Restoring Phoenix's Papago Golf Course was $6 million well spent, says a Houston-based writer at a national golf Web site.
Indeed, we remember seeing golfers lined up at the gates well before dawn back in the 1980s. Then, as now, the course's best feature is its value.
For many years, Papago was considered one of the finest municipal courses in the country. Built in the 1960s by William Bell, the same man who designed the world-famous Torrey Pines golf course in San Diego, Papago has become a quasi-public entity in partnership with the Arizona Golf Foundation, which will run the course with city oversight.
For the quality of these 18 holes, $59 is an absolute steal in the prime Arizona winter golfing season. Hardcores can forego the cart and play for $44.
True, you have to be a Maricopa County resident and pay a $50 yearly fee up-front to get those prices (the fee includes resident pricing at other golf courses, too). But for younger or more frugal golfers who want to hone their skills on a course even a pro can love, Papago's a pretty good choice.
Call or e-mail the course well in advance to get set up with a tee time. As of this morning, only afternoon times for foursomes were available for next weekend. -- Ray Stern