Course Review - SunRidge Canyon
Hidden among the desert ridges and canyons of the McDowell Mountains in
Fountain Hills, the golf adventure begins at the upper mouth of a yawning
canyon and descends switchback style to the valley floor. The rhythm of the
game, the sequencing of the par 3’s, 4’s and 5’s, the varying degrees of
difficulty and the way the golf course gently shifts direction are as much a
part of the ebb and flow of the desert as are the change of seasons and the
passage of clouds in the sky. The views are awe-inspiring. The solitude
profound - the golfer sees no other hole then the one they are playing.
Golf at SunRidge Canyon is the way the game was intended – natural, mysterious,
and tempting. Things are not always as they first appear. Subtle changes in
topography can have a dramatic effect. Each shot demands careful consideration
of both the risk and the reward. Your success depends upon how skillfully you
make these decisions. Adding to the intrigue of SunRidge Canyon is the unique
way the golf course has of inviting you in and then surrounding you with its
beauty and drama. Here you will be drawn into the heart of the desert, playing
on lush fairways hidden between steep canyon walls. Aiming at greens defined by
age-old stands of mesquite, ironwood and palo verde trees and skirting shaded
arroyos that team with wildlife and claim errant shots as their own. It is an
intimate setting sheltered from other players and the distractions of the
outside world, giving you the opportunity to truly feel as one with the golf
course. Canyon walls surround many holes, providing a sense of seclusion that
soothes the mind and focuses concentration. Elevated tees offer spectacular
views as well as difficult club selections. Patience is definitely a virtue –
savor the gorgeous scenery and play within yourself.
SunRidge Canyon built in 1995 challenges every player to become cognizant of
the visual deception that may crop up with subtle shifts in contour and
elevation. The course architect, Keith Foster, exhibits a great deal of respect
for traditional design qualities. However, there is no doubt SunRidge Canyon is
a contemporary desert style course. The carries over natural terrain are of
nominal yardage and certainly not the greatest challenge on the golf course.
Foster is known for his intricate bunker work, and SunRidge Canyon is a perfect
example of Foster at his best. The 10th hole has a devilishly placed pot bunker
and the sandtrap fronting the green will beguile long hitters. Besides the
bunkers you have many other things to worry about at SunRidge Canyon; water,
wind, blind shots, very tough greens, and slopes that always seem to roll your
ball towards the desert and away from the fairway.Be very accurate or you will
struggle through a very long day. SunRidge Canyon encourages the strong player
to balance length with finesse and patience. Its rewards make for a brilliant
test of golf in a pure southwestern desert setting. If you like variety then it
is very refreshing to know that you will enjoy tasting all 18 flavors at
SunRidge Canyon because no 2 holes look alike. The front nine plays down into
the canyon, while the back nine takes you on bumpy ride up and down. Hang on
tight, especially for the last 6 holes. It's a constant barrage of challenge
and recovery, as reaching the green in regulation is no certain sign a player
will make par. The lightning quick, highly undulating, true rolling greens,
won’t hold low iron shots. Downhill putts are a nightmare and can roll and roll
way past the hole. Stay focused, as the surrounding mountains, vistas, arroyos
and lakes may grab your attention away.
The signature hole, is the par 3, 17th hole
You can choose between 2 sets of highly elevated tee boxes. One set plays much
easier and is usually less than 150 yards. The other set of tee boxes plays
over 200 yards and the tee shot comes in from a completely different angle than
it does from the other set of tees. The enormous, double tiered green is
surrounded by beautiful desert landscape. There is also a huge sand trap right
in the front center of the green. Staying out of trouble requires a very
accurate tee shot. Even if you hit the green you may find yourself with an
unmakeable putt because the sand trap may block your path to the hole. This
hole may be beautiful, but it can also be a beast. Amazingly the next hole, a
long par 4, 18th, is even tougher. After a long accurate launch off the tee,
the 2nd shot will still be a long uphill approach to a highly raised green
guarded by sand bunkers and a few boulders for some added protection. Balls can
ricochet out of play after making contact with these large boulders. If you are
not pin point accurate, it will be a long ride home
Other Information - SunRidge Canyon
Practice Facilities: Make sure you arrive early: 1) You need to be at the
top of your game when you play SunRidge Canyon, and 2) you don’t want to miss
out on this fabulous practice facility. Take in the breathtaking desert scenery
from their magnificent island putting green surrounded by soothing waterfalls.
Enjoy the great driving range and chipping facilities. Range balls are
19th Hole: The dining room is called SunRidge Grill. While you eat
just relax and enjoy the fabulous views. A snack bar is also located at a half
way house at the 9th hole. Banquet facilities are available for up to 75
Clubhouse: Voted America’s top 100 golf shops. The full service
clubhouse, like the course, is beautiful and top notch.
Golf Magazine’s Rated #42 among the Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the U.S.
Arizona Corridors Magazine’s #2 course in Arizona
Top ranked daily fee golf club by Arizona tournaments players
America's 100 Best -Golf Shop Operations Magazine
1996 LPGA Mitsubishi Motors Invitational Pro-Am.
1997 USGA State Team Championship
Grass type: The grass on the greens is Tif Dwarf overseeded with Poa Trivialis.
The better the golfer the better the experience
will be at SunRidge Canyon. It is an extremely challenging course that will
frustrate golfers with high handicaps. If you are not sure which tee box to
play from, error on the side of the easier box unless you are looking to have a
very rough day.
1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists: 7 ½
Comments by Meridian Guests:
“The conditions of the greens and fairways were perfect and the desert
scenery was beautiful”. “I played great and still shot 10 strokes above my
normal score.” “I lost a lot of balls.”
“I hit many shots where I wanted to and it was not where you want to
be.” “Breathtaking – almost every hole had eye popping views.”
“Very Challenging. Each time I got aggressive and went for a shot it cost
me big time” “A great mix of water, sand, desert and deception.” “Pure Torture!
But I will be back for more next year.”
The Drive: A short 20 minute drive into the
beautiful Fountain Hills area.