Inside One of Arizona’s Top Golf Courses

Now entering its fourth decade of operation, Troon North remains Scottsdale’s premier daily-fee golf club.

“You can’t miss it,” says Brian Thorne, general manager at Troon North. He’s speaking of Monument Rock, a large granite boulder that stands stoically in the center of the fairway on the third hole of the club’s Monument Course, one of two 18-hole courses designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. From an observational standpoint, Thorne is right. The geological formation, which stands at least 16 feet high and more than 6 feet wide—and which gives the course its name—is an attention-grabber from the tee box.

The course’s third hole prominently features Monument Rock.

From a strategic standpoint, however, missing Monument Rock is exactly what golfers hope to accomplish when they hit their tee shots.

“Your ability with your driver is probably most important,” Thorne says of the skill that must be sharpest when players visit the club—not just when they reach the Monument Course’s third hole, but on all of the club’s par 4s and par 5s, where accuracy off the tee is paramount to success. “If you can find green grass off the tee box, then you’re way ahead of everybody who can’t. That’s the nature of desert golf. If you can keep it on the grass here, you’ll shoot a pretty good score; but it’s a tough course from the tee box because it’s visually intimidating. It doesn’t look like you have any room to land your ball, but there are ample landing areas if you play a good shot.”

That lesson is one that visitors to the club have learned consistently for three decades. In fact, Troon North celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. As the club enters its fourth decade of operation it holds steadfast to the principles that have allowed it to remain Scottsdale’s premier, daily-fee, public golf destination for so long. “When Dana Garmany founded Troon, it was all around a ‘member-for-a-day’ premise,” Thorne explains. “That’s the flagship for Troon. It’s something we still use today, and we take it very seriously.”

The Monument Course’s 10th hole.

What constitutes Troon’s member-for-a-day experience? It starts with extraordinary playing conditions—impeccably manicured fairways and greens that golfers might otherwise expect to find only at exclusive private clubs. During Troon North’s early years, those conditions were maintained in part by relegating golf cart use only to the courses’ paved pathways. Today, players in golf carts aren’t limited only to those paths—Troon North also manages a small fleet of golf boards—and the club has recently renovated all of its bent-grass greens. By itself, that turf provides an exceptional experience since it produces an ideal putting surface; yet Troon North remains one of the area’s only daily-fee golf clubs to feature it, mostly because the club’s location high in the hills is a little cooler, which translates to easier maintenance.

Troon North also offers guests the option of taking a forecaddie. During a three-hour block during the high season (mid-January through May), when daily rates at the club peak at $350, those caddies are mandatory, but their fees (along with range balls and golf cart use) are included in the price. “It’s another level of service that we can offer to our guests,” Thorne says. “We’re so fortunate to have two spectacular courses, and our forecaddies add to the experience.”

Ultimately, that experience varies from player to player and is most often dictated by those players’ previous exposure to target-oriented, desert golf courses. “You’ll talk to guests who have never been out in the desert before who think it’s the hardest golf course they’ve ever played,” Thorne says. “But you’ll talk to other guests who have played all over the place and consider this their favorite course.”