SunRidge Canyon G.C.: Could an ideal Arizona setting get any better?

Canyons and mountains star at scenic SunRidge Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Arizona

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. -- The flight pattern was inspiring. A bald eagle appears overhead and floats to a landing on a rocky slope of a canyon wall at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club's 15th hole. The feeling was how could an ideal Arizona setting get any better?

This 6,823-yard, par-71 Keith Foster design has all you search for in a scenic Arizona setting. The SunRidge Canyon journey begins at the high end of one of its rugged canyons and gradually descends through the front nine, offering excellent views of Four Peaks and the Mazatzal Mountains to the east.

"I constantly hear great things from our visiting golfers," said Wes Neal, SunRidge Canyon's head professional. "Golfers love the desert experience, the huge boulders, the saguaros and the wildlife."

As you make the turn, you begin a gradual climb to a difficult string of finishing holes, dubbed the "Wicked Six," that are among the best golf experiences in Arizona -- for players and photographers alike, Neal said.

"I think many golfers think SunRidge Canyon can be difficult, but they still enjoy the experience," Neal said. "We softened the contours on the greens and planted with Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass two years ago, but the greens have a trickle to them."

The greens are quick -- a solid 12 on the Stimp meter -- and just when you think you've made a good stroke, the ball will roll out to an uncomfortable three-putt distance.

As challenging as the Wicked Six is -- the name given to holes 13-18 -- you can be competitive with the right decisions.

"I think 14 and 18 are especially entertaining," Neal said. "At the par-3 14th, visual intimidation is the enemy. Your challenge is to fly, bounce or run your tee ball 181 yards to the center of the green from an elevated tee. Ignore the front, left bunker and the lake that wraps the entire right side of the green and you'll be fine."

SunRidge Canyon Golf Club: Design thoughts

Constructed in 1995, SunRidge Canyon was purchased in December 2010 by part-time Fountain Hills residents Don and Cindy Misheff. Their local, hands-on stewardship keeps SunRidge Canyon on the leading edge of the premier, daily-fee, "member for a day" golf club offerings available in the Scottsdale area.

Designed by Keith Foster, a devout minimalist before it was popular, SunRidge Canyon displays a philosophy absent of bulldozing, creating a natural flow, few perfectly flat lies and countless putts that roll out over contours that can be subtle and hard to gauge.

If trickling putts don't run up your score, dry washes could. Nine times they play a part in your decision making, and on a few holes they appear shorter, where your decision is to play short of them or try and fly them.

These washes were left untouched during the course design because Foster was trying to limit the amount of dirt that would have to be moved, and the permit process to remove the washes would have been protracted and expensive.

SunRidge Canyon's practice facilities feature the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy on site. Expert club fitters from Hot Stix are here as well, so any student of the game will find everything they're looking for in one spot.

Wicked Six Bar & Grill

When the last putt drops, you'll find your golf cart is literally parked next to the Wicked Six Bar & Grill. Rest assured, regardless of what scores you've posted so far, the panorama is beautiful. Breakfast and lunch is served here, with post-round drinks and a full evening dining experience.

SunRidge Canyon's indoor-outdoor patio facilities remain unrivaled as the place to savor the day's fun amid striking views of the golf course and the locale's namesake mountain, Four Peaks, in the distance.

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.
1 Comments
Default User Avatar
Commented on

Another great story about one of my favorite places to play in Fountain Hills.  Thanks.

Related Links

SunRidge Canyon -- located in Fountain Hills, Ariz., just northeast of Scottsdale -- is better than ever after a 2015 renovation brought new greens, bunkers and changed a few holes to make the course more player friendly.
14 Images
If golf is supposed to be fun, then Golf Advisor Mike Bailey said it'd be hard to find a better example than his recent short trip to the Phoenix/Scottsdale trip area.
6 Min Read
With 15 Troon Golf-managed courses in Arizona, you can narrow down your choices to luxury and innovation at TroonGolfAZ. Make the most of your Arizona golf vacation.
3 Min Read
Picking the most scenic courses in Scottsdale is an impossible task. Not because there's so few courses from which to pick. Because there's too many. With that said, here are some camera-ready classics.
11 Images
More from the author
3 Min Read
November 21, 2016
Rees Jones' new Danzante Bay Golf Club in Mexico just celebrated the grand opening of 11 ocean-facing holes that feature a stunning par 3 that's every bit as good as no. 7 at Pebble.
3 Min Read
October 27, 2016
Ballyneal in Holyoke, Colorado is in the process of adding an outstanding, walking-only short course. The 12-hole Mulligan is slated to open next summer.
4 Min Read
July 20, 2016
The scene is 2017 U.S. Open host Erin Hills. Fescue is waving on a wild prairie framed by rolls and dips. Fairways are fast and firm. If you want to play the course this year, do it before Oct. 3.
4 Min Read
June 20, 2016
Sure it was beer that made Milwaukee famous, but it has golf history, and its future seems unlimited. Milwaukee-area golf is a winner. Here's a look at the options.
3 Min Read
April 28, 2016
Vaaler Creek Golf Club in Blanco is an outstanding getaway from San Antonio and Austin and definitely should be on your must-play list in the Texas Hill Country, David R. Holland writes.
3 Min Read
April 13, 2016
Set just 10 miles north of the Texas Gulf Coast, The Wilderness in Lake Jackson is such a treat for the senses. Designed by Jeff Brauer, this municipal golf course is one of the best plays in the entire greater-Houston market, David R. Holland writes.
Popular
5 Min Read
July 25, 2022
Dundonald's new luxury accommodations and clubhouse complement a Kyle Phillips-designed links that has hosted men's and women's Scottish Opens.
3 Min Read
July 13, 2022
Scottish tour operator Bonnie Wee Golf has put together a collection of some of the oldest and most memorable links courses in the world.
5 Min Read
August 1, 2022
Tips to enjoying special golf trips to Scotland, Ireland and Pinehurst highlight this month's Secrets column.
7 Min Read
August 10, 2022
Now 30-years mature, the statewide system of affordable golf courses offers adventure that doesn't have to break the budget.
Load More
Now Reading
Canyons and mountains star at scenic SunRidge Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Arizona