In this blog post we’re going to have a look at the best public golf courses in Surprise, Arizona.
This increasingly popular city is located in Maricopa County to the west of Phoenix. One of the reasons it is so popular is the fact it is a mere forty minute drive to the heart of Phoenix. So perfect for commuting.
As the city grows in size with new developments, there has clearly been an emphasis on creating new golf courses. Along with Sun City West, which is a city positioned right next to Surprise, there are nearly twenty golf courses to choose from. And many of those were built between 1980 and 2010.
At the time of writing, all of the golf courses in Surprise are open to the public, which makes this a great place to come and play.
See also: What are the best public golf courses in Phoenix?
The best public golf courses in Surprise, Arizona
|1||Sterling Grove Golf & Country Club|
|2||Granite Falls Golf Club (North Course)|
|3||Cimarron Golf Club|
|4||Granite Falls Golf Club (South Course)|
|5||Coyote Lakes Golf Club|
|6||Desert Springs Golf Club|
|7||Arizona Traditions Golf Club|
1. Sterling Grove Golf & Country Club
We kick off this list of the best public golf courses in Surprise, with the top class country club, Sterling Grove. This is one of the newest courses in Arizona, having opened in 2021.
The course is located right in the southern part of Surprise, occupying an immense plot of land.
Top class country club lifestyle is epitomized at Sterling Grove. You’ll find elegant pool areas, various dining options, a sensational spa, tennis and pickleball courts….you name it!
It was a project spearheaded by the Toll Brothers, one of America’s luxury home builders. Therefore expect plenty of housing to slowly but surely be erected. Although rest assured the housing will be tastefully designed. Quality over quantity.
But how will this impact the golf course? Well, time will tell. But what can be said is that they’ve given themselves the best possible chance of ensuring it remains one of the best courses in the area.
To build the course, the well-established and celebrated Nicklaus Design was selected. There is a certain expansive style and crowd-pleasing aesthetic you know you’ll get with Nicklaus Design. And they’ve certainly delivered.
Wide free flowing fairways allow for aggressive tee shots. Whilst the challenge here are the hugely undulating greens. At Sterling Grove, getting to the green is only half the battle.
It is one of the more expensive courses in the area, but I think you’re getting decent value for money. The club operates a dynamic green fee pricing model, so keep an eye out for daily deals or quieter times of the day.
2. Granite Falls Golf Club (North Course & South Course)
On an even grander and epic scale, is Sun City Grand, an extensive age-restricted community resort, which occupies a large percentage of Surprise.
Within the resort is just short of ten thousand homes and another two hundred and fifty plus condos. This is a mega development.
Naturally, it won’t come as a surprise that its residents will get to enjoy a number of amenities. These include amongst others, bars, restaurants, five pools, twenty-two pickleball courts, countless activities, three spas…the list goes on.
But amongst it all, are four championship golf courses. These are the North Course and South Course of Granite Falls Golf Club. Cimarron Golf Club. And finally Desert Springs Golf Club.
Amongst the two championship courses at Granite Falls, the North Course is considered the most challenging. It is laid out across relatively hilly terrain which in turn results in constant movement in the fairways.
The course opened in 2000, and was designed by Greg Nash and Billy Casper.
There is plenty of space off the tee, but the myriad bunkers and foliage lining the fairways are best avoided. Large greens put an emphasis on accurate approach shots.
The South Course was also a Nash and Casper design, which opened three years prior in 1997.
The course is actually longer than the North Course by some hundred yards or so measuring 6,839 yards. It also has water which comes into play on ten of its eighteen holes. Yet where there are hazards, the safety areas are generous in size.
In 2019 the South Course was recognised by Golf Advisor as being one of the Top Courses in Arizona. This is quite a call. But what can be said is this is great fun, really playable and in fantastic condition. Well recommended.
3. Cimarron Golf Club
Yet another golf course recognised as one of the finest in Arizona by Golf Advisor, Cimarron Golf Club is superb. The residents at Sun City Grand certainly live the good life, especially when it comes to golf!
It also won’t come as a major surprise this is another Greg Nash designed layout. It opened the same year as the North Course at Granite Falls in 2003.
Clearly all of these courses benefit from magnificent views of the surrounding mountain-scape. But on top of that, Cimarron has been landscaped immaculately. An abundance of palm trees, plenty of water features and outstanding conditioning.
All of these combine to ensure Cimarron Golf Club is a feast for the eyes.
Alongside the impressive aesthetics, the quality of the golf also holds its own. This is a challenging layout where golfers will need to carefully consider their choice of tee box.
It may not be the lengthiest at 6,809 yards. But water is in play on most holes, be it around the tee box or lurking near greens. This is the Sonoran Desert, but it feels more Palm Springs-esque.
A delightful course and yet another outstanding option at Sun City Grand.
4. Coyote Lakes Golf Club
Nestled between Sun City and Sun City West, is a long narrow plot of land running north to south. And yet in this peculiar shaped off-cut of Surprise, they’ve managed to squeeze in a tremendous golf course. Welcome to Coyote Lakes Golf Club.
Truth be told, despite the restricting plot, Coyote Lakes is an immensely popular course. The main word used to describe play here is ‘fun’.
The course was designed in collaboration between Jack Synder and Forrest Richardson, opening for play in 1993. From the back tees it measures a modest 6,213 yards. But don’t think for a second it will be a mere push over. Oh no.
Coyote Lakes is surprisingly challenging. On the front nine, you’ll encounter many tight tee shots. Miss the fairway and you’ll be in the bush. On the second nine, things do open up slightly. But a constant feature are the gently rolling fairways. Seldom do you have a flat lie.
The back nine is also arguably where you’ll find some of the more appealing holes. Like for example the course’s signature hole. This is the 14th, a par-3 from an elevated tee to a green protected by multiple bunkers and water.
To add to the above, Coyote Lakes was awarded 4 stars by Golf Digest on more than one occasion. And it’s one of the cheapest rates in Surprise. What more can we say?
See also: What are the best public golf courses in Scottsdale?
5. Desert Springs Golf Club
Another Greg Nash and Billy Casper creation. And yet another Golf Advisor recognised Top Arizona Golf Course. Fair to say Desert Springs Golf Club nicely rounds off the Sun City Grand golfing portfolio.
You would be forgiven for thinking that having been commissioned to create four courses in the same general area, at least one would be quite average. Not only are all four courses in close proximity, but the topography isn’t exactly the most inspiring at times.
Yet Nash and Casper have done as well as they could. They’ve built intrigue and subtleties across each of the courses, so they all have a slightly different character. Yes, they’re all desert style courses. But each has something which gives it a slightly different feel and character.
For Desert Springs, the course is epitomized by expansive and sweeping fairways. Landing areas from the tee are sizable, maybe being mindful of the above average-age residents playing regularly.
But miss off the tee and you’ll be finding the desert landscape. You’ll also need to avoid the seventeen, yes seventeen water hazards dotted throughout. None more so than on the 18th hole with water all up the left hand side. No wonder it’s considered the hardest hole on the course.
6. Arizona Traditions Golf Club
Last but certainly not least is the Dick Bailey designed Arizona Traditions Golf Club, in northwest Surprise.
The course was designed and opened in 1997, a time of buoyant growth in the city.
Bailey may not be an iconic or particularly well-known golf course architect. But of the courses he did design, the majority were in Arizona. So this is a state he knows well.
Arizona Traditions isn’t the longest layout, with from the tips the course measuring just over 6,100 yards. So this isn’t a course you’ll need to power your way round.
Instead, scoring well around this desert-style parkland course consists of two things. Firstly, finding the right spots along the tree-lined fairways. Secondly, reading the heavily undulating and sloping greens.
Tick those off and you should be in for a good day.