Tee time: enjoy golf at one of the state's many courses.

Heat Stroking

Don't abandon the links just because they're hot.

Night Clubbing

Not long ago, an anonymous genius came up with the inspired idea of inserting a chemical glow stick into a golf ball, and in that moment night golf was born.

In addition to cooler temperatures, night golf offers a more casual round free of the self-importance and impatience more serious golfers (most likely in the foursome just behind you) often exude. As you might imagine, fairways and greens are illuminated, so it's not as though you're playing in complete darkness. And with glow stick necklaces often employed as a precaution, you'll not only be safe but also fashion-conscious.

In the East Valley, Scottsdale's Continental Golf Club breaks out the glowing balls for private and public nighttime tournaments every second Saturday for between $19 and $29 per participant. Or head south to The Lakes at Ahwatukee, which accepts public and private tournament reservations for approximately $25 per person. In the West Valley, Glen Lakes Golf Club has been offering public and private nighttime tournaments for years. In addition, most night rounds include a glowing ball, a cart, and some sort of food and/or drinks. Contact Continental Golf Club at 480-941-1047, The Lakes at Ahwatukee at 480-893-3004, and Glen Lakes Golf Club at 623-939-7541.

Lightning Rounds

Once upon a time, golf was a game of gentlemanly comportment. These days, however, the need for speed is gaining ground on the snail's pace of the game's more traditional form, thanks to extreme or Speed Golf.

In its infancy, speed golf simply involved running the course with no scoring component. In 1988, PGA professional and Tucson resident John Bell updated the game by combining the number of minutes it takes a player to run the course with his score to determine how he did. In other words, 30 minutes plus 47 strokes equals a score of 77. In addition to being a great workout and yet another way to enjoy the game in less sober tones than most "serious golfers" employ, speed golfers often find that with less time to think about what they're doing, their scores actually improve.

To avoid the prospect of running through unsuspecting foursomes, extreme golfers are always the first ones out on the course. We're talking daybreak here, and at less than an hour for an average round, you'll be finished and on to other endeavors before the heat ever hits its stride. Though they may not advertise the fact outright, most low- to mid-priced Valley courses are more than happy to accommodate speed golfers willing to get up early for their morning run/round. After all, it's not like you'll be holding up other foursomes.

"There are always any number of clubs that allow for extreme golfing," says Bob Babbitt of Extremegolf.com. "It's really as simple as calling any of your favorite courses and securing the first tee time of the day."

To learn more about speed golf, contact John Bell of Canyon Ranch Golf Performance Center at 520-749-9655 or visit www.extremegolf.com.

Cold Play

Forget the sun block and heavy water bottles. The key to enjoying the game in the summer months is a valid driver's license and a set of car keys.

Don't work on your game at home. The nationally acclaimed Sedona School of Golf at Oak Creek Country Club offers students a chance to learn in one of the most pristine settings imaginable. In addition to five hours of personalized daily instruction, students also receive video analysis, unlimited range usage, complimentary greens and cart fees, and the sensory overload that comes from the stunning red rock formations surrounding the facility. Two-, three- and five-day classes are available. Call 928-284-1660 or visit www.oakcreekcountryclub.com.

Easier and less time-consuming than full-size courses, "pitch and putt" courses offer a condensed nine-hole round perfect for a day trip up north. Sedona's Poco Diablo Resort combines the city's beauty with the economy of a nine-hole, par 27 track. In other words, leave the woods at home, break out the irons and enjoy the game in half the time with a round that'll have you down the mountain and back on the couch in no time. Call 928-282-7333 or visit www.pocodiablo.com.

If you're sensing a theme here, it's because the facts are irrefutable. During the summer months, it's all about heading north to cool climates and even cooler courses.

The Prescott Valley is your first logical stop, and one of its most interesting tracks is also one of its newest, StoneRidge Golf Course. Open since the summer of 2002, StoneRidge offers a unique desert/mountain hybrid design, meaning you can be reminded of the desert you call home while both cooling and teeing off at 5,000 feet above sea level. And when it comes to 19th holes, it's hard to beat Prescott's Whiskey Row. Call 928-772-6500 or visit www.stoneridgegolf.com.

Ever dreamed of hitting off the tee with the thunder of a sober John Daly? If so, then Flagstaff's Continental Country Club may be the place for you. At 7,000 feet above sea level, the thin air makes for launching-pad-type conditions, but it's not all about being macho off the tee. With lightning-fast greens and fairways that demand accuracy, this Northern Arizona classic will more than take the measure of your game. Call 928-527-7999 or visit www.continentalflagstaff.com.

From Flagstaff it's just 30 miles west to one of the state's best-kept secrets: Elephant Rocks Golf Club in Williams. The aforementioned thin air makes for great driving conditions, and spectacular views of the San Francisco Peaks and even the occasional wildlife sighting make for a high-country golf excursion a round of desert golf can't begin to approximate. Call 928-635-4935.


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