When the snow starts to fly in Western Canada and all the golf courses are shut down for the season, there will be a steady stream of traffic crossing the Canada/US border looking for warmer (golfing weather) climates. There is probably no consensus as to which state gets the most snowbirds; whether it’s California or Arizona.
If you decide on an Arizona golf vacation for your next trip, you will most likely gravitate towards, Phoenix, Scottsdale or Mesa area. Our visit to this area, several years back, took us to the Orange Tree Golf Resort in Scottsdale.
Orange Tree Golf Resort
Carved out of an orange grove back in 1957, the Orange Tree Golf Course is a par 72 layout measuring 6,762 yards. The perimeter of the course is still lined with orange trees. Designed by Lawrence Hughes and Johnny Bulla, the course is immaculately maintained with Bermuda grass fairways and greens. It is a USGA-rated championship golf course that can probably be classified as a classic, old style course. The eighteen holes are well designed and challenging and will require all of your golfing skills. The green of the signature eighteenth hole is protected by a pond on the left hand side. It is imperative that your drive stay well away from the left side fairway rough; otherwise you will be faced with a challenging shot over water to the green. The practice facility of the course is comprised of two putting greens, a chipping green, and an ample driving range situated between holes number one and ten.
The Orange Tree Golf Resort did not host any PGA sponsored events, but many professionals have spent their winters here, taking lessons from the resident teaching professional, Ed Oldfield. I still recall seeing the name Jan Stephenson on the bulletin board for her upcoming visit to the course. I also understand that professionals such as Amy Alcott, Scott Verplank and John Daly have spent some time visiting Ed.
In the early 1990’s, the Orange Tree Golf Course was transformed into the Orange Tree Golf Resort with the addition of a one hundred and sixty room accommodation, also known as the Shell Vacation Hospitality, one of the best hotels is Scottsdale, Arizona. The facility has all the usual amenities one can expect in such a resort, including wireless internet and a two-person whirlpool tub. Other resort amenities include a spa service and a variety of massages…one known as a Tibetan Bell Massage.
Scottsdale Hotels, Fine Dining and Other Activities
Being situated in the middle of Scottsdale, Orange Tree Golf Resort is in the midst of numerous dining facilities. Old Town Tortilla Factory, Mexican, Hiro Sushi, Japanese, Pita Jungle, Greek and some good ol’ fashioned local cuisine at Eli’s American Grille are some of your choices. For breakfast, you might venture over to Butterfields Pancake House.
For after golf diversions, there are a number of activities to choose from. First and foremost, you must visit the Sonoran desert. No matter where you come from, the desert landscape is bound to grow on you as you step into the sage brush and various kinds of cacti. River rafting, hot air ballooning, shopping, art museums and the Phoenix Zoo are some of the other activities you might indulge in. If you wish to make a day of it, or are thinking of winding down the vacation to go home, you must visit the Grand Canyon before you do so. It is only about two hundred and thirty miles from Scottsdale or little less than a four-hour drive.
For those of you who are on a “short” vacation, staying at the Orange Tree Golf Resort would be a very wise choice since it is so centrally located. For those spending the winter in this area, Orange Tree is still a great location from where you can choose to visit other golf courses in and around Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe or Mesa. I can’t begin to guess how many golf courses there are in this entire area to choose from.
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