raries in ever-fashionable Scottsdale. The layout winds through the rugged Usery Mountains, featuring spectacular views (nearly 1800 feet above the desert floor) and several distinctive holes. Plus, you can catch a Cubs game at nearby HoHoKam Park after your round— and the Cubs are due, bearing down on 105 years since their last World Series title. www.lassendas.com Papago: In the grand tradition of
The A’s take over Phoenix Municipal Stadium for spring training.
Harding Park and Torrey Pines, let’s throw a good old municipal course into the mix. The city of Phoenix owns Papago, located a long Yoenis Cespedes home run from the A’s spring home. Much like Harding, the condition of Papago deteriorated until a renovation (in 2008) brought it back to life. Fair warning: This is a tough track, which helps explain why it hosted the U.S. Amateur Public Links in 1971 and an LPGA event in 2009. www.papago- golfcourse.net
OFF THE MAIN DRAG Los Caballeros:
Krukow, during his major-league pitching career, twice wandered to Wickenburg (about 45 minutes north of Scottsdale) to play Los Caballeros. He raves about the memorable experience, mostly because the course is part of Rancho de los Caballe- ros—an authentic
Ron Kroichick covers golf, and occasionally baseball, for the San Francisco Chronicle.
In a previous life, he covered the Oakland A’s for the Sacramento Bee and spent five spring trainings in Arizona.
dude ranch, with tons of trails and open space for horseback riding (and a spa to boot). “And the golf was bad-ass,” Krukow said. “Great track.” www.loscaballerosgolf.com Whirlwind: This suggestion comes
from Korach, who savors working on his game nearly as much as playing 18 holes. He prefers the Devil’s Claw Course to the Cattail, and he heartily recommends the practice facility—a huge grass driving range, great chip- ping area and plenty of putting greens. Whirlwind, located in Chandler,
has offered a deal where $15 gets you unlimited access to its practice facil- ity. Don’t be surprised to find Korach, sharpening his swing in between A’s games. www.whirlwindgolf.com
RESTAURANTS We could point you toward all the
old, predictable spring training hang- outs, from Don & Charlie’s to the Pink Pony, but where’s the fun in that? Some other options to consider: Malee’s Thai Bistro: Fantastic Thai food in the heart of Old Town Scotts- dale. www.maleethaibistro.com Barrio Café: Acclaimed Mexican food in central Phoenix, not far from the A’s stadium. www.barriocafe.com Nello’s: Family-run Mesa restaurant with outstanding pizza; a favorite spot for major-league scouts. www.nellospiz- zamesa.com
Havana Café: Maybe the best Latin cuisine in the desert (with locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale) attracts many Latin ballplayers. Also a onetime hang- out of Bill King, the late and legendary A’s broadcaster. www.havanacafe-az.com La Fontanella: Small mom-and-pop place at 42nd and Indian School— with awesome Italian food. www.lafon- tanellaphx.com Chelsea’s Kitchen: Nice mix on
the menu, from burgers and tacos to chicken and salmon. It’s on the radar of the baseball crowd, including former Giants manager Dusty Baker. Located on 40th Street, near Camelback, in Phoenix. www.chelseaskitchenaz.com
HOTELS There are a lot of possibilities, espe-
cially if you’re willing to drift toward the outskirts of the Valley. Some especially convenient options: Arizona Biltmore: Classic desert
resort (including golf courses) for those not packing a budget. Courtyard/Marriott: Less than a half-mile to Scottsdale Stadium—and Marriott points! (Yes, spoken like a former baseball scribe.) DoubleTree Suites Phoenix: This
is the A’s longtime spring home (many players stay there), near Phoenix Muni and the airport. It caters mostly to business travelers, so room rates tend to drop on the weekend.