Did You Know? 10 Fun Facts About Golf in Arizona
It is a tradition unlike any other. From the extravagant halftime show to the high-dollar television commercials, the Super Bowl remains the most popular sporting event in the world. And this year, Glendale, Arizona’s University of Phoenix Stadium is hosting the championship.
Less than an hour away, TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course is host to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, renowned for its large, exuberant crowds. In honor of these two highly popular events, as well as the state serving as host this year, here are some interesting facts about golf in Arizona.
- Show Me the Money. The golf industry generates over $3.4 billion annually in Arizona alone. Roughly 20,000 jobs are also created each year as a result of Arizona’s booming golf industry.
- Shattering Records. Last year, 563,008 patrons attended the Waste Management Phoenix Open, an all-time PGA Tour record. As the tournament celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, many golf analysts believe this record will be surpassed yet again.
- Looking to the Future. In 2014, TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course (host of the Waste Management Phoenix Open) was renovated extensively, as new cart paths were created, greens were resurfaced, and bunkers and tee boxes were repaired. Even the course’s clubhouse was upgraded, resulting in a seven-month-long, $15 million project.
- Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses. Tucson, Arizona, has on average over 350 days of sunshine per year, more than practically any other city in the United States – ideal conditions for avid golfers.
- Get Over…Get Over! Released in 1996 and starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo, Tin Cup has become one of the most beloved golf movies of all time. Many of the movie’s scenes were filmed at Tubac, Arizona’s Tubac Golf Resort and Spa.
- From the Classroom to the Golf Course. Some of golf’s most iconic champions began their careers (collegiately, that is) in Arizona. Phil Mickelson graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in psychology, as well as PGA Tour winners Billy Mayfair and Pat Perez. Annika Sorenstam attended the University of Arizona for two years,as did Lorena Ochoa and U.S. Amateur winner Ricky Barnes.
- Green In More Ways Than One. Not only is TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course an Audubon Certified Cooperative Sanctuary dedicated to protecting the environment, but the Waste Management Phoenix Open began a new tradition in 2012, the “Zero Waste Challenge.” As a result, 6,000 recycling and compost bins are added to the course during the tournament, replacing all trash cans.
- Swinging for a Better Tomorrow. Founded in 1937, the Phoenix Thunderbirds, the host organization for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, have raised more than $86 million for Arizona charities. Due to this organization’s initiatives, dozens of charitable organizations are currently benefitting on an annual basis, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Special Olympics Arizona.
- Rock and Roll All Night…and Party Every Day. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is often called golf’s hippest event – and for good reason. Aside from its record-breaking crowds and college-aged attendants, the tournament is also renowned for its annual Coors Light Birds Nest entertainment tent and nightclub, which features four nights of concerts with performers such as Kid Rock and Darius Rucker, and the Goo Goo Dolls.
- Safety First and Foremost? The party atmosphere of the Waste Management Phoenix Open remains prominent, but one popular tradition recently ended. Players and caddies are no longer allowed to throw objects – from autographed hats to towels – into the stands. As the old adage goes, “better safe than sorry”…even at the expense of fun.