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Arizona Golf Course Review

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

The Sidewinder Golf Club is the sister course to Dinosaur Mountain at the Golf Canyon Golf Resort, which has been ranked as the # 1 public golf course in Arizona (by Ranking Arizona Magazine) for several years running. The Sidewinder is more of a resort style golfing experience, high ranking in its own right with a four star rating from Golf Digest Places to Play. With two 18-hole championship layouts as well as practice facilities, plus comfortable upscale accommodations, a swimming pool & hot tub, a healing arts center, horseback riding and other amenities, Gold Canyon is a preferred Arizona golf destination. For more info, visit our page for Gold Canyon in our Arizona golf resort listing section by clicking here.

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

Sidewinder begins with 8 holes on the eastern side of the property that provide a good deal of character to the layout. Elevated tees and greens, rolling fairways breached by desert arroyos, and putting complexes situated in front of gorgeous mountain backdrops are the norm. Some of the middle holes are part of the original layout when the course was simply called Gold Canyon - each equipped with wide fairways that play along a basically level terrain. The last four holes play back towards the Superstition Mountains, with more desert areas crossing the fairways and with gorgeous high desert scenery. 

 The clubhouse at Gold Canyon services both courses, and includes a pro shop stocked with accessories and attire, plus two dining areas that serve a variety of fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all the favorite beverages in an adjacent lounge. The views from either of these restaurants are simply marvelous. A grass and mat range are on property, plus two putting greens. The resort pool and hot tub are also located next to the clubhouse.

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

On course golfers will find color coded yardage blocks at the 75, 100, 150 and 200 yard areas, plus 250 on par fives. There also are red, white and blue stakes on the fairways at the 100, 150 and 200 yard distances. Each tee area provides measurements to the center of the green as well. The Pro Link GPS that is standard on all carts takes care of the job of providing accurate information from tee to the pin. A yardage indicator is also mounted on the rear of the carts. With recent updates, the course now offers 5 sets of tees, with the tips playing to a challenging 6509 yards with a slope of 130. Alternate sets measure 6144/125 slope, 5833/122 slope for men and 139 for women, 5399/111 slope for men and 126 for women, and 4426/111 slope. We recommend the black tees on sidewinder (6144 yards) for the average golfer.

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

Hole number one plays from the foothills of Dinosaur Mountain to a fairway that narrows about 160 away with a water hazard on the left. There is room to the right of the small green, which features two bunkers in back. The Superstition Mountains form a postcard frame of the 2nd green, which plays as a par three with bunkers left and long and ample bail out room right. A desert wash crosses the fairway just past the 100 yard marker on the par four 3rd. There is plenty of room greenside on the approach. The fourth is a beautiful par three that presents a wonderful scoring opportunity, and is followed by a short par four that doglegs to the left. A lay up to the 100 yard area will afford an opportunity to reach in regulation, with a high arcing wedge that carries the huge sand bunker immediately in front of the green. The tee shot on six must carry a desert arroyo and land preferably in the left center of a wide fairway. The second shot will most likely be a lay up, with the 100 yard area again providing the advantageous landing zone. The approach is uphill over a desert wash - with long being the better option than short. Seven is a beautiful par three over desert brush to a putting complex with mounding greenside and a sand trap to the left. Anything hit long right is in trouble. Eight doglegs right to a generous fairway, with a large tree positioned in the center about 60 yards out. Golfers will have to navigate around it or go over this obstacle on the approach. The ninth hole takes us back across to the west side of the resort, along a flat terrain with a hole that bends from left to right. There is plenty of room along the way and greenside as well.

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

The back side continues with some level holes that are generally wide open. Numbers ten and eleven feature challenging approaches as the green complexes are raised with slopes dropping off on all sides. Miss here and the up and downs will be tricky. Twelve is a simple dogleg left and precedes a mid length par four that is straight and flat from tee to green, with spectacular mountain scenery forming the backdrop. Fourteen also features spectacular views of the Dinosaur and Superstition Mountains, and leads to another raised green which requires an accurate tee shot. Water comes into play from 180yards in on the long par four 15th. There is bail out room to the right, but those wishing to score will need a high arcing approach over the hazard. *The sculpted tees on 16 lead to a wide fairway that ends abruptly as a desert wash angles across from left to right, beginning near the 120 yard area. A shot coming to a halt near the 120 yard zone right of center will create the best angle for the approach to a raised green which provides little room for error. There is a desert wash past the red tees on 17, just short of the 200 yard area. The tee shot must carry this wash to an ample fairway. It is better to be long than short on the approach, as the green features a deep bunker short left and desert area to the right. The par five finishing hole is a tough one. The tee shot is over desert and the second shot should come to rest short of the 100 yard marker, as an arroyo crosses about 90 yards away. The approach is uphill with a bunker resting in front and also behind the green. Long hitters attempting to reach in two can find solace to the left of the green, as about forty yards of grass is available to that side between the hazard and the putting surface.

Sidewinder Course at Gold Canyon Resort - Arizona golf course 06

Sidewinder is a fun-to-play resort layout, with a nice mix of challenging and easy holes. The vistas on much of the layout are gorgeous, and the conditioning of the greens, fairway, tees and bunkers during our June visit gets high marks. The price to play this course during prime season is less than 1/2 of the cost of Dinosaur Mountain - making it a great value and also making the possibility of playing both courses in the same day a reasonable financial proposition. For more info on the Sidewinder, with a link to the Gold Canyon website, visit our informational page for the course by clicking here.

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