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The Valley of the Sun, otherwise known as Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ., has long been recognized for its golf amenities. Boasting sunshine in excess of 300 days each and every year, the area has long been a favorite for golf junkies and even those who prefer to play less frequently. Recently, Golf World magazine readers ranked Scottsdale as the fourth best place to play in the world! The area is perhaps, best know for its premium priced offering, especially in the dead of winter when geographical options for play aren’t exactly plentiful.
Recently, Papago Golf Course, a municipal golf course in Phoenix that originally opened in 1963, re-opened for public play in early December after shutting down in April.
The restoration project, the reason for its temporary closure, was a direct result of a partnership between the City of Phoenix, the Arizona Golf Association (AGA), and the Arizona Golf Foundation, a non-profit arm of the AGA. The project is being managed by The Golf Guys, LLC, under the direction of Marvin French, one of the principals at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon. “We are proud and excited to finally unveil the new and improved Papago Golf Course,” said Frank Shipman, President of the Arizona Golf Association Executive Committee. “This has been an exciting project and we are optimistic that Papago will once again be recognized with some of the biggest names in Arizona golf.”
The $5.8 million restoration was under the direction of golf course architect and former Augusta National superintendent William “Billy” Fuller, and included re-turfing of all the greens, tees, fairways and rough; the installation of a new irrigation system; removal of trees to improve sight lines and views; and reshaping and adding of bunkers. Tee boxes have been lengthened at holes 1, 9 and 11, adding nearly 350 yards to the course, which will play anywhere from 5,404 yards to 7,333 yards from four sets of tees.
“This is a special place with a lot of history and character, and I am honored to be a part of this project,” Fuller said. “My goal from day one was to keep this restoration as close to the original design as possible, and I feel like we accomplished that.”

The property also expanded the driving range both in width and length, giving Papago the opportunity to host a variety of community sponsored golf programs.
For locals who are intimately familiar with the layout, the course has long, long been a favorite for more than one reason. It represents a stern test of golf as Papago was host of the 1971 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, and the neighborhood city course for some of Arizona’s most recognizable junior players, including Billy Mayfair and Heather and Missy Farr. But its also a nice economical alternative to the higher priced options that reside in the Valley of the Sun. Peak rates in the winter months will be $44 (plus $15 for cart) for Phoenix City Cardholder members and $109 (including cart) for those without the Phoenix City Card. Historically, Papago has facilitated more than 80,000 rounds annually. “We had an extremely busy opening weekend, as expected,” said Papago Golf Course General Manager Al Murdock. “We sold out tee times for the first two days pretty quickly, and we expect the tee sheet to stay pretty full.”
The Papago Golf Course sits on the borders of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale, surrounded by the beautiful Papago Buttes and is conveniently located less than a few miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport making it an attractive, affordable choice for winter visitors.