Friday, May 21, 2010

Ultimate Golf Homes only way to go in Scottsdale...

The Estate

The Oasis

The Clubhouse

Condos? Hotel rooms? Gimme a break.

If you have a group of 6-12 golfers and are planning a golf trip to Scottsdale this year, stay somewhere truly memorable in one of our three Ultimate Private Golf Homes in Fountain Hills, just east of Scottsdale. They are different than any private homes you've ever stayed in on a golf trip. Period.

We opened our first home, The Estate, four years ago, and it became so popular that our owners have since purchased and Lori and I outfitted two more - The Oasis, and most recently, The Clubhouse. These homes were purchased and designed with certain things in mind - give larger groups of golfers something luxurious, convenient, affordable, and loaded with the amenities or "goodies" that make a golf trip a spectacular event.

All three properties will sleep up to 12 individual golfers and are loaded with the goodies that make it the perfect spot for a group event. Here are a few features that make each home the perfect venue:
  • 12 individual beds (who wants to sleep on a pull-out sofabed?)
  • Private Pools
  • Private Jacuzzis
  • Big-Screen TVs
  • Pool Tables
  • Poker Tables
  • Ping Pong Tables
  • Lighted putting greens at Oasis and Clubhouse
  • Fully stocked kitchens with all cooking utensils and linens
  • Wireless Internet at no charge
All three homes are located in Fountain Hills and are surrounded by world-class golf. We-Ko-Pa (Cholla and Saguro), SunRidge Canyon, Eagle Mountain, and Desert Canyon are all less than a six-minute drive from any of the homes, making for a no-hassle golf week when it comes to getting around. Here is a little more info on each property:

The Estate is a Five-bedroom, Two-story home just off Shea Blvd. and is the most "open" floor plan of the three. Upstairs is the kitchen, living room with a 52" big screen TV, poker room, and Two bedrooms, but you'll spend most of your time on the elevated back deck, which is literally built into the side of a mountain, with a huge desert wash behind. The dramatic desert views off the large back deck is the signature feature of The Estate. The back patio - complete with a propane grill - is the perfect spot for grilling steaks, having a cocktail, and puffing a cigar. The pool has a waterfall, and it's great to sit in the jacuzzi overlooking the desert wash. Downstairs you have another 50" big-screen TV just off the pool table room plus three more bedrooms. This home is unique in that it has two separate garages, so we put a Ping Pong table in the downstairs garage leading out to the pool and jacuzzi.

The Oasis is a six-bedroom, two-story home just off Shea and Saguro and is the largest property of the three. Also, two of the three bedrooms upstairs are configured with one bed only, so if you have snorers, you can lock them away in their own rooms. The best feature of The Oasis is the backyard. It has a huge pool, an observation deck with table and chairs over the jacuzzi, which is perfect for cards, cigars, etc, as well as a brand-new 900 square foot putting green, horseshoe pit, and basketball court. The Oasis sports a 52" big-screen TV in the living room as well as smaller TVs all throughout the house. The pool table room is huge, with both a professional pool table and poker table in the corner. The Ping Pong table on the back patio poolside make this the best backyard of the three properties.

The Clubhouse is the newest of Golf Zoo's trio. It overlooks the par-four 10th fairway at Desert Canyon, so don't be surprised to find a couple Pro-V1s at the bottom of the pool. Its unique feature is that it has golf course views from both the back yard and the elevated deck on the front of the house. The Clubhouse sports a few upgrades over The Estate and The Oasis in that there are high definition plasma TVs mounted in the living room and poker room, along with picnic tables, a private jacuzzi (you can sit in the jacuzzi and heckle the the golfers on #10), as well as the putting green all right there poolside. There is a good picture of the back yard looking out over the 10th fairway on a recent special we sent out. It's got a huge tandem four-car garage, so naturally we set up a Ping Pong table and a dart board. Many of my clients have said more money changed hands in the Ping Pong tournament than did on the 18th green...

All three of these properties are priced the same and are much more affordable than you would think. In peak season (January - April) it will cost between $75 - $125 per golfer per day, and in off-season will be as little as $50.00 per golfer per day. When you look at the average price of any resort (minimum $200 per night in season for a double-occupancy hotel room), it's a total no-brainer.

Call Chris Parcell (888.867.6911), Lori Greene (888.867.6921), or Marcus Blake (888.985.9166) in our Scottsdale offices for more information and we will get you a full itinerary with pricing.

Ready for something completely different? Let the games begin...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Barton Creek - Texas #1 Golf Resort!

I miss Texas.

Having grown up in Austin, I couldn't wait to get back home for the first time in 15 years to check out the #1 rated Golf Resort in Texas - Barton Creek Golf Resort and Spa. Was disappointed when we didn't fly over the State Capital on our descent into Austin, and then remembered that the Robert Mueller airport had been replaced by Bergstrom some 7 years ago! It's been a while...

I had forgotten about the topography of the Hill Country. Driving down Bee Caves Road reminded me alot of Fountain Hills, here in east Scottsdale. Windy roads let to the hilltop resort which you could see for miles in the distance. Valet parking and check in at Barton Creek was fast, efficient, and pleasant. The bellman had my bags at my "Resort Guest Room" in a matter of 5 minutes which was a nice surprise, as I find you often wait 20 minutes at some full service resorts. They also had a fresh ice bucket waiting for me. How do they do that?

The "Resort Guest Room" at Barton Creek is spacious, very nicely decorated, and has all the amenities you would want - my room was facing the back of the resort, and had a small balcony with a truly incredible view of the pool area, #18 on the Fazio Foothills course, and the rolling countryside of Barton Creek. Went down to the lobby bar "Jim Bob's" and had a late dinner - very cozy little dark bar with a decent menu at 10:00 pm.

First up was the Palmer Lakeside Course, about a 25 minute drive from the resort. Built in 1986 by the King, I enjoyed the fact that the fairways were fairly generous, and the rough was mowed relatively short - this seemed to be the most forgiving of the four courses, and had some of the best par 3's. The most dramatic hole was #11, a 201 yard par 3 with a huge waterfall in the background. Terrific views of Lake Travis and mesquite tree lined fairways make this the perfect start to your weekend. Nice job Arnie.

The afternoon round was onsite at the resort on the Crenshaw Cliffside course. #1, a short par 4 of 358 had a great view of the resort from the fairway, and resulted in a rare birdie. I always liked Ben. #10, a brutal, skinny par 4 of 455 yards produced a double bogey. I never liked that Crenshaw guy. I thought the back nine was certainly more dramatic than the front, and the #17 142 yard par 3 was stunning - downhill and downwind was a great way to finish. Back nine was really, really great stuff.

Next up was the Fazio Canyon's course on Friday morning. The Canyon's course is typically rated just behind the Fazio Foothills course on most rankings, but I thought the Canyon's was clearly the best of the four at Barton Creek. Surrounded it seemed like on all sides by hilltop mansions, it was visually stunning from start to finish. The approach shot on the par 5 #10 hole reminded me alot of the approach shot on We-Ko-Pa's famed #8, and dramatic elevation changes from tee to greens in my mind made this the clear winner. I thought just about every hole was a "signature hole" - fantastic. The 18th hole, a downhill par 5 I thought was the most dramatic hole. This course would be in my all time Top 5. In a word? Wow.

Last up was the #1 ranked Fazio Foothills course. I should have quit while I was ahead. The architect boasts on his website that it "puts a premium on long, accurate drives down the hybrid TIFsport bermuda fairways, and small undulating TIFFeagle greens makes this a shotmakers paradise." Being a 14 handicapper, long accurate drives and shotmaking are not my specialty. Although I managed to put up a pathetic 97, the Foothills course was clearly the best option for a golfer that could hit driver / 3 irons all day and be happy. #10 a 424 yard par 4 is an awesome start to an incredible back nine, with 3 of the best finishing holes anywhere. In two words??? Look out.

Being from Scottsdale, I'm spoiled when it comes to golf, but I have to say that I was blown away and just how good the golf was at all four courses. Here's how I ranked them:
  1. Fazio Canyons - Dramatic elevation changes and scenery made this #1.
  2. Fazio Foothills - 3 of the best finishing holes anywhere, and brutal - bring a dozen Pro V-1's.
  3. Palmer Lakeside - Easy and breezy. Great views of Lake Travis.
  4. Crenshaw Cliffside - Front nine? O.K. Back nine? Phenomenal.
If you're thinking about an Austin Stay and Play, Barton Creek is world class. Don't bother going anywhere else. Click here to view our Austin / Barton Creek page This includes everything, even the gratuity at the restaurant. For you die-hards, I can also pre-book replays at Crenshaw or Palmer for $30.00! Call Chris Parcell at 888.867.6911, and I can customize an itinerary for you!

P.S. Don't mess with Texas.