Phoenix resident for … 15 years now, I guess? I’ve played virtually everything open to the public in the Phoenix area, with the exception of some of the retirement community courses and some of the lesser stuff in the SE valley. Have seen some of the privates but not a big percentage.
Top public options are really the courses WeKoPa, Saguaro especially is just great. Talking Stick is fun and the North (or whatever it’s called now) is great for architecture geeks, but leaves a lot of visitors cold because it’s flat and the views aren’t great (but tons of strategy there, a great course to play as a local).
Southern Dunes is good, but a long haul.
For someone visiting Scottsdale, an option not often considered (but no further than driving to Maricopa to play Southern Dunes) is Verrado. I love the new Victory course out there and the older Founders course would be the toast of the city if it were in Scottsdale.