By Tom Mackin
Watching a professional golf tournament on television is one thing. But being there in person to catch the action up close is another thing entirely. You can do that three different times a year in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, where the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours all make a stop. Corporate hospitality packages at each tournament, plus meeting space at nearby resorts, can offer opportunities for singular meeting events and/or serve as enjoyable rewards for valued clients.
WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN (PGA)
TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course Feb. 4-7, 2021
The Waste Management Phoenix Open, held at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course since 1987, is well known as the “Greatest Show On Grass.” The tournament draws the largest crowds of any event on the PGA Tour, including 20,000 raucous fans on the par-3 16th hole (completely encircled by grandstands and suites), plus another 8,000 nightly at a nearby concert venue known as the Birds Nest. Numerous sponsorships are available, ranging from week- long corporate suites to daily ticket packages. There’s also a chance to play with a PGA Tour pro on the challenging Stadium Course the day before the tournament in the Annexus Pro-Am.
A variety of meeting spaces totaling 316,000 square feet are available at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess, located next to the course. Options there include two 23,000-square-foot ballrooms, versatile breakout rooms and 21 outdoor venues. Events have ranged from client lunches and small presentations to company-wide conferences and banquets of up to 1,000 guests. Guests at the resort receive a 15 percent greens fee discount at TPC Scottsdale and can take a complimentary shuttle from the resort to the course.
VOLVIK FOUNDERS CUP (LPGA)
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa March 19-22, 2020; 2021 dates TBD
The Founders Cup not only brings together the best female golfers in the world, it also pays tribute to the 13 women who started the LPGA Tour back in 1950, with special seats behind the 18th green for the remaining founders. The tournament, held since 2011 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, uses a hybrid layout featuring nine holes each from the 18-hole courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo that make up Wildfire Golf Club.
The 869-room resort contains 241,106 square feet of meeting space, with a 4,000-person capacity in its largest space. There are also 29 event rooms and up to 60 breakout rooms.
Corporate hospitality options at the tournament include a Pioneer Pavilion presented by Daphne’s Headcovers behind the ninth green. Access includes lunch, light snacks and beverages. The 18th Villa—an elevated viewing area to the right of the 18th green—includes hot lunch, snacks and beverages. The Founders Club, with an elevated viewing area directly behind the 18th green, also includes hot lunch, snacks and beverages. A viewing deck situated on the driving range offers availability for private events starting at 4 p.m. each tournament day. This year’s tournament schedule also includes the second annual Women’s Leadership Forum, featuring guest speakers from the world of golf and business, at the resort on March 19.
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP CHAMPIONSHIP (PGA)
Phoenix Country Club Nov. 5-8, 2020
Phoenix Country Club, one of the most exclusive private clubs in the state, opens its doors annually to the public with this season-ending event on the Champions Tour. Centrally located just north of Downtown, the club’s origins date back to 1899. A traditional, tree-lined, flat layout, the course places a premium on accurate approach shots to immaculately manicured greens. Only 36 Champion Tour players qualify for this season-ending tournament, creating an intimate atmosphere with a lot of prize money on the line.
Numerous corporate hospitality venues are available, including the Goldwater Chalet overlooking the 18th green, 1899 Club Box Seats at the 15th green and clubhouse, and the casual Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers Lounge at the 12th green. There’s also an Honorary Observer program, which allows two people to walk inside the ropes with a playing group during a tournament round.
Quick Tips for Planning a Successful Golf Outing
Steve Nicodemus of Pinnacle Golf Vacations has been coordinating golf trips and events in the Valley of the Sun for more than 25 years. Here are his five quick tips for making sure your next golf outing to Scottsdale goes smoothly.
Timing: January through May, when the weather is pretty much perfect, courses are in peak condition—and it’s prime time for golf and hotel rooms in Scottsdale. If you want to hold your outing then, start planning at least a year in advance.
The Right Course: Knowing the skill level of your group is key. While playing the right set of tees is always important, some courses are just harder than others. Contact the head golf professional or general manager at the course to get a good idea of the challenge that awaits your group.
Stay & Play: Multiple resorts in the area have golf right on-site, easing transportation needs, especially for large groups. Those include Talking Stick, We- Ko-Pa, Westin Kierland Resort & Spa and JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. A higher-end option is the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, which is adjacent to the TPC Stadium Course and very close to the TPC Champions Course.
Transportation: The Phoenix/Scottsdale area has hosted numerous large sporting events, which means transportation options for groups of all sizes are plentiful. Transtyle in Scottsdale is one popular option.
Rental Clubs: Die-hard golfers may bring their own golf clubs to meetings in golf destinations, but not everyone does. Phoenix Golf Club Rentals offers rentals for clients who need clubs. They have more than 100 sets of quality clubs available for rent, often at prices lower than what’s offered at the golf courses, and the clubs are delivered right to where your group is staying.