If you are an avid golfer in the Phoenix area, the below list highlights some of the best public golf courses in Phoenix. I chose courses within 30 minutes because that is how far I am willing to drive on an average day to play a regular weekend round of golf. Many of the best public golf courses in Phoenix are in nearby Scottsdale, but it's an easy drive and many of the courses are well worth the trip.
1) TPC Scottsdale – Scottsdale, AZ – 28 Mins from City Center – This public facility is one of the pride and joys of the TPC network. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is a PGA Tour event that is held here on the Stadium Course each February and pulls the largest crowds of any golf event in the world. The course is maintained to PGA Tour quality all year long, giving Phoenix and Scottsdale natives a chance to play the same holes they see on TV! The Champions Course isn't to be missed either and some argue that its a better layout than the Stadium. Greens fees vary between $80-$190 and the Champions course is usually more affordable. Learn more about TPC Scottsdale.
2) Camelback Golf Club – Scottsdale, AZ - 30 Mins from City Center - This public golf facility is located at the Scottsdale Marriott Resort and offers multiple courses on property. Set amidst rolling fairways and the Camelback foothills, natural beauty, native plants and grasses combine for a challenging round that can be as punishing as it is rewarding. If you have a choice, the Ambiente course is a little better and more difficult. Rates are between $55-$95 depending on time of day and day of the week. Learn more about Camelback
3) Papago Golf Course – Phoenix, AZ – 12 Mins from City Center – Papago is my favorite on the list of the best public golf courses in Phoenix given the priximity to the city and being much closer than the courses in Scottsdale. The views on this course are second to none with rock formations and great desert wildlife all around. The course went through a $5.8 million restoration in 2008 and has hosted events such as Waste Management Phoenix Open qualifying and the US Amateur Pub-links Championship. Twilight walking rates can be as little as $24 and weekend rates can rise up to $95. Learn more about Papago.
4) Grayhawk Golf Club – Scottsdale, AZ – 29 Mins from City Center – Another public golf facility with 36 holes, The Talon and Raptor courses at Grayhawk are both great options in the Phoenix area. Talon offers a desert-style test of golf that skirts thick sands of the Sonoran Desert and box canyons on the way to large multi-tiered greens. Raptor delivers more traditional challenges clearly laid out come-and-get-it style with generous fairways and deep greenside bunkers guarding crowned greens. Rates can be anywhere between $90-$140 and Raptor is usually slightly cheaper. Learn more about Grayhawk.
I hope this helps you learn about the best public golf courses in Phoenix. If you don't have time to play 18 holes, read this article about the best driving ranges in Phoenix and head out to get in some practice.