Its drunken 16th hole notwithstanding, the Phoenix Open has little, if anything, on the Valley's other great PGA event, the Gila River Golf Classic, Monday, October 6, through October 12 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler. Securing the game's greatest players is feat enough, but throw in a week's worth of fun activities in and around the Wild Horse Pass Casino and top it off with a touch of altruism, and suddenly you've got an event worthy of any golf fanatic's attention. Some $475,000 in prize money is on the line at the event.
Additional festivities include a classic car show, live entertainment at the casino, and a one-year birthday celebration for the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa. Proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Phoenix.
Whirlwind Golf Club, 5692 North Loop Road in Chandler, is located 3/4 mile west of I-10 off Maricopa Road. For details call 602-954-8182 or visit www.whirlwindgolf.com. - Craig Wallach
Step up to beating diabetes
It's not too late to put down the Ding Dongs, get off your can and make a difference -- so start walking. This weekend is the America's Walk for Diabetes 2003. The event can't get much easier: There are two days to choose from, and you can register that morning. They feed you lunch, give you stuff, and provide entertainment by the Sciannas. There's no registration fee, but since diabetes is a near-epidemic disease, why not secure sponsors to help raise money? Register online at www.diabetes.org/walk, or call 1-888-DIABETES (342-2383), extension 7093. The walks are Saturday, October 4, at Usery Mountain Recreation Area, and Sunday, October 5, at the Arizona Center. Both begin at 8 a.m. The Saturday walk has a choice of 2.5 or 5 miles, and the Sunday trek is 3.1 miles.- Quetta Carpenter
Double Your Leisure
The Featherlite Southwest and the Winston West series hit the track
The boys of NASCAR are back in town, showing off the Featherlite Southwest and the Winston West series on a newly renovated track at Phoenix International Raceway. After a $10 million renovation, the track is ready to be tested. "It's sort of a coming-out party for the new track," says Mike Prusinski, PR manager for PIR. "It's going to be fun to see how it affects the race." Improvements include pushing the wall back 12 feet on turn two, which Prusinski says will shatter all of PIR's speed records. The driver to keep your eye on: David Gilliland, who has four wins this season. The NASCAR Double-Header is at PIR, 7602 South 115th Avenue in Avondale, Saturday, October 4, and Sunday, October 5. For tickets, call 602-252-2227 or visit www.phoenixraceway.com. - Quetta Carpenter