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The Lodge at Ventana Canyon - The Canyon Course  (520) 577-1400

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Arizona Golf Course Review

Ventana Canyon - Canyon Course

Set in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains and making use of the spectacular desert terrain while preserving the integrity of the natural environment, Ventana Canyon is one of Arizona's desert jewels. Designed by Tom Fazio, these 36 holes of championship golf are associated with one of America's premier golf resorts - The Lodge at Ventana Canyon. 

The Lodge, a five time Golf Magazine Silver Medalist, is surrounded by a 600-acre preserve consisting of ancient desert canyons and arroyos, giant saguaros, massive rock formations and abundant wildlife which includes deer, roadrunners, quail, rabbits, bobcats, javelina and wide variety of birds. All of these features have been incorporated in both the Canyon and Mountain courses at Ventana Canyon and the combination creates a very memorable golf experience. 



The pro shop at Ventana is conveniently located in the Lodge and carries a full line of men's and women's golf apparel as well as clubs, shoes and accessories. The staff is well trained and expert individual instruction is available as well as clinics. Guests at the Lodge enjoy unlimited use of the practice facility which includes a chipping green with bunkers, a driving range with spectacular views of the mountains and several large putting greens. Range balls and use of the practice facility are complimentary with green fees which range from $169 during prime time to as low as $60 in the summer. (The Lodge is sponsoring a "Heat Stroke" tournament in July of 2003 in which accommodations and tournament fees are being offered at an incredibly low price...contact The Lodge for more information.)



The conditions on the Ventana courses are immaculate from tee to green. The fairways have a base of Crenshaw blend and are overseeded with Bermuda from October through June. The greens are very short and fast and all putts slope away from the mountains. Yardage to the center of the green is marked on all sprinkler heads and 150 yard stakes are posted in the middle of the fairway. Daily pin placement sheets are provided. 

The Canyon Course



The Ventana Canyon Course winds through the Esperero Canyon and incorporates the natural desert terrain found in this area. There are 5 sets of tees which provide every level of player a fair opportunity for challenge and enjoyment. The tournament tees play 6819 yards, the middle tees play 6281 and 5778 yards and the forward tees play 5442 and 4939 yards. This course provides a separate rating and slope for women off the second middle tees.



The opening hole is a par 4 to an open fairway. There is trouble on the left with a bunker and some trees and the approach shot is to a long and firm green. (Note: all greens slope away from the mountains - trust this knowledge and not your eyes.) The second hole, a par 5, plays slightly uphill with an approach shot to an elevated green that has a deep grass bunker protecting its entire front. Be sure to take enough club for this shot. Number 3 is a par 4 from an elevated tee to a fairly wide open fairway. The approach is to a long tight green with trees on the left and bunkers on the right. The green slopes away from the fairway and it is safe to go long with room in the back. Four is short par 4 on which the long hitter can reach the green. The green is heavily contoured with pin placement possibilities that can be very challenging so only a solid putter will find an eagle or birdie here.  Number five is a short par 3 that will play longer than the yardage. Tees on this hole are elevated in the back and lower in the front so that the tee shot off the forward box, although much shorter, is uphill. There is some room on the right of this two tiered green but accuracy is important, especially when the hole is cut in the back. Accuracy is very important, especially when the hole is cut in the back. The par 4 number 5 has a downhill tee shot. Landing on the right is preferred because of a hidden fairway bunker on the left. Again, avoid the left on your approach which has heavy bunkering. The green slopes away from the fairway and from right to left. Number seven is the number one handicap on the Canyon Course and is a long par 5 that doglegs left. This is a three club hole with very uneven lies on the fairway. The green is guarded by bunkers both back and front and is heavily mounded. The eighth hole, a par 3, plays slightly downhill to a green that is heavily guarded along the right side. This will play a bit shorter than the yardage.  Number nine is uphill par 4 with heavy bunkering on the right side of the fairway at approximately 140 yards. Only a solid tee shot will provide an opportunity to reach the two-tiered kidney shaped green on the approach. Bunkers in front and along the right side of the green guard the pin. 



The back nine begins with a beautiful par 4 on which the picturesque Whaleback Rock guards the back of the green. Although this is a short downhill hole, the approach to this very tight green can be a challenge because of the deep bunkering on the right and the beautiful distraction in the back. Eleven, a long par 4, will play shorter than the yardage. If your tee shot is to the right side of the fairway, you will most likely get a favorable bounce into the middle of the fairway. Tee shots to the right side of the fairway will likely be rewarded with a favorable bounce into the middle. The large deep bunker on the back left side of the green may be trouble for errant approach shots. The smart approach would be to the middle where you can use a bump and run if you land short. The number 2 handicap on the course, 12, is a par 5 with a shop dogleg right and a very undulating fairway.  The safe tee shot is to the left side where the second shot will be uphill to a deep, severely slopped green. If the green is missed on either side on the approach, players are left with a very difficult up and down pitch. Thirteen is an interesting par three that tees off over desert onto a two tiered green that is well guarded by 6 very deep bunkers on the left and one on the right. This hole requires concentration and a well placed tee shot. Fourteen is a very easy hole on which longer hitters could drive the green. The fairway slopes from right to left with the green being guarded by bunkers on both sides and the safe approach is to the right side. The par 4 fifteenth is the longest par 4 on the course and has an open, downhill fairway with a dogleg left and an approach to an elevated green. The fairway slopes right to left and there is some bunkering on the left at the turn. The green on this hole is also severely sloped and is very hard to hold. Number sixteen is fairly long and uphill but easy par 3 to a very large green. Tee off is over desert flora which can intimidate some players.  Seventeen, a par 4 dogleg to the right, has bunkering on both sides of the fairway at the turn. Tee shots must be well placed in order to do well on this hole and the green can only be seen past the 160 yard marker. A tree on the left in front of the green and a bunker on the right may cause problems on the approach. The closing hole is a beautiful uphill par 5 with an open fairway and a scenic water feature behind and to the right of the green. There is a dry wash in front of the green and the severity of the water hazard is not apparent until you approach the green. A solid shot to the left side of the green after a good tee shot is possible, but the smart player might want to layup at 60 yards to avoid trouble.


Although the Canyon Course is more playable for the inexperienced golfer than the Mountain Course at Ventana Canyon, it offers a significant challenge to even the most seasoned duffer. The service, practice facilities, resort facilities, vistas and conditions at Ventana make this a must play in Arizona.

Visit our page for The Lodge at Ventana Canyon - Click Here
Visit the Two Guys Who Golf review of the Ventana Canyon - Mountain Course- Click Here
Visit our informational page for the Ventana Canyon - Canyon Course - Click Here
Visit the website of the Lodge at Ventana Canyon - Click Here

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