Last chance to stay and play in Tucson for a great rate

Sept. 7 is your last chance to stay and play at the Omni Tucson National for the great member rate of only $139 per night. You’ll get accommodations, golf for two and a $25 food and beverage credit.

Experience a world-class spa, two highly acclaimed golf courses, custom designed Mountain Vista accommodations and an array of restaurant venues. Each of the Omni’s guest room accommodations feature inviting hues and private balconies or patios with spectacular views of lush fairways, sparkling waters and majestic mountains. The newly remodeled Mountain Vista Collection offer 79 spacious guestrooms nestled in the Catalina Fairways.

So what are you waiting for? Book online now!


Calling all middle school golfers

PHOENIX, AZ – The Arizona Middle School Athletics Association (AMSAA) announced it has opened registration for its first-ever Middle School State Boys & Girls Golf Championship, open to all seventh- and eighth-grade students in the state of Arizona. The event, scheduled Saturday, Sept. 24, will take place at Sundance Golf Club, one of the West Valley’s newest 18-hole championship golf courses. The course, located in Buckeye, Ariz., is a 20-minute drive from Phoenix. Golfers can register at The $50 registration fee includes one round of golf, box lunch, event t-shirt and individual photograph. Spectators can purchase concessions on-site at the golf course. Golfers are encouraged to sign up early, as registration is limited. AMSAA’s premier golf tournament is open to all middle-school players; there are no handicap requirements. “We are so excited to bring this tournament to Arizona’s middle school golfers,” said Ralph Watkins, Chairman of the Board, AMSAA. “While the state of Arizona funds an array of competitive sports programs for high school students, there are far fewer opportunities for middle-school athletes.” “Research shows that athletic opportunities boost confidence and social skills, enhance self esteem and body image, and improve academic performance,” Watkins added. “Organized sports act as a safeguard against the difficult issues our kids are facing.” AMSAA, which produces annual state championship events in nine sports, plays a critical role in fostering middle-school athletics. The Senate is now proposing more than $262 million in budget cuts for K-12 schools; many schools are considering drastic cost-savings measures including raising athletic fees and decreasing equipment budgets. AMSAA helps fill the gap; in addition to producing major sporting events for middle-schoolers, the organization donates sporting equipment, provides funding to offset travel costs, and waives tournament fees for schools in need. About Arizona Middle School Athletics Association AMSAA is the local chapter of the National Middle School and Junior High Athletic Federation (NMJAF), a nonprofit organization that builds and supports athletic programs in schools. Through its local chapters, NMJAF produces championship tournaments for middle-school sports programs. AMSAA was created to foster, fund and promote middle-school athletics in the state of Arizona. The organization produces annual state-championship events for soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, flag football, track and field and bowling. AMSAA’s events give Arizona’s middle-school athletes a chance to compete at the state level, an opportunity typically reserved for high-school sports teams. Recognized by the Arizona Department of Education, AMSAA works hand-in-hand with Arizona middle schools to foster teamwork, build sportsmanship, and provide healthy, safe recreation for young athletes. For more information, visit, or contact [email protected]


Water works

U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater once stated, “. . . there are three things a Westerner will fight over — water, gold and women, in that order.” The state’s thriving golf community knows how right Goldwater was since it relies heavily on water in order to maintain both courses and clubs. In practice, Arizona’s history of water conservation speaks well for its founders and current stewards. The principal agency charged with ensuring Arizona has sufficient water for the rest of the 21st century is the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). The mission statement of the ADWR is “to ensure long-term, sufficient and secure water supply.” Its focus is quantity. It regulates neither cost (municipalities and the Arizona Corporation Commission, for private utilities only, control this) nor quality (an EPA responsibility), but does team with these entities to achieve the State’s water conservation goals.

Heading the ADWR is Acting Director Sandra Fabritz-Whitney. Armed with a degree in Environmental Resources from Arizona State University, Fabritz-Whitney joined ADWR 19 years ago and has worked in all phases of the department, including the Arizona Water Banking Authority and as a major player in the Blue Ribbon Panel on Water Sustainability, on which AGA Executive Director Ed Gowan represented the golf industry.

To help AGA understand what the ADWR does, freelance writer Michael Bartlett spoke with Fabritz- Whitney and asked her to provide a summary overview and update on some of its activities.

Arizona The State of Golf: Outline the major water issues facing the State of Arizona.
Fabritz-Whitney: One, protection of the long-term surface water supply, i.e., the Colorado River, including the Central Arizona Project (CAP), and other above-ground sources in Arizona. Two, protection of all groundwater supplies (underground sources). Three, planning for drought scenarios in which we would have to limit water usage. We also monitor the use of “reclaimed water.” Technically, this means water previously used for other purposes and then treated to return it to drinking water standards.

Q: What plans and programs does the ADWR have in place to deal with these?
A: We maintain regular contact with the seven “Basin States” (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado) to make sure we have enough supplies. Additionally, within Arizona we are currently engaged in a statewide evaluation of the 25-, 50- and 100-year demand and supply needs that will take us into the 22nd century. The “right to access” water supplies is something we watch closely, including the legalities of this. Regular assessments of the five Active Management Areas (AMA) lets us see how they (Phoenix, Tucson, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Prescott) are meeting their statutory management needs.

Q: How does the ADWR view the golf community?
 A: Obviously, Arizona views the golf community as a positive economic force that creates jobs and revenue back to the state. But, it is also a major user of water and our role is to work with golf courses to meet the long-range goals mentioned above.

Q: Practically, what does this mean?
A: Basically, we divide golf courses into pre-1980 and post- 1980. 1980 marks the adoption of the landmark Groundwater Management Act (GMA) — a long-term strategy that created the Active Management Areas (AMA). Courses built before 1980 generally had more turfgrass and used more water. In 1985 the GMA set a general ceiling of 90 acres of turf and courses coming on line must observe this rule. In two decades, we estimate this guideline has saved the Phoenix AMA alone more than three billion gallons of water per year. Since the GMA’s inception, golf courses have taken a leadership role in finding ways to conserve water, especially when it comes to new technologies; primarily because they have the capital to invest in these. They are on the forefront of developing new best practices other industries can model.

Q: How do you incentivize golf courses to reduce water usage?
A: We don’t require that golf courses use reclaimed water. We do reward such use with reduced rates, i.e., instead of 1.0 per acre foot we charge .6 per acre foot. Courses monitor their use and turn in an annual report. Most do stay within their allotment.

Q: Does ADWR have a point person to deal directly with the golf course community?
A: Yes, we do, and that person works regularly with golf course superintendents to get a better understanding of the people who implement our guidelines. We want to know what they are doing, especially in the way of innovations, so we learn together.

Q: Does the ADWR ever hold an annual summit-type meeting with representatives of the golf course community?
A: No, but it sounds like something ADWR should organize and I’m going to look into the possibility of convening such a gathering.

Q: Comment on the recently completed Blue Ribbon Panel on Water Sustainability.
A: This was a major milestone for water management in Arizona. Forty different groups — Native Americans, municipalities, industries and government agencies, among others — spent all of 2010 in working groups and produced a five-part plan covering public perception, regulations, infrastructure, conservation and funding. Some key goals are to get the public to accept recycled water as safe, streamline regulations for reuse of water, explore new systems and the retrofitting of old systems, reduce energy costs associated with water reclamation, introduce new incentives for conserving and recycling, and make conservation economically viable by reducing fees wherever possible.

Q: What is your relationship with the Arizona Golf Association vis a vis golf community issues and water conservation in particular?
A: They are an important partner in helping us shape our water management objectives, like the Blue Ribbon Panel on Water Sustainability. We always bring them in to provide analysis of a problem or feedback on how something we’re planning will affect them. Conversely, we try to be there for them with information on technical or regulatory matters. When they hold their meetings, we are frequently asked to speak on water topics; I’ve presented a number of times over the years. Or, we will run workshops for them on specific issues. Annually, I’d say we meet with them twice a year. We also provide financial assistance (funded by fees water users pay) for studies relevant to the golf industry; for example, meteorological experts at the University of Arizona share data on current and long-range weather patterns with course superintendents so they can more efficiently anticipate irrigation needs.

Q: A June 2010 article in The Arizona Republic stated that the Phoenix City Council was working on a new plan to help golf courses continue to reduce water usage. How does your department work with local municipalities regarding golf course consumption?
A: We don’t intrude. It’s up to local governments to deal with costs. But, we do watch to see they don’t exceed their basic requirements. We are all in sync on the need to conserve.

Q: Will water regulations inhibit more golf courses from coming online?
A: Thus far, it hasn’t seemed so. While we provide the structure for water management, it is up to the golf club or resort to identify a municipal or private water source and prove they have 100 years of water.

Q: What is your long-term vision for golf courses in Arizona.
A: ADWR wants to see the development and maintenance of top-quality courses that produce significant revenue for the state. Our philosophy says responsible water management leads to economic growth.


Junior Golf Assoc. of AZ

The Junior Golf Association of Arizona is a non-profit organization that promotes junior golf throughout the state of Arizona by providing young individuals the opportunity to play in affordable events. JGAA programs include LPGA-USGA Girls Golf as well as Boys Golf Club.

JGAA tournament membership is open to all boys and girls, ages 8 through their 19th birthday or the day they enter college. It is also required that they understand the JGAA policies and procedures, attend a Rules of Golf clinic, complete the required rules exam and pay the annual membership fee.

Participants in JGAA golf tournaments are divided by age and gender, and play from various course yardages. JGAA tournaments are year-round one- and two-day events conducted primarily during the summer months. Juniors participating in tournament play must be tournament ready. Individuals new to tournament play may choose to participate in LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Phoenix or the JGAA Boys Golf Club.

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf is a developmental golf program designed for girls ages 5 through 18. It was formed specifically to create a network for girls to learn to play golf, build friendships and compete in a nonthreatening environment. The program meets year-round, with weekly events in the summer and monthly events during the school year. Events include clinics and tournaments, family events, glow-ball golf, team better ball and stroke- play events. Girls enter the program at one of seven skill levels ranging from 3-hole beginning play with a caddy to 18-hole competitions. For information on LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Phoenix go online to

The JGAA Boys Golf Club is a developmental junior golf program designed for boys ages 5 through 14. The program is designed to encourage participants to have fun, learn basic fundamentals of the game and provide an opportunity to advance and grow by playing from appropriate yardages for each skill level. The Boys Golf Club has numerous events throughout the year at various courses in the metro Phoenix area. It offers a variety of different golf formats ranging from individual stroke play to team better ball. Each Boys Golf Club event consists of five participation levels, with each level playing 3, 6, 9 or 18 holes from appropriate yardages. Although the Boys Golf Club is primarily a program to help kids have fun and learn the game, each event will have a competition element in which prizes will be awarded. Annual membership fees and tournament entry fees are minimal.

For information on the Boys Golf Club visit For more information on the JGAA, go to or call 602.944.6168.


The First Tee of Phoenix

For a moment, imagine the ultimate classroom – lush fairways, greenside bunkers and inspiring teachers, or in their case coaches…for participants of The First Tee of Phoenix, this is their oasis of knowledge.

The First Tee was created on a national level in 1997 by golf’s founders – the USGA, PGA Tour, PGA of America and LPGA – to make golf accessible to young people of all backgrounds. In 2003 The First Tee of Phoenix was implemented by the Thunderbirds and the Waste Management Phoenix Open with that same mission and goal, specifically for Maricopa County.

Today, this not-for-profit organization has evolved into a powerful youth development program that teaches kids life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Honesty, responsibility, courtesy and respect are just a few of the nine core values that are seamlessly incorporated into lessons through The First Tee Life Skills Experience.

Here in the Valley, The First Tee of Phoenix is one of the most active chapters in the nation, with five full-time programming facilities. They include: South Mountain Facility, a 9-hole, Fazio- designed short course that is owned and operated by The First Tee of Phoenix; Desert Mirage Golf Course in Glendale; Papago Golf Course in central Phoenix; Longbow Golf Club in Mesa; and, Falcon Dunes Golf Course, which is supported by Luke Air Force Base and serves as a military affiliate program.

The organization also has more than 140 schools in five school districts involved in its National Schools Program. Through NSP, physical education teachers are trained to conduct golf and life skills programming in schools. Additionally, The First Tee of Phoenix partners with groups like Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Boys Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America and many others, through special outreach programs that impact more than 70,000 young people, ages 4 through 17, each year. Together these youngsters are discovering how the skills for success on the golf course can help them flourish in life and help them become better sons, daughters, students and people – reinforcing what they learn at home, or in some cases don’t.

At the helm of The First Tee of Phoenix is Executive Director Hugh Smith, Jr. With a support staff of highly trained youth development coaches and golf enthusiasts, and with the support of volunteers and allied organizations like the AGA, AWGA, JGAA and SWSPGA, the organization is having a positive impact on the game while enjoying one of the highest retention rates in the nation at 84 percent.

There is no greater reward than watching youth of limited economic opportunity realize that other people want to open up a whole new world to them. If you would like to get involved with The First Tee of Phoenix, there are many ways you can do so.

Volunteer. Opportunity abounds to volunteer with The First Tee of Phoenix. Volunteer during regular programming or as a scorekeeper/ official at monthly golf tournaments. You can also chaperone monthly non-golf related activities like trips to the Arizona Science Museum, ice skating, bowling, on a camp out, to a Phoenix Suns or Arizona Diamondbacks game, or help out at St. Mary’s Food Bank or the Susan G. Komen race.
Donate golf equipment. Donate used or new equipment like shoes, balls, clubs, bags, clothes and more.
Donate money. Like any non-profit, a monetary donation to The First Tee of Phoenix scholarship fund is always appreciated.

For more information on The First Tee of Phoenix, visit or call 602.305.7655. The First Tee…impacting our future and the future of the game…today.