People ask, “ What is your favorite course?” We usually say the last one we played or that we can’t say because we haven’t played them all yet. Then we confess that there is a place in the Superstition Mountains that is near and dear to our hearts – Gold Canyon, the Dinosaur Course. It has it all – views, elevation, great condition, flora, fauna and character. Annually rated the number one course in Arizona, the series of mountain ridges on the last few holes form the head, backbone and tail of a dinosaur, hence the name.
Over the years we’ve played here with friends and been hooked up with strangers.
In one case we played with Olympian Amy Van Dyken and her hubby Tom Rouen of NFL fame. This week long time member Al serendipitously joined us for a round with our son on a perfect Arizona spring day which started with wearing shorts and long sleeve tops that were shed by the fourth hole.
The Dinosaur Course stretches over abandoned gold mines. A covered shaft is marked high on number 14-tee box. Al pointed out another mineshaft opening on hole 6 and revealed other golden nuggets around the course. For example, who knew about the hoodoos on the mountain ridge? Pointing up like fingers and best seen from number 7’s tee box, legend has it that the wives of braves long ago bid them farewell as they went to war. They vowed to wait for the warriors’ return, which never happened so they turned into stone.
The scenery is dramatic throughout the course with mighty saguaros mixing with jumping cholla, jojoba and spring blooms of purple mallow, yellow brittle bush and tall spears of orange ocotillo. It is the perfect setting for deer, javelinas, and rabbits, quail and of course roadrunners to call home.
Ken Cavanaugh’s design is challenging. Hole 3 is the number one handicap, a 514-yard uphill dogleg left guarded by a deep scrub brush ravine. The fairway narrows facing a two tier skinny green severely sloping forward. If the ball doesn’t stick to the right spot, putts may be repeated up and down. Al says he’s seen grown men cry on this green.
Trying a new club is like having a first date. The Tour Edge EX9 driver delivered more distance as promised by CEO David Klod and it will be as ours is, a marriage made in heaven. Thank you Tour Edge! If your clubs aren’t working lessons are available on the range.
On south Kings Ranch Road, Gold Canyon is the king of Arizona golf. The Cactus League is underway so if you’re headed to spring training, check out Gold Canyon and make your own treasured memories. If the Dinosaur Mountain course is busy, the Sidewinder is a nice run too. Stay away from the bushes on either course if you know what we mean. Views are breathtaking throughout Gold Canyon Resort where you can stay, play, dine and spa. www.gcgr.comWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?