They call it "dry heat" out here in the desert. It's a euphemism that's supposed to make you forget the thermometer reads 110 degrees at 11 a.m.
But if you can endure the scorching hot summer days in the Arizona cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Tucson, then you may have found your golfers' paradise.
It's neat to see a lush, green golf course surrounded by a sea of cacti and scrub brush. If you miss a fairway in Arizona, you almost feel as if Wyatt Earp will ride up and hand you your golf ball.
The country here is vast, and so is the menu of great golf courses you can play within a two-hour radius of one another. The number of top-rated courses that are open to the public in the Phoenix/Tucson area is higher than in any of the other 18 locations that we researched.
WHAT CASINO? When you leave Las Vegas, it usually takes a few days for the electronic chirping of slot machines to stop ringing in your ears. But Vegas residents say they don't hear the sound at all. Either they have blocked it out completely or, in the case of the area's growing golfer population, they rarely venture into the casinos.
Instead, they take advantage of one of the country's top locations for upscale, beautiful golf courses. With all that casino money pouring into town, the golfing venues are big and beautiful--and the developers usually spared no expense in building them.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH. Make no mistake: Skiing is still king of the mountain. But the areas west and north of Denver have found that skiing isn't the only game in town. Hence, places such as Vail, Breckenridge, and Grand Junction are building golf developments at an impressive rate. The unspoiled topography in Colorado has attracted some of the game's top architects, such as Tom Weiskopf, Jack Nicklaus, and Robert Trent Jones Jr.