Arizona Golf Courses — Pine Canyon Golf Club
Flagstaff is known for having some pretty awesome private clubs and this one, surrounded by Coconino National Forest, definitely ranks among the finest in the state. Pine Canyon was one of the last courses designed by Jay Morrish before his retirement. When you visit you’ll see he certainly saved some of his best for last.
Pine Canyon Golf Club’s tag line calls it the place “where upscale meets down to earth” and that is apropos for this facility that rests at about 7,000 feet of elevation with the impressive San Francisco Peaks providing a stunning backdrop.
Combine that with an award-winning clubhouse, soaring pine forests and aspen trees, seven ponds and lakes, numerous winding streams, generous fairways, six-to-10 tee boxes on each hole and lush bent-grass greens and you’ve got a truly memorable golf experience.
From the tips, it plays at 7,272 yards and is rated at 73.1 with a slope of 133. While it has plenty of challenges and hazards, especially from the back tees, Morrish made this a player-friendly layout with open landing areas in the fairways and open-entry greens like those found on links courses.
“It certainly isn’t Scotland, but I’ve always liked that type of golf where you can hit knockdown shots and run your ball up to the green,” Morrish said. “I think you need to give golfers options to play a variety of shots.”
There are so many good holes and postcard views at Pine Canyon, which opened in 2004, that it’s tough to pick a signature, but many would choose the 18th. The downhill dogleg par 4 plays at 487 yards from the tips to a green with a pond along the front and right side. A large lake stands behind the green with San Francisco Peaks in the background.
The entire back nine is a delight, starting with the 10th hole, a 435-yard par 4 that has a lake wrapping around the right side of the green, a creek cutting across in front, four bunkers surrounding the back and a fairway that slopes toward the water.
Next up is a 152-yard par 3 to a peninsula green, and then the 12th, named “High Five”, a risk-reward 548-yard par 5 with a long sweeping dogleg right where cutting the corner is tempting but only the longest of hitters dare try.
No. 16 also gets votes for “signature” honors. It is a 595-yard par 5 with a double dogleg, Dawson’s Creek running down the left side and a lake on the right with another stream cutting across the front of the green and wrapping around the left.
Once your last putt drops, you can actually fish for trout in the lake behind the 18th hole or you can head to the 19th hole, aptly named “Double or Nothing” to settle your final bets.
Along with its captivating course, Pine Canyon has an award-winning 35,000-square-foot clubhouse with gourmet dining, outdoor dining, whirlpools, a steam room, health and fitness facility and a full-service spa that offers manicures and massages.
Pine Canyon also has its own trail system and it’s just two miles to historic Walnut Canyon where Sinagua Indians built their dwellings into the cliff faces over 800 years ago; in 1915 it was declared a national monument. It’s worth the short drive to see the remnants of this remarkable feat.