SunRidge Canyon Golf Club: A Good Walk

by Jeff Locke

Jeff Lessig, Cindy and Don Misheff

Anyone who has attempted to smack a golf ball with any measure of skill knows the difficulty involved. In fact, sports enthusiasts categorically view the game as one that can never be mastered. Then why suffer the humiliation? Although golf is certainly difficult, there’s an easy answer to that question – it’s the sensation. The sensation of hitting one clean and watching it burst into the air will always trump the sensation of catching one off the toe. Plus, there’s the sensation of simply being on the golf course. Mark Twain called it “a good walk spoiled.” But what he didn’t say is that without golf, there’s no reason to take a “good walk” in the first place. The spoiled part is simply a matter of unrealistic performance expectations. So, check the expectations at the door, and take a moment to learn more about one of the best walks in the Valley of the Sun: SunRidge Canyon Golf Club.

First of all, there’s breaking news. SunRidge Canyon was recently purchased by Don and Cindy Misheff, along with a couple of the key members of the management team. They intend to create a golf club that is much more of an extension of their home than an investment. They’re in it for the love of the game; and as part-time residents, a profound affinity for the area. So, next time you tee it up, say “Hi” to the couple sitting on the patio sipping wine, it’s probably them!

“This is a dream-come-true for us,” said Don Misheff. “Cindy and I visualized this for many years during our springtime visits to the Valley, and we’re now happy to report our long-term commitment to the Fountain Hills community to preserve and even improve the golf experience at SunRidge Canyon.”

Open to public play since 1995, the 6,823-yard, par-71, Keith Foster-designed golf course unfolds around the rugged ridges and shady canyons unique to the eastern slope of the McDowell Mountains in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Golfers begin their adventure at the upper mouth of one of these canyons, which descends gradually on the way out before doubling back to climb back up the slope on the way in. This subtle, but unmistakable, elevation change lies at the heart of the dramatic golf experience at SunRidge Canyon.

During the round, golfers also discover that SunRidge Canyon wasn’t so much created by a bulldozer as it was carved out by the relentless pressure of wind and water over eons. Foster had the good sense to follow Mother Nature’s lead, and in the end, the beauty and challenge of SunRidge Canyon is unlike any other desert golf course in the Valley.

Speaking of challenge, SunRidge Canyon has it in spades, and although the first and third handicapped holes are on the front nine, it’s the back nine which tends to make golfers tap out. Holes 13, 15, 16 and 18, in particular, require careful consideration in addition to well-struck shots. In fact, one could make a case that this quartet represents the most difficult and scenic set of holes in the Valley. They all play uphill; making length a key component to success, but here’s a tip: choose the appropriate tees at the beginning of the round to bring these four brutes within striking distance at the end of the round.

After a wonderful experience on the golf course, SunRidge Canyon’s Spanish hacienda-style clubhouse provides a fitting place to tally up the scorecard over a cold beverage. With large expanses of glass that open to a spacious patio perched above a babbling water feature, guests enjoy the sights and sounds of Arizona’s unique indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Stunning views of Four Peaks and Superstition Mountains frame the background, while stylish Sonoran Desert landscaping adorns the foreground. In addition to post-round libations, the clubhouse is a great place for weddings, receptions, awards banquets or any type of special event. The professional event staff takes pride in not only meeting, but exceeding the guest’s expectations. It’s a fire-and-forget operation that allows guests to relax and enjoy that special day without worrying about details.

With a slew of golf courses to choose from Valley-wide, there’s a golf experience out there for every type of golfer. SunRidge Canyon just happens to belong to that rare category of golf experiences which combines the finest elements into one package. There’s natural beauty, attentive service, exceptional conditions, stylish facilities and strategic challenges all at a fair price. For most, that’d be enough, but SunRidge Canyon Golf Club also boasts one of the most important intangible features enjoyed by all golfers: it’s a “good walk.” Maybe even a great walk. One that Mark Twain himself would be hard pressed to “spoil” with a sizzling snap-hook or a banana ball drifting O.B. 

To book a tee time or for more information call 480.837.5100, or visit