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Rio Verde Country Club

Phoenix Golf and College Football Championship Guide

Have Phun in Phoenix

By Brian Weis

Football fans from across the country will invade the Valley of the Sun in early January, with the hope that their favorite college football team will hoist a championship trophy.

This includes the championship trophy for the College Football Playoff National Championship. The University of Phoenix Stadium will be site of the national championship game on Jan. 11.

Before that, it will host the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl - pitting Ohio State against Notre Dame - on New Year's Day. The following day, Chase Field, home of baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, will be the site of the West Virginia-Arizona State matchup in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.

No matter if you root for the four teams vying for the national championship - Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson Tigers, Michigan State Spartans or Oklahoma Sooners - or the teams playing in the other Phoenix-area bowl games, there's something for everyone to do here besides tailgating, more tailgating and cheering your team to victory.

1) Catch Some Hoops
Unfortunately for those in town around New Year's, the Suns will be in the midst of a four-game road trip. But those here for the national championship game can watch Tyson Chandler and the rest of the upstart Suns take on the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 6 and Miami Heat on Jan. 8. Talking Stick Resort Arena is located in downtown Phoenix and close to many restaurants and nightlife entertainment.

2) Combing the Desert
One can easily escape to the desert from any outpost in the Phoenix area and indulge in its natural beauty. Companies such as Desert Wolf Tours and Desert Dog Hummer Adventures take guests off-roading through trails on all-terrain vehicles. Various stables dot the outskirts of Phoenix and offer desert explorations via horseback for a full Arizona Old West experience.

3) Fore!
The Phoenix area boasts more than 200 golf courses, making it one of the most golf-rich metropolitan areas in the country. While many top layouts will be packed with outside play, there are several clubs offering unique golf experiences and lodging. Situated on the northeast part of town, Rio Verde Country Club offers two Tom Lehman golf courses and a Discovery Stay Package that allows guests to tour the community and stay in a guest house.

4) Ring in the New Year
The Phoenix area has a plethora of places to celebrate the new year or a bowl game victory. Rowdy revelers can head to Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row in Scottsdale or downtown to Alice Cooper'stown. Those looking for a little quieter celebration can hang out around Kierland Commons either at Ocean Club or Mastro's Steakhouse, or City Hall Scottsdale and the other splendid restaurants/bars in Old Town Scottsdale.

5) Take a Hike
Want to work off some of those New Year's vittles and spirits? Hike the mountains and take in the exceptional views from atop. Among the local favorites - Camelback Mountain near the posh Phoenician and Camelback resorts, Pinnacle Peak on the north side of town and South Mountain. Seeking an under the radar hiking location?- Check out the McDowell Mountains and Tonto National Forest near Rio Verde.

Revised: 12/31/2015 - Article Viewed 30,529 Times

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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