Course Review - Gold Canyon Golf Resort
Uniquely situated at the base of the historic Superstition Mountains, Gold
Canyon Dinosaur Mountain winds through three distinct canyons featuring
dramatic elevation changes and breathtaking views that will leave you
speechless or have you babbling for hours.
The course, which opened in 1997, also sports colorful, native high desert
fauna and an abundant wildlife population. Gold Canyon is immaculately
manicured and maintained in tournament like conditions. The dramatic elevation
changes are breathtaking. The severe slopes throughout the course will
challenge even the highest skilled golfer in a natural desert setting. Tiered
greens challenge your short iron game to produce makeable putts. It is believed
that the fabled Lost Dutchman Gold Mine is nestled somewhere near or on the
course. The mine still has not been found but evidence of its existence is
abundant. The natural beauty of the High Sonoran desert in this area is
legendary. Every green, collar, approach area, and tee is mowed by hand using
state-of-the-art walk mowers. Fairways and roughs are mowed on a continuous
basis. All bunkers, tees and cart paths are edged by hand at least twice per
month. This attention to detail coupled with incredible natural scenery creates
a magnificent desert golf experience.
To pick a signature hole on the Dinosaur Mountain
course is not easy because the course has 12 of the top 100 holes in the entire
state of Arizona. If you ask 12 people you probably will get a dozen different
answers. The dramatic elevation changes, delivers breathtaking scenery, and
causes club selection to become a major strategic element of the round.
The 12th hole is as dramatic as they come especially
when the sun starts to set behind the White Tank Mountains. An extremely
elevated tee box presents the player with one of the best views of the Phoenix
Valley to the west. A narrow fairway with a bunker in play to the right
bottlenecks into a relatively large green with plenty of undulation. The key is
to hit down the right side of the fairway while avoiding the trap on the right
which seems to swallow many good rips from the tee. Favoring the right side
will allow for an approach shot to the fat part of the elevated green, and will
effectively take the left greenside bunker out of play.
The challenging 3rd hole is is a short dog leg par 5.
Don’t be fooled by the distance, this hole is one of the toughest on the
course, and is probably the most photographed. The drive is from a spectacular
elevated tee box into a severely sloping fairway forcing your shot to roll
towards the large set of bunkers strategically placed on the left side of the
fairway. If you play away from the bunkers by hitting to the right side of the
fairway you will be faced with a longer 2nd shot. The approach shot is to a
highly elevated, very narrow, and severely sloped green. If your approach shot
goes past the hole you will be faced with a downhill putt that may continue to
roll past the hole and off the green. Par will usually win this hole.
The breathtaking, eye popping, 5th hole is a 200 yard
par 3 with extremely elevated tees. Before you hit, admire the spectacular view
of the valley, the fairway, the green and the Superstition Mountains. Being
over 100 yards above the green with a good 150 yards of pure desert fauna
between the golfer and the fairway you must be careful to focus on your shot
and not get lost in the scenery. When you finally tee off, it is a beautiful
site watching the ball flying and cresting over the desert washes and finally
landing on the green so far below. Strong winds often come into play on this
hole. Since you are so high above the green the ball floats through the air for
what seems like an eternity. Depending on the direction of the wind you may
need a wood or just a 9 iron to reach the pin. An enormous bunker guards the
entire left side of this oversized green.
The dramatic 15th hole is picturesque and yet as
strategic as they come. The tee shot is off a cliff with the fairway over 100
yards in front of and far below you. The fairway starts directly in front of
you and goes from right to left with the green way over to the left. The
further you can hit your tee shot the further to the left you should aim. The
real big hitters have an outside shot at reaching the green. Going for the
green requires hitting a blind shot over a mountain that must clear almost 300
yards. The safest play is hitting an iron straight ahead, but that will leave
you over 150 yards away from the green. One of the best risk/reward holes you
will ever play.
Other Information - Gold Canyon Golf Resort
Practice Facilities: Driving range and putting green. Range balls are
Instructional School: Resort Golf Schools
19th Hole: The Dining Room is called Kokopelli Restaurant. The snack bar
is called Greenwoods Sports Bar. The banquet facilities can accommodate up to
300 guests. There is a drink cart.
Clubhouse: There is a full service clubhouse. The golf shop has the
latest equipment and fashion.
Arizona Business Magazine: #1 Public Golf Course in Arizona in 2001 and 2002.
Four Star Ranking by Golf Digest Magazine
Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau: Top 5 Public Course in 97.
Top 10 Public Golf Course in Arizona-Arizona Republic
Most scenic golf courses in Arizona-Guest Informant
Designer: Ken Kavanaugh
Director of Golf/Golf Pro: Scott Scherger
Superintendent: Stuart Penge
Grass type: Bermuda Grass with rye overseed during the winter months.
Recommended handicap: Since the course is a par 70 it seems to play
longer than the yardage given. From the tips it is only a little over 6500
yards, but it plays much longer (like 7000 yards) and requires some massive
carries off the tee. If your handicap is not single digits then don’t torture
yourself. From the 6000 yard tees the course plays like most courses from 6500
and still is very challenging. From the front tees the course plays much easier
and allows all skill levels to really enjoy their golf experience at Gold
1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists: 9 ½
Comments by Meridian Guests:
- “One of the finest courses ever made.” “This course will challenge all
- “Every hole is so unique, so good, so beautiful, so spectacular, so
challenging.” “I never heard of Gold Canyon and I am glad I took the advice of
Meridian’s staff. The course was a better layout than Troon, GrayHawk or the
TPC Stadium and it was more fun. We also saved a few bucks. We were blown away
from the dramatic elevation changes and the picturesque scenery at every turn.”
- “The most fun I ever had.” “Visiting from the east coast I have never
seen such a spectacular desert setting.” “If you bring your camera don’t forget
to bring lots of film because you may use a roll on every hole.”
The Drive: Well worth the 40 minute drive.