Stone Canyon Club is a hidden gem nestled against the Tortolita Mountains in the flourishing Town of Oro Valley, just Northwest of Tucson, Arizona. This private residential golf community boasts over 1,400 acres of breathtaking land and is highlighted by a Jay Morrish designed world-class golf course. Stone Canyon is the only golf course in the greater Tucson area ever to be ranked in the TOP 100 golf courses in America according to Golf Digest.
The playing corridors are generous though severely wayward shots will result in donating a ball to the extreme desert terrain. Conditioning is clearly a large point of emphasis at Stone Canyon as the course is as finely manicured as any you’ll come across in the Southwest desert; not just in terms of the healthy turf but also with general grooming of the surrounding desert landscaping.
The 1,400-acre Stone Canyon property was purchased in 2014 by Phil Mickelson and is now one of five layouts (including The Rim) in the Mickelson Private Golf collection. Since the acquisition, a new clubhouse has been constructed and there are future plans to relay the greens.
Signature hole at Canyon Club
6th Hole – 145 Yard Par 3 – It is no coincidence that the most expensive hole to build at Stone Canyon is also its signature. The reportedly $2 million dollar hole features an elevated green framed by a pond in the front that is fed by a series of rock waterfalls that start on the left and cascade down. Boulders and mature saguaro cactus’ canvas the hill on the right side of the green as a reminder that you are still in the Arizona desert. The front of the green slopes steeply towards a large bunker thus putting a premium on taking enough club to reach the middle of the putting surface with your tee shot. There is more room in the back of the green then you can see, so if you are between clubs it is best to take the longer of the two. It is certainly a memorable and enjoyable hole to play.
Hole 10th is a favorite of many members. The opening hole on the back nine features the largest water hazard on the property and is just ten yards shy of being the longest hole on the course. This double dogleg dares you to cut the first corner off the tee due to the significant drop in elevation and huge advantage it offers. A small collection of rocks and trees paired with a bunker squeeze down the fairway to a needle hole width thus forcing players to either play over them while laying up to the second dogleg or rip your approach over the water directly to the green. If going for the green in two, a significant amount of green depth is offered to work with but not a ton of width. The 10th hole offers options while still demanding proper positioning and execution from tee to green.
The best par 4 is kept until last, though, with the long par four 18th played from a tee high above a split fairway, resulting in a very satisfying long hang time for a well struck drive en route to the 18th green.
Note that golf architect Jay Morrish rarely ventured outside his native USA on commissions, creating a couple of courses in Canada, a handful in Japan and, of course (along with Tom Weiskopf) he was responsible for the design of Loch Lomond in Scotland.