Desert Canyon Golf Club - A Unique Tradition in Fountain Hills

Blending its colorful past as the first ever golf course in the town of Fountain Hills circa 1971 with a recently completed renovation project highlighted by a new state-of-the art irriga tion system designed to keep the course colorful for years to come, Desert Canyon Golf Club is proud of its tradition and fired up about the future.

Voted as the No. 1 public golf course in Fountain Hills and Fort McDowell for five consecutive years (2005-09) by Market Survey of America and hailed by Golf Digest as a 2008 “Must Play” course in a nationwide survey the par-71 Desert Canyon Golf Club is an atypical player-friendly desert layout that has become a local institution among golfers in the know.

Desert Canyon Golf Club

Straying from what is almost always expected from a desert golf course, Desert Canyon delivers a unique look and feel by mixing more traditional desert terrain with mature trees and wide open fairways. The course winds its way through wonderful desert topography, up and down the natural arroyos and canyons that occur only in the Sonoran Desert. With its elevated tees, challenging doglegs and a variety of elevation changes, Desert Canyon is a course you will never forget.

Desert Canyon is inhabited by cotton-woods, mesquite trees and flowering bushes that have matured quite nicely since the course opened nearly 40 years ago. This established vegetation is something that you’re likely to notice the minute you step foot on the golf course and a feature that newer courses in the area just don’t offer.

Overall, golfers will find tremendous variety in the shaping and routing of the holes at Desert Canyon. Five holes bend to the right, while four others are left doglegs.

Desert Canyon Golf Club

The par-5 fourth hole is a classic short par 5 with many options available to the birdie seeker. The ninth hole provides a stern test for all. Playing uphill and into the prevailing wind, making par is always something to brag about.

Two of the layout’s par 3s are challenging blind uphill tee shots, while the signature par 3 16th hole drops a remarkable 150 feet to the green and is skirted by an assortment of bunkers.

Desert Canyon pays homage to the great Scottish courses with a deep green-side bunker fronting No. 17; players will have to tread carefully to dig out from the depths if they find themselves peering out over the lip of this treacherous hazard.

With dramatic panoramic views of spectacular Red Mountain, the Four Peaks, Superstition Mountain and the world’s 4th tallest fountain, Desert Canyon is truly a unique golf experience.

The staff at Desert Canyon truly believes the new and improved irrigation system is the missing piece of the puzzle that will align the course with Arizona’s elite.

Desert Canyon Golf Club

The refurbishment undertaken at Desert Canyon, which began in late 2008, included the replacement of 1,600 sprinkler heads and four miles of main line irrigation piping. The expansion of the manmade lake near No. 1, which serves as the facility’s water reservoir, new controllers and valves and a new pump station with four engines complete the project. The cost of this overhaul was more than $1.5 million - a significant investment to ensure that locals and out-of-town travelers would enjoy the perfect golf experience.

Enhancements resulting from the rejuvenation effort will be noticeable during and between shots.

A Fountain Hills Original

While Desert Canyon Golf Club hopes to continue its tradition of providing golfers with a well-maintained and enjoyable golf course by modernizing the way it waters, the town of Fountain Hills made a name for itself by designing a device that spewed water skyward like no other built before it.

Shortly prior to John Allen constructing what was then a nine-hole golf course known as Fountain Hills Country Club, the young town of Fountain Hills hired Robert P. McCulloch to build a high-powered fountain it hoped would bring it instant recognition.

The idea worked, and at the time the fountain, which can reach up to 560 feet when all of its working parts are operating under optimum conditions, was the world’s tallest. The fountain held the record for more than a decade, and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Today, it still holds the honor of being the tallest continually running fountain.

Opened in 1971, Desert Canyon has the distinction of being the first golf course in Fountain Hills. The original Fountain Hills Country Club was opened with the intention of luring people who wanted to buy land right next to a beautiful piece of property to the town.

Desert Canyon Golf Club

Ten years ago the facility became the public, Desert Canyon. Over the course of the decade, the golf course carved out a unique niche in Fountain Hills, which is also home to four upscale public golf courses.

That difference in playability is what separates Desert Canyon from the pack and gives the course a higher retention rate than its competitors.

At 6,489 yards with a reasonable rating/slope of 69.9/125 from the farthest set of tees, Desert Canyon manages to be a challenging test without being unmanageable for the high or mid-handicapper.

The landscape is highlighted by water, views of one of the most unique mountains in Arizona, Red Mountain, rustic desert washes and arroyos, magnificently manicured Bermuda greens and a bevy of elevation changes, rather atypical for desert golf. In fact, the rising and falling nature of the topography necessitated a more modernized irrigation system.

“They’ll (golfers) see improvement with the correct amount of water to every spot and everything will be green,” said Karl Boettcher, long-time general manager at Desert Canyon Golf Club. “The improvements will have a visual impact and an impact on the quality of golf. ”

For more information about Desert Canyon Golf Club, visit or call (480) 837-1173.


Please Share