Review & Rating of SunRidge Canyon Golf Course in Fountain Hills Arizona
Wow, what a fantastic golf experience you’ll find at SunRidge Canyon just outside of Scottsdale. This is a course that you need to go way out of your way to play and some of the reasons why we can highly recommend SunRidge include:
SunRidge Canyon was designed by Keith Foster, who also designed The Colonial Country Club in Ft Worth, Bent Tree in Dallas, and The Quarry in San Antonio plus a lot of other well-known courses throughout the US. Instead of a grabbing a bulldozer, Foster leveraged the work that Mother Nature created over hundreds of thousands of years with the effects of wind, water, and tectonic pressure. As such during your round you’ll experience significant elevation changes, majestic vistas with the McDowell Mountains as the backdrop, lots of wildlife, washes and arroyos, and plenty of natural desert, boulders of all shapes and sizes, and a variety of fauna and cactus.
It just doesn’t get much better and it’s not surprising that GolfWeek named SunRidge Canyon as “one of the best you can play;” Golf Magazine lists it in the “Top 25 Courses in Arizona;” and Golf Advisor named SunRidge Canyon as “#4 in America.”
The front nine is your opportunity to score as the course winds it’s way down from the clubhouse with lots of elevation changes, some magnificent vistas and Kodak moments, beautiful homes dotting the hill side and overlooking the course, and some outstanding golf holes. Some holes that we really liked included:
The back nine at SunRidge Canyon is more challenging thanks to a climb back up the hill making the holes play much longer. And the back is also home to what is referred to as the “Wicked Six” – holes 13 through 18 that in addition to a steep climb back up to the club house for a well deserved beer will throw a lot at you including dog legs, severely sloping and contoured fairways, long forced carries, elevation changes, washes and arroyos to carry, and challenging green complexes. On this nine every hole is outstanding and deserves special mention, but our favorites included:
The fairways at SunRidge Canyon are wide and sweeping, heavily contoured and sloping, and littered with bunkers. When we played they were in very good condition but a little thin in some areas. The rough is wide and was cut fairly thick but playable – miss the fairway and rough and you’re in the desert with the snakes, cacti, boulders, rocks, brush, and sand. You’ll encounter lots of washes and natural areas to carry both off the tee and crossing the fairway. The views are stunning and there are some huge beautiful homes sitting on the ridges overlooking the course. The course was designed to be fair for ladies and high handicappers and the front tees don’t have any forced carries.
The greens at SunRidge Canyon were redone in 2015 and they are still maturing – as such, they aren’t as soft as they will be and don’t yet hold the ball well. They were running very fast (12 or so) when we played and all the slope and contour made for some difficult putts. The greens are a variety of shapes, some are raised, and all are guarded by some combination of steep and deep bunkers, mounds, swales, or native area. SunRidge puts a premium on the approach shots and putting.
The bunkers are treacherous – most are huge, steep, and deep. The sand varied from very good (light and fluffy) to thin and gritty.
The clubhouse is outstanding with well done locker rooms, a grill with some good food, and a beautiful patio with a stunning view and a cascading waterfall running down the front of it.
Rates: $95.00 to $199.00
Service is excellent from the bag boys to the pro shop staff to the cart girls. The practice facilities are very good. The GPS is great with a clear picture, hole flyovers, and some very helpful hints.
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!
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.