There are many different prices for the same golf course in Arizona. The most obvious difference is the disparity between winter and summer rates, which can be as low as $25.00 in the summer, but $200.00 or more at the same course in the winter. There is also a large difference between weekday and weekend rates. And even during the week, the later you play in the day you might receive a reduced rate, or “Twilite Rate” as they call it. There are different rates for walking and for the use of a cart. Sometimes, even if you walk they charge you the same price as they would if you ride a cart. Some courses charge different rates for residents and non-residents.
If you are traveling and staying at a particular resort, you might ask the resort if they have any special arrangements with the golf course which would get you a reduced rate. We know that some hotels have rates for the Resort Course which is next door that are far less than it would be for the general public. Some courses also have special arrangements with golf courses in the area, and we have even heard of some hotels which offer shuttle service to certain golf courses at no charge.
Another good source of reduced rates are the coupons in the Arizona Republic. Be careful to watch for the expiration dates or limitations regarding holidays or weekends. Some courses include Fridays as part of the weekend. If it is during a transition period, be sure you ask whether over seeding is in progress or whether they have aerated or sanded the greens. Some courses will put out coupons only when the course is not in condition to be played, or at least it is not very enjoyable. Over seeded greens that are so thick you need your driver to putt, or those that have just been aerated or sanded and you feel like the green has just been through a sand storm, do not enhance the golfing experience for us.
A good source on the internet is golfnow.com. Do not make a reservation on golfnow.com unless you absolutely, positively will be there, as you pay immediately in most cases and there are no refunds unless the course is closed. You also must make these tee times just a few days before you are there, so if you are planning a trip from out of town this may not be the best way to do it unless you have the freedom to pick your golf courses at the last minute. You can also schedule tee times for singles on golfnow.com, which for a visitor is a plus.
Other types of reduced green fee plans include the Southwest Pass through the SouthWest section of the PGA, which is a pass we use frequently. It is a good value if you play often, but every golfer must have the pass to get the reduced rate. If you are an out of town visitor, the cost would probably out weigh the benefits if you were only playing once or twice in Arizona.
The City of Phoenix also offers a discount pass which can be purchased for a relatively small sum to obtain discounts at the city owned courses such as Papago, Encanto, Maryvale, and Aguila. It is a good value if you play these courses frequently.
Finally, there are also passes offered by golf courses owned or operated by the same group, which allows reduced prices those golf courses. Certain individual golf courses also offer their own special rate if you intend to play frequently at that course. An example would be the We-Ko-Pa golf courses near Fountain Hills which sometimes offers a pass during the summer time at a reduced rate for the cardholder and guests.
The rates we paid can be any one of the above, but are most often through the use of the Southwest Pass; a coupon; or a golfnow.com tee time.