Sand Canyon has had a tough time of it recently. It was known as Robinson Ranch, home to 36 holes of mountain and canyon golf that was knocked off its perch due to one of California's recent wildfires. Thankfully a new owner thought it was worthwhile to resuscitate the course making it a 27 hole course divided into Mountain, Desert and Valley.
I played the Desert and Valley courses, which is apparently the preferred routing from everyone I spoke to. As you can see, the course is a bit tight, there are definite choke points off the tee and the scrub is very scrubby. Apparently Mountain has this is spades along with rolling topography and the Desert and Valley are a bit more mellow.
What Sand Canyon is doing is the vanguard of desert golf in the American Southwest in the near future. The course is all about the minimum amount of turf, with everything else being allowed to brown out or be scrubified. Exhibit A is this par 3 below, only the tee pads and green are green.
Sand Canyon reminded me a lot of Moorpark Country Club and Silver Oak in Nevada as both force driver out of your hand on several holes given that washes and drainage are nestled right in landing zones. My driver was working well so I took on these features a few times but for the most part, was content hitting fairway woods and irons on several holes.
My favorite hole on the Valley 9 was the ninth hole featuring a tree right in the middle of the landing zone with the hole leading up to the clubhouse. I loved this hole!
The "back 9" was the Desert 9 and it offers more of the same, tight holes, forced carries, etc., just on slightly flatter terrain. It has a real Scottsdale vibe to it.
2 great things about Sand Canyon were the mountain views and also the pace of play. We were so spoiled with the pace of play on the front side that we were grumbling when we came in at 2:15 on the back which I suspect most public golfers would take.
The downside for Sand Canyon is that because of the routing, it is really a target course when it doesn't need to be. Cut the course to 18 holes tighten up the routing, take out the trees to really open it up to the desert and then you are talking.
Overall the course is in good shape and with each course making its way up to the clubhouse it is a nice way to close out a round at SCCC.
For more information about Sand Canyon check out the link: https://www.sandcanyoncc.com/