The Siren Song of Subsidies

This My Turn Column by Ray Torres was published in the Scottsdale Republic on August 22, 2012

Golf an important note in Scottsdale’s siren call

Make no mistake about it: Golfing is big business in Scottsdale.

Visitors spent more than $180million on golf and golfing merchandise. Scottsdale collected roughly $1.6million in tax revenue from golf facilities and golf-related business as of month-end May 2012. This is an increase over the prior year.

Tourists come from around the world to golf in Scottsdale. Perfect weather and great golf courses are a few reasons for the attraction. The greater Scottsdale area has approximately 50 pristine golf courses, including public, semi-private, resort and private. The area hosts an estimated 12million rounds of golf a year.

Of course, a golfing conversation cannot be had without mentioning the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which is seen around the world. Attendance in 2012 came close to the all-time high of 538,356 achieved in 2008.

And the 16th hole, labeled “The Coliseum,” is one of the most talked about holes in golf; it’s an indescribable experience. Imagine entering it, hearing 20,000 spectators loudly chanting, and making it one of the most explosive atmospheres on the PGA Tour for players and fans.

The clubhouse at the TPC Stadium Course, where the tournament is played, is a city asset. It has not been renovated in nearly 25 years. It would be a visionary move for City Council to approve funds for the clubhouse renovation and expansion.

Just recently the City Council, in a sound business decision, approved funds for the McDowell Mountain Golf Course clubhouse renovation, thus employing smart financing and not subsidizing the project. The capital-improvement project will renovate and expand the old clubhouse, a much needed improvement. A new clubhouse would more than complement the $1.2million course makeover.

Thanks to Steve Loy of Gaylord Sports Management and PGA golfer Phil Mickelson for purchasing the operating rights to the course. By all appearances, this jewel of a course should be profitable for them and the city. It’s also a win for local golfers and winter visitors. It is likely to see more than 40,000 annual rounds of golf.

“The World’s Finest Golf Destination” marketing program is the brainchild of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor Bureau. It is making its way to the launching pad to blitz major markets and pursue avid golfer groups to play in Scottsdale.

Brandel Chamblee, Scottsdale resident, Golf Channel analyst and former PGA Tour pro, will be the face for the multi-year campaign.

As many know, fewer tourists stay during the hot months. For a recreational golfer, it means better tee times because of fewer rounds played. The other benefit is steeply discounted rates. With better tee time options, one can tee off early morning and play an 18-hole round in about three hours, the only way to play golf during the summer.

The TPC Champions and McDowell Mountain Golf courses get my playtime even when temperatures exceed 105 degrees. Whether you’re a local golfer, fan or visitor, Scottsdale is the place for great golfing.


Ray Torres of Scottsdale is a business consultant [And political confidant of Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane].

You may also like

1 Comment

  1. Ray must not know much about golf or he wouldn’t use of this sentence:

    Tourists come from around the world to golf in Scottsdale.

    Hey Ray, one doesn’t “golf”. They “PLAY golf.” It’s a small item maybe but to a golf afficionado it is a big mistake when describing the sport.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *