The Phoenician: A Luxury Collection ResortBy Marina Beach • Nov 21st, 2012
Nestled within the Sonoran Desert and located against Camelback Mountain lies an extravagant AAA Five Diamond resort that features several top-notch accommodations and activities. Whether you are looking for a premier round of golf on one of the Phoenician’s three courses, want to play on one of the ten tennis courts, or spend the day relaxing at the spa, Phoenician staff will customize your needs so you get the best possible experience during your stay. The Phoenician has two main properties, the hotel, which features spacious guest rooms, suites, and lakefront casitas, and a separate resort featuring the Canyon Suites. The Canyon Suites are among four of the best Valley accommodations, sharing a AAA Five Diamond rank with Four Seasons Scottsdale, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, and the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. Regardless where you stay, each room at the Phoenician offers breath-taking views.
In 1985, entrepreneur Charles Keating had a vision to combine elegant, traditional European design with colorful Southwest architecture to create a multi-million dollar upscale resort. On October 1, 1988 that vision became reality: The 250-acre Phoenician Resort was built. Much of the original resort remains the same with an addition of a new nine-hole course, new ballroom, and property renovations.
The Phoenician Golf Resort has been named “North America’s Leading Golf Resorts” by the World Travel Awards and has also been ranked among the “Top 75 Golf Resorts in America” by Golf Digest. It is one of the 17 Troon Golf managed facilities in the state, which is recognized as one of the world’s leading high-end golf development, marketing, and management corporations.
The Phoenician golf experience provides a unique feel from any of the other desert courses because of the different views from its island tee boxes. Where other Sonoran courses typically play up into the hills offering only a northern panoramic view, The Phoenician plays north and south, which gives stunning views of Tempe and Pinnacle Peak.
The three nine-hole championship-style courses were designed to contour around a player looking for a challenging, but not overwhelmingly difficult round. Course designers Ted Robinson, Sr. and Homer Flint made each nine a diverse layout so players could experience a fun and entertaining round. Although most of the holes are straight, no two holes are the same. Players can see their shots on most holes, which makes for an overall “feel good” round.
The two original courses, The Desert and The Oasis, opened with the resort in 1988, and since then The Canyon course was added in 1995. All three courses are a par 35 and each course has one par-5, with an exception to The Desert course that has two.
The Desert course plays 3060 yards from the tips and is best known for its dramatic elevation changes and awe-inspiring views. It is one of the most requested courses due to its unique layout.
Hole number one opens with a 415-yard par four with a line of bunkers on the right and left. Players that favor the left side of he fairway will have a better shot in at the green. The hole is a good starter because it allows a player to warm-up.
Hole number two is a challenging par-5 that is both mountainous and narrow. A large bunker lines the fairway close to the green, and a group of right-greenside bunkers surround the front. A player must hit straight and make an accurate club selection.
Holes three through five break-up some of the difficulty. Each hole is straight with little trouble.
Hole six is a tricky par-3 that has three greenside bunkers dispersed evenly around the hole. Camelback Mountain hugs the tee boxes on the right side.
The second par-5, hole seven, is a short dogleg right. Again Camelback Mountain jets out onto the right side, this time onto the fairway, which can create a blind approach shot.
The Desert course concludes will a hilly 372-yard par-4 that features two front greenside bunkers. With a well-hit drive the approach shot is not difficult.
The Canyon course is the shortest of the three measuring just over 3000 yards. It is located on the south side of Camelback Mountain, which accounts for the resort’s city views. The Canyon plays more difficult due to the several bodies of water and trees that come into play.
The Canyon course is deceptive at first because it does not look as challenging as the Desert course. However, it progressively becomes harder later in the round. Hole one is a slight dogleg left that again acts as a smooth transition into a round.
Holes two through six can be easily parred because there is not a lot of trouble. The fairways are open and straight with an exception to number three that has a sharp dogleg left and number six that has a slight dogleg right.
The real trouble begins on hole seven, a short par-three. A taunting lake sits right in front of the green. Two bunkers line the left of the green and one sits on a slope toward the right that can actually help prevent a mishit shot from rolling into the water. The green is large and flat, but feels like it plays a little longer than the scorecard says.
Hole eight, another par-3, is even trickier than the prior. It has three long bunkers that surround the green and a lot of large trees that may affect a tee shot. Play this hole with caution.
The finale hole is tremendous due to the length, sharp dogleg, water, and slope. The par-5 is best played on the left side of the fairway because it will eliminate the large lake on the right, but players must hit accurately because OB also borders the left. Precision is key.
Overall, the Phoenician golf experience was flawless. The 27,000 square foot practice facilities were in excellent condition and the practice putting greens had the same role as the greens on the course. The pro shop was stocked with items for men, women and juniors, and the staff was very courteous. Director of Golf Kevin Betts sums up the Phoenician experience perfectly. “Here at the Phoenician its more than just golf. We are a combined team trying to make an experience for everyone.”