The Boulders Resort Carefree, Arizona
In the 23 years that Golf Magazine has been ranking the best golf resorts in the country, only five properties have won Gold status or better every time. One of this elite group is The Boulders, where low-slung adobe casitas nestle into gigantic rocks on the northern edge of Scottsdale.
Still, while the cactus forests and mountain backdrops captivate, it's the resort's modern amenities that elevate The Boulders.
Jay Morrish sculpted two superb courses from the high desert here. While many contend that the North Course is the stronger of the two, it's undeniable that the South has the more spectacular holes—including the first and fifth, which have greens tucked into six-story boulder complexes.
Guests may debate the better golf course, but most seem to agree about the Golden Door Spa, which is about as idyllic a retreat from a day on the course as seems possible. But the real star of the property is The Latilla restaurant, where the food is simply outstanding (the roasted venison short loin is terrific, but burger fans should sample the resort's gruyère-infused version at least once).
Bottom line: for buddies or couples, the Boulders rocks. Stay and Play packages in March start at $679 per night. 888-579-2631, theboulders.com (Photo: The Boulders Resort)