Monday, January 30, 2012
Your 2012 Waste Management Open Guide
(This article appeared on DTCC on January 31, 2011, exactly a year from today, and is a great precursor to the start of one of the wildest weeks of the PGA Tour season ... all still hold true, so I figured I'd re-print it for the world to see, with added notes to some of the spots)
It's Waste Management Open week, and for a guy that lives in Scottsdale, and has for the past few years, it is my one chance to "host" the golfing world. Here are a few pointers on the week; what to do, see, eat, play and some inside notes on the tournament. Read on ...
Where Should You Stay?
This question comes with a few answers, but most of that depends on what you like and how old you are. If you're between the ages of 21-28 and enjoy nightlife, the place to be is in the Old Town Scottsdale area. That is where the nightlife will be exciting for the entire week, and where the young people will be having a good time.
You can always get a room at the Phoenician, but if you're looking to be a bit more thrifty, there is a great Courtyard Marriott just south of Old Town, and a Holiday Inn Express right next to it. Both are great locations where you can walk to bars and restaurants, and both leave you only about 15 minutes from the golf tournament.
If you're a little older, and want a more quiet experience that is closer to the tournament, you can crash up by TPC. Kierland is a nice spot, with a ton to do in their shopping district next door called Kierland Commons, and the crowd is a bit more mature and established, with the Scottsdale Commons across the way that offers tons of great food selections.
Where Should You Eat?
For Sports Bars, I'll give you the following options:
Blue 32 -- A newer spot on Indian Bend and Scottsdale Rd. (about 10 minutes from golf), this sports bar has good food and incredible televisions. It is one of the few sports bars I've been to where you can see a good TV from any seat in the house.
Zipps -- A few locations in Phoenix, the one near Kierland isn't far from the golf course and offers a great menu highlight by the Monaco Focaccia, one of the best things you'll ever eat in you entire life. Also an added bonus for 2012; the location off of Frank Lloyd Wright and the one near Kierland are offering free bus rides to and from the golf tournament all week, so cab it to Zipps, enjoy a big mug of beer, and then head off to the course without the worry of a car.
Arcadia Tavern -- A little further from the golf (in Arcadia, maybe 20 minutes from TPC), this place is one of my favorite sports bars in Phoenix. It has a neighborhood feel, and a game area for the kids, plus solid food and a great TV setup.
For Dinner Spots:
Sapporo Sushi -- If you're in the mood for sushi, this is about the best in the city, and close to the golf tournament. Also, the waitresses are known to be decently attractive, so there's that.
The Mission -- A high-end Mexican food spot in Old Town Scottsdale, the atmosphere and food are fantastic. Don't forget to get the guacamole that they make at your table, because it'll be the best decision you make all week.
Roaring Fork -- A staple of my diet, this restaurant never disappoints. Sit in the bar and take advantage of a fantastic happy hour, and chow down on the Green Chili Pork at a reasonable price. It also has a hamburger there that was ranked in the top-10 two years ago by Mens Fitness. A place where everything on the menu seems to be awesome.
Where Should We Go Out?
Blue Martini -- A spot up north that will be busy all weekend, Blue Martini is a spot infamous for their massive feline contingent (that is you, reading between the lines).
The Lodge -- A spot in Old Town that is always busy, but not too obnoxious, and has a solid late night dinner menu in case your stomach is a-rumblin'. Get the pretzel. Just do it.
The Vig -- A cool, more chill spot in the Arcadia area that has great drinks, a fun crowd, and a Vig Rig that will drive you back to your place for free, as long as you tip the man.
Where Should We Play?
The Phoenician -- A resort-style golf course that is always in good shape and gives you the best views of any golf course in the valley. It isn't too hard, so you might be able to drop in a birdie or two, but it is fun, and has a few challenging holes. Also, if you're lucky, a celebrity might be playing in the group in front of you.
Southern Dunes Golf Club -- Formerly a private club named Royal Dunes, Southern Dunes is now open to the public, and you won't regret the 40 minutes drive to Maricopa to play it. The course can be challenging if you tip it out, but it has some really awesome holes and is the best new design in Arizona.
Troon North, Pinnacle -- You've heard of this course, but there is no way I could leave it off the list. It's the, getreadyforit, Pinnacle of desert golf, and one everyone should play once before they die. Just a suggestion: toss a bunch of water balls in your bag before you go out there. You're probably going to need them.
Okay, Now Golf Tournament Tips
Friday is the new Saturday: Maybe it's because I'm getting older, and the thought of 150,000 people all in the same place pushes me into panic attack mode, but Saturday has gotten too crazy at the Waste Management Open for my liking. If you can, go on Friday instead, because nobody works that day anyway, it's super fun, and it isn't nearly as packed as it is over the weekend.
The 16th: If you're going to hit up the 16th, let me make it a lot easier on you; go early, and don't leave. The stadium-style golf hole fills up FAST, and the line can stretch all the way to the 11th tee if you're not careful, so get there early, snag a couple of seats, and enjoy the action.
If you can't get to the 16th early, go before the final groups roll through. Normally the non-golf fans have left by then, and you'll get to see the big boys playing with a lot of the guys in the stands extra-lubricated. A win-win, really.
What other hole should we be watching?: It used to be the 17th, but the new stands closed off the viewing area there, so my suggestion is the green at the par-5 3rd hole and the tee box at the 4th. It's a good spot where you can see second shots flying in and tee balls on the short par-3. It's a fun place to see some cool action, and won't be nearly as packed.
Just a friendly reminder not to drink and drive while you're visiting. While it is stupid to do anyway, Arizona is the worst state in the world to be landing behind the wheel with a few drinks in you. Trust me, if you do it, you're going to get caught, especially this week.
Also, for 2012, the tournament has come out with a Waste Management App for iPhone and Droid that is really a must have if you're going for the week. Check it out, and have some fun with the caddie races section, that actually could get you to leave with some free tent tickets.