DESERT CANYON GOLF CLUB (480-837-1173)
Arizona Golf Course Review
Desert Canyon in Fountain Hills is a true desert mountain layout that features scenery equal to that of the finest golf courses in the area east of Scottsdale. This section of the
state has received the most attention (from e-mails and requests for information) on our Arizona golf site, and Desert Canyon is a good example of what the area has to offer.
Spectacular mountain backdrops are featured from sculpted tees and fairways that wind around high desert barrancas and arroyos - and play to large, well conditioned putting
surfaces. Pick out a hole and check out the view - this is why we love Arizona!
The facilities at Desert Canyon include a grass range with adjacent chipping area. A large putting green fronts the clubhouse, which features a well stocked pro shop and
changing areas with showers for men and women. The restaurant here is quite spacious, and serves breakfast and lunch, and the lounge is a comfortable place for a post game
beverage. The outdoor patio provides an enormous seating capacity - and also affords beautiful views of the golf course. The indoor/outdoor seating arrangements here are
among the best we have experienced at a golf course in the Phoenix area - wonderfully appointed in southwest decor.
On course golfers will encounter oversized greens that are mostly free of undulations - but generally slope away from the mountains. Figure this out and you can score well. The
picturesque rolling, fairways play through a gorgeous upscale, mountainside residential community, with palms and native trees plus landscaped desert brush in view. Many of
the tees and green complexes are elevated - some dramatically so. Each tee area is marked and 100, 150 and 200 yard markers are visible on each par four and five. The three
sets of tees here measure 6415/123 slope, 6045/117 slope and 5352/117 slope.
The front nine begins from an elevated tee on number one, which turns abruptly to the left past the 150. Anything hit long right will carry into the desert, so it is important to aim
directly at or to the left of the stake. The approach is a tight one, with a water hazard situated immediately to the left of the green, with the fairway sloping towards that side. Two is a
par three to an elevated green that slopes right to left and back to front - miss to the right is at all. The tee shot on three must breach the 130 yard area, as this dogleg left features
a tree on the left which will block approaches from tee shots not reaching this zone. Stay right of center to set up the second shot to a raised putting surface that slopes back to
front. The fourth hole doglegs left then swerves back to the right for the approach. If the tee shot is long and left over the tree, it is possible to go for the green in two - otherwise this
par five is best played in a zigzag fashion as a 3-shot hole. Careful off the tee however, as it is very possible to drive through the fairway on the right side. There is more room than
appears off the tee on 5, and the par four 6th is also pretty wide open, inviting a grip it and rip it mentality. The uphill approach leads to a very well bunkered green complex. A lay up
to the 100 yard area will set up a good scoring opportunity on the short par four 7th, which features plentiful palm trees and sand greenside. A high arcing iron shot will be needed
to hold the green on the par three 8th, which is saturated with bunkers all around. This 18th ranked handicap is followed by one of the most challenging par fours of the day. Nine
begins with a narrow fairway that turns to the right past the large tree on that side. A tee shot placed past the 150 stake will leave a good angle for the approach, which plays uphill
to a perched green complex that slopes back to front.
The downhill, short par four 10th is best played with an iron off the tee, with the line just right of the cart path and trees leading to an advantageous landing area. The approach is
also downhill, and there is about 10 yards of grass behind the green, which slopes front to back. The 11th also plays downhill with a left to right shot shape aimed initially at the
150 stake the recommended play. It is easy to drive through the fairway here, if the shot is left of center. Number twelve is downhill off the tee, and the tee shot must be played to
the left or right of a small bunker that is situated smack in the middle of the fairway. The approach plays uphill as it turns to the right. The green complex on thirteen is extremely
elevated, requiring one or two clubs extra. There is some room short and also long left, but anything to the right will drop straight down leaving an undesirable pitch for a par save.
There are nice views from behind the green here. The tight fairway on the par five 14th slopes left to right and plays uphill all the way. This is one of the course's higher handicap
holes, but if you can keep it on the fairway it is quite score-able. Fifteen doglegs left with the right center providing the preferable landing zone. There is plenty of room right of the
green on the uphill approach. The 16th is a beautiful par three from an elevated tee, and is followed by a short dogleg right par four with a layered fairway that inclines all the way to
the green. A cut shot to the 120-100 yard area will leave a simple approach. The finishing hole on this course also bends left to right and plays uphill to a perched putting complex.
The fairway ends near the 120 yard area, drops off into a grass ravine, then resumes near the 70 yard zone.
Desert Canyon, for some reason was rated as a two star course by Golf Digest Places to Play in 2002/2003. We certainly would rate it much higher. As you can see by the photos
in this review, the layout is not lacking in beauty or aesthetics, and the design is incredibly fun to play. Conditioning? Our review round was in mid June - not exactly prime time -
and the greens and fairways were in very good shape. As we mentioned, the clubhouse restaurant/lounge and patio are all terrific, and the staff very courteous and helpful. We
recommend Desert Canyon without hesitation. For more info on the property and for a link to their website, visit our page for them on our course listing section - click here