The Greater Phoenix area, which includes Scottsdale, has about 200 golf courses, most of which are public or semi-private courses that anyone can play. Rates will vary throughout the year. You'll find courses you can play in the summer for $20 a round, and courses that will approach $200 per round in peak season. Many of the private courses here even offer certain days and tee times when people who are not members can get in a round of golf.
Because Scottsdale and Phoenix are located in the desert, peak season for both play and rates is going to be different than at golf courses in the northern U.S. or in the eastern U.S.
While non-golfers typically enjoy four weather seasons here -- (1) mild winter, (2) spring, (3) summer and (4) omigosh it's hot -- generally speaking, there are also four seasons for golfers:
- December - March: peak season. This is when rates are the highest and the courses should be in their best condition. There may be frost delays for a.m. tee times, especially in January and February. While it may not seem terribly cold to people who are visiting from other regions, it does get below freezing in the Arizona desert at night, and having people drive on and play on frozen ground damages the course.
- April - May: transition to summer. Green fees at golf courses may change dramatically during these months as the weather starts to warm up and our winter visitors leave for cooler parts. Toward the end of April we typically begin to see temperatures approaching or surpassing the 100 degree mark.
- June - August: summer. No doubt about it. It's hot. For much of the summer the temperatures don't dip below 100°F, and 110-115 is not uncommon. People play golf early, usually starting around 6:30 a.m. Green fees are the cheapest in the summer. Twilight rates after 2 or 3 p.m. are even cheaper, but remember that this is the time when the temperature is the highest. If you don't regularly play in 100° + temperatures, beware of heat-related illness. It is very common here. Do not play by yourself in extreme heat.
- September, October and November: transition to fall. It doesn't cool down too much in September, but at least it isn't 115 degrees. Rates are typically low. Some courses begin annual course maintenance is September. October and November are typical months for course closures and/or limitations (such as cart path only) due to overseeding and aeration of golf courses. During this time it is important to know that the course won't be as pretty, the greens may be bumpy, and you might be doing a lot of walking. Call the pro shop to find out what kind of maintenance activities are going on that would affect your round.