If you’re looking for a pleasant round of golf in the Phoenix area on a track that’s well-manicured and boasts a very welcoming staff you don’t want to miss Gold Canyon Resort’s Sidewinder course.
The generous fairways on this 18-hole par 72 took my son, Wes, me on a delightful tour of the desert, treated us to some roadrunners, some quail, and several bunnies (not jackrabbits). But be warned: if you venture beyond the short grass you’ll find trouble. The rough is very manageable, but beyond the rough the waste areas are peppered with native flora and rocky outcrops and can present some big challenges to getting back in the short grass.
The greens are fast and they’re complicated enough to give golfers who boast about their skill with their flat sticks some real headaches. But if you sharpen up your lag putting you should be able to finish the round in under 30 putts.
The par-3s were giving up birdies when Wes and I played Sidewinder, but we agreed that our favorite hole was the par-4 8th. There’s a gnarly old cedar right in the middle of the fairway that was just beyond my reach driving from the red tees — sort of a southwestern version of the Eisenhower Tree at Augusta National. I hit that tree on my 2nd shot, got a lucky bounce forward and to the left, easily made the green and got up and down for par! Don’t let the tree scare you.
I give Gold Canyon’s Sidewinder 2-thumbs up. Pace of play was perfect, the cart GPS system took care of most of the usual questions associated with playing a new course, and from the bag boys to the starter to the marshals to the drink cart driver, the staff was helpful and friendly and made us feel right at home.