All posts by Jason

Seven Canyons Golf Club – Sedona, Arizona

Seven Canyons is an 18 hole golf and country club located in Sedona, Arizona. While most come to Sedona for the hiking and to have their aura photographed, there are a handful of golf courses to check out. Is Seven Canyons worth the trip? Read on to find out!

Practice Facilities – A

Yes Allen, we are talking about practice. And it’s spectacular.

Me personally, I am always up to spend time on the range. Whether it’s working on my swing, chipping around the short game area, or just killing time, I just love practicing my game. I don’t care where the range is. For those who don’t actually enjoy practice however, the range at Seven Canyons might just change your mind. Flanked on all sides by the red rocks, you’ll probably want to gaze around rather than swinging the golf club. I can’t imagine this being my home club and spending every day here.

Course Conditions – A

My biggest fear coming into the day was that I’d find Seven Canyons to be overwatered and soft in an attempt to make everything as green as possible. Thankfully this fear was unfounded when one of the first comments made in our group was how fast the course played. In addition to the dry air and 4,400 foot elevation, the course plays firm and fast, just as I had hoped.

Layout – A

Looking at photos of the course prior to my visit, I knew that there would be no shortage of eye candy at Seven Canyons. In fact, I really didn’t have have much in the way of expectations as far as the architecture went. I’m happy to report that not only was the layout exceptional, it was one of the most fun rounds of golf I’ve played quite a while.

What makes a golf course fun to play? My quick litmus test is how quickly I want to go play the course again. What made Seven Canyons so much fun is its playability and how many times it forced me to think, rather than just rip driver down the middle.

Perhaps my favorite example of this is the par 4 13th hole which plays a stout 462 yards from the men’s tees. Standing on the tee you’ll see a large tree in the left side of the fairway, just before the hole doglegs left. From this perspective, aiming left of the tree seems like a sucker’s bet; the slightest pull will likely mean a lost ball. Going the conservative route I played a perfect fade into the middle of the fairway, to the right of the aforementioned tree. When I got to my ball I was greeted with a 190 yard uphill approach to the green. Had I played out to the left or drawn my tee shot I’d have been left with at least a 30 yard shorter approach. While I’m not sure how I’d play the hole next time, it will definitely cause me to stop and think.

Seven Canyons Golf Club 13th hole
Down here it becomes much clearer that the play off the tee on the 13th is the left side of the fairway

Overall Grade – A

When I was making my itinerary for Sedona, I hesitated a bit on whether or not to play Seven Canyons. The cost was quite a bit more than the other courses in town. Looking back, would I spend the $$$ again? I would without a doubt. Not only was the course absolutely gorgeous, I had a blast and the service was phenomenal. If you’re lucky enough to secure a tee time here, don’t hesitate, it’s worth every penny as far as I’m concerned.

Seven Canyons Golf Club 12th hole
The drivable 12th hole at Seven Canyons

Birdies (or little things the course does right)

  • Even though the course is private, there is still GPS on all the golf carts.
  • If you want food or drink don’t wait for the beverage cart. Just call the clubhouse and they’ll bring whatever you want out to you.
  • Aside from a bit of a trek from the 7th hole to the 8th tee, the course is quite walkable.

Bogies (or room for improvement)

  • The practice area, while beautiful, is set quite far away from the first tee. Unless you’re up for quite a walk, you’d probably want to take a cart to it.
  • Except for those staying at the nearby Enchantment Resort, Seven Canyons is private and not cheap. Call the golf shop for an update on current rates.
Seven Canyons Golf Club 6th Hole
The 6th at Seven Canyons is a short par four at just 310 from the men’s tees

If you liked the photography in this post, click here to go to my website to view the full resolution images. All photos are available as prints or if you need them for marketing purposes please contact me.

And don’t forget to tell your golfing friends about Digital Fairways!

Marquette Golf Club – Greywalls Course

My trip to Greywalls was not only my first trip to Marquette, it was my first visit to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In some ways, the UP as it’s often referred to, feels like a completely different country. Maybe it’s because it’s so remote. It could also be because much like I find in Canada, everyone I met could not have been more welcoming. Another factor was some of the relatively unique conversations I overheard. For example, two friends meeting in a local restaurant were discussing their anticipation for the snow to arrive so they could start snowmobiling. Seems like a perfectly reasonable conversation…until one factors in that this conversation took place in early August. I also heard locals waxing poetically about a coed hockey tournament named the Ball and Chain that had to be canceled due to excessive alcohol consumption.

2nd Hole Greywalls Golf Course Marquette Golf Club
Looking back on the 2nd Hole

While visiting the U.P. is like visiting a foreign land, navigating to the Greywalls course is also like entering its own little world. When you drive into the Marquette Golf Club you’ll wind through the original course there, the Heritage, which is a great course in its own right, but a traditional layout on relatively benign terrain. After parking and checking in at the pro shop, you’ll drive five minutes or so to the first tee. On the way there, you’ll see a handful of holes from the Greywalls course and it quickly becomes evident that this course is nothing like its sister course, or like any other course you’ve seen. After winding through the forest and arriving at the first tee, you’ll look down the fairway to see Lake Superior several miles in the distance. While lake views are always nice, they are not the main attraction at Greywalls. The golf is so spectacular that it’s possible (though not likely) that one could play the entire round and not even notice the largest freshwater lake in the world out in front of them.

Sound like a spot worth visiting? Read on for more of the details.

Layout – A+

The terrain on the front nine is best described as “rugged.” With Lake Superior gleaning several miles in the distance, you’ll play through the forest, around huge rock formations, and up and down several large hills. The back nine calms down a bit is a bit more rolling in nature, as opposed to what feels like a roller coaster ride on much of the front.

If this has made it sound like the course is too difficult, I wouldn’t fear. By no means is the course easy; it feels like the type of track that will challenge the accomplished player but won’t beat up most novices. It’s fairly open off the tee plus there are multiple sets of tees to accommodate those who don’t hit it a mile.

6nd Hole Greywalls Golf Course Marquette Golf Club
The view from the tee on the par 3 6th hole

Part of what makes Greywalls so spectacular is the natural feeling of the golf course. Many modern layouts might look spectacular but aren’t at all natural and are surrounded by houses that take away from the experience. Not only do you feel removed from the rest of the world while playing Greywalls, the course simply feels natural; almost like it was meant to be there. While the terrain is crazy in spots, you’d never say it was tricked up. Even though the two courses couldn’t be different in many ways, Greywalls reminds me a lot of Royal Dornoch. Both tracks are built on terrain so gorgeous that I’d enjoy walking them even if I wasn’t playing golf. You’ll just look around in amazement many times throughout the round.

Another aspect of the layout that I enjoyed a great deal were the tee shots on many of the holes. While most of them are fairly straightaway, there are still choices to be made from the tee. The fairways are generally wide enough that you can just aim down the middle, but playing the course multiple times gives you a better appreciation for the number of strategic choices available to more aggressively attack the hole.

The 11th hole (pictured below) is a perfect example of this with its bunkering. I’m still not sure the best way to attack this hole, which in most cases would frustrate me, but the 11th is just a fun hole to play. In many ways it’s like a puzzle, there is just as much satisfaction in the process of solving it as there is the final result. I’ve rarely been one to play multiple balls on a golf hole, but the 11th at Greywalls makes me want to experiment and tinker until I figure it out.

11th Hole Greywalls Golf Course Marquette Golf Club
One of my favorite tee shots on the golf course

Practice Facilities – A-

Marquette Golf Club has both a driving range as well as a short game area. Neither is gargantuan or what anyone would call “tour quality”, but both are perfectly fine to get warmed up before one’s round.

Course Conditions – A

My first time playing Greywalls was the day after several inches of rain fell the prior day, overnight, and then into the next morning. It rained so much that not only was the morning round canceled because it was still pouring outside, I thought for sure the scheduled afternoon round would be impossible to play.

Thankfully for us, it stopped raining around 10 am. I still assumed our 2 pm round was in jeopardy due to the sheer amount of rain that had fallen. Not only did we play as scheduled, there was practically no evidence of the downpours that had deluged the area overnight and into the next morning.

 As should be evidenced by my photos, the course conditions themselves are simply gorgeous. Craig Moore and his staff do an amazing job of keeping the course in tiptop shape. I am hard-pressed to find anything about the conditions to complain about.

Value – B+

As of 2017, the in-season rate for 18 holes and a cart was $130. While not exactly cheap, Greywalls compares favorably to other high-end public courses in Michigan such as Arcadia Bluffs at $190 and Forest Dunes at $149. The best value at Greywalls probably comes from the $50 replay rate because you’ll definitely want to go around this track again.

Rainbow at Greywalls Golf Course
One of the perks of playing just after the rains

Overall Grade – A

In case it’s not abundantly clear, I am a huge fan of Greywalls. While I usually like to give my Birdies and Bogies to each course I rate to highlight the good parts of a course and nitpick about details. In this case, I think it would be a disservice to my review. What the facility does right offers a fantastic routing on an amazing piece of land. Everyone that I interacted with couldn’t have been nicer. It’s just a fantastic experience on every level and I can’t wait to get back there, hopefully sooner rather than later.

9th Hole at Greywalls Golf Course
At the 9th, taking on the bunker on the left makes for much easier approach, while bailing out right makes for a well-earned GIR.
If you liked the photography in this post, click here to go to my website to view the full resolution images. All photos are available as prints or contact me for usage rights.

Bonita Bay Club – Cypress Course

Bonita Bay East Cypress Course

If you’re looking to get a taste of the private club experience in Naples, Florida, buy yourself a South Florida PGA pass and check out Bonita Bay Club. You will not be disappointed.


 

If you liked the photography in this post, click here to go to my website to view the full resolution images. All photos are available as prints or just enjoy the site.

And don’t forget to tell your golfing friends about Digital Fairways!