If you haven’t been to Sun Ridge Canyon in Fountain Hills, it’s time to go.
I am here to tell you we at Arizona Golf Central love this course. Most golf courses have a series of holes that are particularly noteworthy for their beauty and challenge, some even to the point that they begin to develop a mystique all of their own. These holes represent a battle within the battle, the high-water mark of the round when it’s either sink or swim. Augusta National’s Amen Corner, PGA National’s Bear Trap and La Costa’s Longest Mile come to mind as examples of dastardly golf holes that have menaced golfers for generations. Somewhat less famous, but every bit as daunting, Sun Ridge Canyon confronts golfers with a devilish half- dozen holes known as the Wicked 6. Arguably the hardest finishing holes in the Valley, these six holes have given golfers fits since the place opened.
Made up of two par 5s, two par 4s and two par 3s, all except the par 3s play uphill. It is this gradual, yet significant uphill climb that posed much of my challenge. Plus, the prevailing breeze tends to blow down the canyon into my face. Couple all this with the fact that the holes would play moderate to long even if they were on level ground, and it’s easy to see why the Wicked 6 has earned its distinction. The 13th hole kicks off with a tee shot that must find a landing area
that slopes from a high point on the right to a low-lying desert wash that runs along the left side of the wide fairway. The second shot is straight away with a lake located to the right. The elevated green is not normally reachable in two, and the approach to the green is decidedly uphill.
The 14th is one of those holes that accepts nothing less than a good shot. Too bad I didn’t deliver. Un- like its wicked kin, this hole plays significantly downhill from terraced tee boxes carved into the side of the canyon wall to a green flanked along its entire right side by a lake. It’s a white-knuckle tee shot for sure.
No. 15 is an uphill brute of a par 4. My goal was to avoid the series of bunkers along the left side of the fairway. The approach offered plenty of room to the right of the green, as I chose to shy away from the trouble to the left, but the up-and-down from there caused me some difficulties.
On the second par 5 of the Wicked 6, the tee shot on the 16th should find a landing area that slopes gently from right to left. The second shot plays in between two rocky ridges that pinch in from the sides, and over a desert arroyo that cuts across the fairway to a landing area on the other side—what will they think of next? From there, the third shot plays appreciably uphill to an elevated punch bowl green. Based on personal experience, an extra club is recommended to ensure enough carry to reach the putting surface.
An interesting par 3 to say the least, the 17th was designed to play from two separate teeing grounds which are alternated from day to day. The “long” set of tees to the left requires a shot over desert to a mid-sized putting surface on the left side of the dual green. From this angle, the bunker is to the right. The tee shot from the “short” set of elevated tees calls for an iron to a smallish area of the green to the right. From this angle the bunker is on the left. Finally, the dogleg-left No. 18 finish- ing hole plays uphill to a landing area guarded by deep bunkers to the left which must be avoided—at least that’s what you hope happens. Assuming all goes as planned, this sets up a clear shot to the dramatically elevated green complex. Again, might I suggest an extra club or two to get it up to the putting surface. Overall, I have to say that I am more than impressed every time I play it .Without hesitation, I can say this is a course where you want to come back time and again—for the challenging golf, the inviting atmosphere and the upgraded services. For more information, please visit sundridgegolf.