Featured Course: Gold Canyon is the Hidden Gem of Phoenix's East Valley

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

PHOENIX - Immediately upon rolling into to Gold Canyon Ranch, you know you are in for one of the Phoenix area's truly unique golfing experiences. Perched in the foothills of the legendary Superstition Mountains, Gold Canyon Resort's bleached white casitas and villas dot the hillside above the golf shop and restaurant like a Mediterranean Village..

Upon further exploration, the architecture of these rustic abodes proves to be Santa Fe style with interiors that rival their handsome exteriors. Throw in an inviting swimming pool, a 19th Hole that functions more like a local pub than a brief stop in after a round, and a first class sit down restaurant, and you have on fully operational battleship.

Oh yea, and if you can get past the initial charm of the resort's other amenities, there is golf to be played. And some of the Valley's best at that. Gold Canyon Resort features two 18 hole layouts, one a first class championship course, the other a first rate bargain..

The Dinosaur Moutain Course was recently rated the number two course in the state by the subscribers of Arizona Business Journal. While Golf Magazine or Golf Digest the ABJ is not, subscribers are no dummies and these savvy critics just happen to know what anyone who has played at Dinosaur Mountain knows: this is desert golf as it was meant to be..

With its ridiculously low greens fees ($100 for a foursome during the summer months), the Sidewinder Course is geared towards local clientele who want to play a quality course without losing their shirts. While it does not tackle as challenging terrain or offer up as many breathtaking views as its neighbor, the "Winder" can hold its own with any course within its price range. This righteous combination of golfing democracy is largely attributable to Head Professional Scott Scherger..

"When I first got here, I thought it was unfortunate that local did not play during the winter when the conditions are so good," says Scherger. "Many local had not been out to Gold Canyon in five or six years because they didn't know what we had to offer.".

What "they" have is an escape from the urban grind of the Phoenix metroplex - a rustic resort a mere 30 minutes outside of the city in one of the least inhabited areas of the valley. What Scherger and friends also have is a golf course that will leave you enough money to buy a round for the guys, a golf course that will leave you either speechless or babbling for hours, customer service that almost makes you feel guilty, and variety of food and beverage to satisfy any guest..

What Gold Canyon doesn't have is the snobby pretentiousness exuded by many of the Valley's upscale resorts. Hey, nothing against posh resort golf, but don't we all feel a little more at home at a place that feels a little bit more like home?

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • your course is to hard

    not going to tell u wrote on: Feb 23, 2011

    i hate ur course


  • Gold Canyon Golf Reviews

    Dan Van Keuren wrote on: Feb 19, 2010

    The Dinosaur Mountain course is the best anywhere, with scenery unmatchable anywhere. Every hole is different and every hole was a signature hole to me. You'll always remember the holes at Gold Canyon, as they are all memorable. The conditioning is great, the course is very fair, and it is what makes golf such an enjoyable game. Many holes allow for you to air out your driver with plenty of room on the fairway, yet many holes require accuracy to score and distance control is needed. The greens are outstanding and roll true and fair. You'll meet the nicest people at Gold Canyon and have a great time. It's affordable, especially in the Summer, and is cooler than the downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale courses. The Sidewinder course is a lot of fun, but requires more accuracy than the Dinosaur course. It's more level without the elevation changes and still has the great scenery of the local mountains and desert. Of all the courses in Phoenix, these are my two favorite and I encourage locals and visitors to make the trip and schedule your game in Gold Canyon.