Grayhawk Golf Course (Photo by Burks Oakley/Flickr Commons)

With so many phenomenal golf courses around the Valley – over 200 in Greater Phoenix – players have a Tour Bag of options on where to “tee it up.”

But how to choose? While names such as Troon North and Grayhawk are always great, here are five must play tracks that may not be on your radar.

1. TPC Scottsdale Champions Course

Photo by TPC Scottsdale
Photo by TPC Scottsdale

While the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, site of the PGA Tour Waste Management Open, receives the acclaim, its sister course TPC Champions provides players of all skill levels with an enjoyable, yet challenging tour around the links. For low handicappers who want to test the “tips”, prepare yourself for a bruiser Par 71 experience over 7,115 yards. For beauty and a test of shot making, you won’t find a better hole than number 5, a dogleg left Par 4 with danger flanking the left side.

TPC Champions, 17020 North Hayden Road Scottsdale, AZ  85255 | (480) 585-4334

2. ASU Karsten Golf Course

Photo by Arizona State University
Photo by Arizona State University

If you’ve never played a Pete Dye golf course before, try out this “Dyeabolical” test from one of the game’s premier course architects. On the Arizona State University campus, the Karsten Course was where five-time major winner Phil Mickelson played his collegiate golf. Dye’s Par 70, 7,002 yard adventure from the Professional tees is a roller-coaster ride of thrills, replete with the master’s famous railroad ties. If you walk away from the sensationally difficult 16th hole with a Par 3 on the card, the after round beverage will taste extra refreshing.

ASU Karsten Golf Course, 1125 E Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 921-8070

3. Eagle Mountain Golf Club

Photo by MPR/Flickr Commons
Photo by MPR/Flickr Commons

Eagle Mountain Golf Club provides an absolutely terrific examination of a player’s game, and offers stunning views of Fountain Hills and gorgeous mountain vistas. Playing a deceptive 6,800 yards from the back tees at a Par 71, the course offers shot options that can lead to birdie barrages or double-bogey blues. The home stretch of holes 15-18 are as beautiful as they are a pure pleasure to play.

Eagle Mountain Golf Club, 14915 Eagle Mountain Pkwy, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 | (480) 816-1234

4. McCormick Ranch Golf Club

Photo by Sonoran Suites/Flickr Commons
Photo by Sonoran Suites/Flickr Commons

Boasting 36 holes of golf for players, McCormick Ranch’s Palm and Pine layouts offer two distinct experiences, forcing golfers to trust their games and their shot selection. Designed by legendary architect Desmond Muirhead who collaborated with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer on designs, both tracks are Par 72 and stretch over 7,000 yards from the tips. With water in play on many of the 36 holes, don’t be surprised if a few Titleists come out of your bag. That might never be more true than on the Pine’s 15th hole, which may be one of the most bruising two shot experiences in Phoenix golf.

McCormick Ranch Golf Club, 7505 E McCormick Pkwy Scottsdale, AZ 85258 | (480) 948-0260

5. Sun Ridge Canyon Golf Club

Photo by Ryan Hanna/Flickr Commons
Photo by Ryan Hanna/Flickr Commons

In this ball-striker’s opinion, Sun Ridge Canyon Golf Club is the most visually stunning and best round of golf available in the Valley. With 18 holes weaving through the canyons of the McDowell Mountains, designer Keith Foster carved out a golfing treasure. A Par 71 at 6,823 yards from the “tips,” the two nines offer a combustible mix of incredible views and exhilarating golf. A front nine that offers a host of potential birdie chances will be countered on the back side with the final six holes dubbed “The Wicked Six.”

Sun Ridge Canyon Golf Club, 13100 Sunridge Dr, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 | (480) 837-5100

– Tim J. Randall, Phoenix.org