Multi-hued rock formations vertical from the high desert floor depict a hypnotizing landscape that changes color with the light. Perhaps the most breathtaking vistas in the entire Southwest astonish us in the canyons near Sedona, Arizona. With almost 2 million acres of national forest, Sedona is a sanctuary for hiking, biking, and “jeeping” among the red-rock pinnacles, arches, walls and cliffs. Our last visit to Sedona was eons ago. Normally open year round, the heavy rain of the recent Sedona winter season delayed our visit.
Carved through the canyon floors is the magnificent Seven Canyons Golf Club sporting 360-degree views that take your breath away. Only 20 minutes from the village center, yet Seven Canyons feels remote. We stayed at the only lodge nearby, the 70-acre world class Enchantment Resort which presents a quiet, relaxing immersion experience for both the body and the mind. Sporting panoramic views of the red rocks and mesmerizing sunsets, guests enjoy access to the members only course.
Seven Canyons Golf Club
At 4700 feet elevation, Seven Canyons averages ten to twelve degrees cooler than Phoenix two hours to the south. At this altitude pine trees, including some towering Ponderosas, flourish side-by-side with the desert flora in this vegetative transition zone. “We’re part of the largest continuous scott pine forest in the nation” remarked Dave Bisbee, Director of Golf, longtime PGA member, a golf aficionado and industry luminary. A 200-acre island circled by the Coconino National Forest, architect Tom Weiskopf sculpted the holes on a broad scale to boost the impact of the panoramic vistas.
Weiskopf’s layout takes advantage of the rolling terrain and abundant trees to mislead the proper tee shot target line on many holes. Hence, the best starting line may differ from expectation. Bunkers are targets, either short or long, hence the driver is not always the right choice. Yet, this desert courses sets up much like a links course allowing running shots up to many greens. Hence, most would call this a heathland course.
Fairways are a bluegrass/rye mixture and the well-manicured greens are a Penn A-4 creeping bentgrass.
A hole that stands out for members and visitors alike, number 3 is a 154-yard par 3 from an elevated tee. The short carry to reach the green is not great considering the elevation, but the menacing bunkers in front and the panoramic views of the surrounding red rock formations are enough to distract even the most focused player from the task at hand.
Water borders the right side of the 310-yard par 4 sixth, a picturesque hole that’s a good birdie opportunity if you stay left. The following hole, number seven, is a wonderful 178-yard par 3 over water. Get through these two and you’re finished with water. Now enjoy the mesmerizing scenery.
Holes eleven and twelve stand out for me. They are short back-to-back par fours. Eleven is straightaway uphill 330-yard hole with a devilish blind green sloping away and framed by red rock cliffs in the distance. The 285-yard par 4 twelfth is another favorite that sets up an attractive risk/reward tradeoff. Two fairways are evident from the tee, bisected by two center bunkers. If you opt for the tiny grass patch on the left side, you have a short pitch or putt to the green setting up an easy birdie.
There are other courses in the area, but this is the quintessential golf in Sedona.
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