As a person who enjoys the outdoors, leaving the vast beauty of the Grand Canyon to head to the city of Phoenix sounded like a painstaking affair. But, as we headed south through Flagstaff, where many a Phoenician spend their summers to cool off, we were left with two options. We could take the quick and efficient Route 17 into the city or take the meandering 89A in through Sedona. The latter seemed like a good buffer to wean us off of the nature-filled journey that we'd been on.
As you wind down into Sedona you're suddenly struck with a shift in landscape. Beautiful pine and juniper trees line the twisted road into a town that emits nothing but good vibes. An evening in a yurt (No, not a secluded glampers paradise. Moreso a tent in a hoarder's back yard), a good meal at Mariposa's Grill, a couple great hikes out to Devil's Bridge and then we make tracks south to Phoenix.
A city that straddles the line between concrete jungle and laid back west-coast vibes, Phoenix surprised us with it's beautiful restaurants, nightlife, golf and welcoming people.
A rooftop beer at the W Hotel in Scottsdale turned into a pub crawl of sorts in the neighboring blocks. Bottled Blond, The District, Dierks Bently's Whiskey Row for open air eats and drinks. In light of St Patrick's Day, we decided a skip across the river to Tempe where Arizona State University students roam free amidst drinking holes galore. Pedal Haus Brewery was home for a late afternoon flight of craft beer and people watching. The Irish holiday led us into a late evening of green beer gulped on closed streets and a steady Celtic hum in the air.
The next morning we shook off the cobwebs with a quick run through ASU's beautiful campus concluded with an incredible espresso at Infusion Coffee Roasters nearby. It was now time for a little golf.
With a special invitation from a friend of mine, I drove North on Loop 101 to a magical club called Whisper Rock. As I walk up to the clubhouse there's a familiar face politely holding the door for me as I approach. None other than PGA Tour Player Martin Kaymer who calls Whisper Rock his home course. I then realized I was in for a treat.
I'm greeted in the beautiful clubhouse by Mr. Young who shows me around and gets me ready for the round ahead. After a beautiful breakfast, a few swings on the range and putts on the practice green, we're off to play 18 holes of beautiful desert golf.
My host is telling me about his match last week with PGA Player Jon Rahm and how he hopes I can play up to the same standard as there's some money on the line against his two cronies in the other cart. We ended up taking them on the 17th hole and I feel that I secured an invite back one day. We shuffle into the clubhouse for "The Hang" which is an important part of comradery after a round at this magical place. "You come for the golf but you stay for The Hang" he says. We had one of their famous milk shakes and I was on my way back to the real world.
All in all, Phoenix was not just another city. It was friendly and lively and left much to be discovered. The warm weather for a Canadian guy like myself will certainly have me back one day soon.
- Zach D.
Zach is a member of Team Snaps and focuses on Sales and Licensing. He has love for all things golf, travel, coffee and has even been known to run some Iron Man Races in his day.