Gold Canyon - Dinosaur Mountain Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Gold Canyon, AZ
Website · Book A Tee Time

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Gold Canyon - Dinosaur Mountain Review

Review and Rating of Gold Canyon Golf Club's Dinosaur Mountain Course in Gold Canyon Arizona

Gold Canyon is home to two spectacular 18 hole golf courses - Dinosaur Mountain and Sidewinder.  Sidewinder is rated 4 stars by Golf Digest and it is the easier and flatter of the two courses and it's home to smaller greens and more target golf as it plays through desert arroyos and native desert washes.  Sidewinder has dramatic views of the legendary Superstition Mountain, several water features, gently rolling fairways, undulating greens and pristine Sonoran desert vegetation. 

Dinosaur Mountain has dramatic elevation changes; lots of holes with high "WOW" factors - at least 10 holes could be considered signature holes;  rollercoaster fairways that rival Six Flags; near perfect conditions; and stunning views of the desert, Superstition Mountain, and Dinosaur Mountain.  Dinosaur is a par 70 with 6 par 3s, 8 par 4s, and 4 par 5s and it takes you up, over, and around Dinosaur Mountain.  It's critical that you pick the right set of tee boxs (there are 6 plus two combos) to match your skill level.  It's not surprising to me that Gold Canyon's Dinosaur Mountain is rated as one of the top Arizona golf courses.

All of the holes on Dinosaur Mountain are outstanding but here are some of our favorites:

  • #5 is a 236 yard par 3 with a more than a 100 foot drop to a large green with an equally large left side bunker - and unbelievable views
  • #12 is a fun 448 yard par 4 with an elevated tee shot to a sloping fairway with a big bunker in your landing zone followed by a challenging approach shot to a raised big green guarded by a bunker on the left and one off the back
  • #15 is a short 378 yard downhill dog leg left that will temp you to try and carry more of the natural area to possibly drive the green or you can hit into the fairway on the right and have a fairly easy shot over the natural area to sloping green guarded by a bunker, swales, mounds, and some cute little bunnies
  • #16 is a really fun - the 447 yard #2 handicap par 5 has a sloping (which can easily taking you into the desert) snaking fairway that leads uphill to a green set off to the right side and guarded by two small pot bunkers, a medium sized bunker, and one huge monster bunker
  • 18 is a good finishing hole with a risky shot to try and drive the green or a conservative shot that needs to miss 3 fairway bunkers and an approach shot to a small undulating green with two pot bunkers and a large bunker guarding the entire right side of the green

The greens at Gold Canyon's Dinosaur Mountain Golf Course are well guarded, surrounded by small to tall mounds and swales, a tad smaller than normal, have plenty of undulation plus tiers and ridges, and they run fast - all of which puts a premium on your approach shots and putting skills.  When we played they were in near perfect condition.

The fairways are forgiving off the tee and then range from ample to a tad tight - miss and you're in the desert with the cactus and brush.  They are loaded with lots of slope and contour and some hills along the sides.  Some stunning homes sit on the hill sides overlooking the fairways.  The Dinosaur Mountain fairways were also in near perfect condition.

The bunkers range from small pot bunkers to some huge monsters with small to huge faces - in a couple cases we got lucky and roll in and out of the bunkers.  The sand is what I'm told is typical for Arizona courses - thin and gritty to keep it from washing or blowing out of the bunkers.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,653 71.3 143
Blue 5,823 66.7 122
White 5,368 64.7 117
Gold 6,328 69.2 135
Red 4,794 67.0 117

Course Information

Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Very Hilly
Course Map
Beware of water on 1 holes and the 49 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$75.00 to $160.00

Service is excellent. The club house has a well stocked pro shop and a full service restaurant with a great patio. The practice facilites are very good.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.