hole haven for summertime golfers. 3636 E. Baseline Rd., South Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona, 85042. 602/243–3636; www.ravenphx.com. $200.
SunRidge Canyon. East of Scottsdale, SunRidge Canyon is a great 18-hole course for both the low handicapper and those who score above 100. The incredible mountain views are almost distracting. 13100 N. SunRidge Dr., Fountain Hills, Arizona, 85268. 480/837–5100; www.sunridgegolf.com. $195.
Troon North. This course is a challenge for the length alone (7,070 yards). The million-dollar views add to the experience at this perfectly maintained 36-hole course. 10320 E. Dynamite Blvd., North Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85254. 480/585–7700; www.troonnorthgolf.com. $267 weekdays, $288 weekends.
Arizona Biltmore Country Club. The granddaddy of Valley golf courses, Arizona Biltmore Country Club has two 18-hole PGA championship courses, lessons, and clinics. Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 24th St. and Missouri Ave., Camelback Corridor, Phoenix, Arizona, 85016. 602/955–9655; www.arizonabiltmore.com. $148.
Camelback Golf Club. Challenging water holes and layouts make the two 18-hole courses at the JW Marriott's Camelback Golf Club among the best in the area. JW Marriott Camelback Inn, 7847 N. Mockingbird Lane, Paradise Valley, Arizona, 85253. 480/948–1700; www.camelbackinn.com. Padre $209, Ambiente $279.
Lookout Mountain Golf Club. This property at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs has pristine greens, beautiful mountain views, and one 18-hole, par-71 course. Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs, 11111 N. 7th St., North Central Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona, 85020. 602/866–6356; www.tapatiocliffshilton.com. $109.
Ocotillo Golf Resort. There's water in play on nearly all 27 holes at Ocotillo Golf Resort, which was designed around 95 acres of man-made lakes. 3751 S. Clubhouse Dr., Chandler, Arizona, 85248. 480/917–6660; www.ocotillogolf.com. $69 weekdays, $79 weekends.
The Phoenician Golf Club. Set at the base of Camelback Mountain, the Phoenician offers three nine-hole courses in one of the most picturesque settings in the Valley. The Phoenician, 6000 E. Camelback Rd., Camelback Corridor, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85251. 480/941–8200; www.thephoenician.com. $199.
Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale. This 36-hole course by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish is the site of the PGA Waste Management Phoenix Open, which takes place in January/February. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, 17020 N. Hayden Rd., North Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85255. 480/585–4334; 888/400–4001; www.tpc.com. Stadium $299, Champions $151.
Wigwam Golf and Country Club. This country club is the home of the famous Gold Course, as well as two other 18-hole courses. Wigwam Resort, 300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park, Arizona, 85340. 623/935–3811; www.wigwamresort.com. $99 weekdays, $129 weekends.