img_2266Today’s outing was to the Dinosaur Course at Gold Canyon Golf Resort. About a 45 min drive from The Talking Stick Resort where we are staying it is well worth the drive. Par 70, 6,323 yards off the Black tees, and for my American golfing friends, a Course Rating of 69.2 and a Slope Rating of 135.

I’ve written before about the USGA Slope Rating system in the US and what it’s supposed to do to level out handicaps. Take for example my 7.3 handicap. On the course I played today the USGA Course Handicap Calculator gives me a handicap of 9. I’ll take that any day ;-)

I shot a 78 with a two birdies on the 16th and 17th – putting in from the fringe on 16 and holing a 25 yard bunker shot on 17! So we can call it one over or one under my handicap depending on which handicap we talking about!

It was into the men’s room as soon as we’d dropped off our bags (which were given a quick wipe and put on our cart (buggy) and on went the factor 50 sun cream.

So what of the course? It was fabulous. Although the course is only about 1,400-1,600 ft above sea level, when it’s 100 deg F the ball is going to go further and one of the most difficult things for me was picking what club to hit when playing my irons. For example, my 8 iron carried 170 yards down wind, downhill on one hole and barely 135 yards on another.

One thing, if you are not straight off the tee, make sure you bring lots of balls. If you miss the fair way on a desert golf course you are only going to find your ball less than 50% of the time I reckon and when you do find it, it will be surrounded by stones so you play it at the risk of damaging your clubs. Gold Canyon has a local rule that allows you to drop the ball where it last crossed the edge of the fairway for just a one shot penalty…very nice of them!

The course goes up and then goes down, it meanders round a few houses but equally gives you fantastic views of the mountains to the east of the course. It was truly beautiful.

The most difficult hole must be the par 3 14th. 201 yards from the Black tee but it drops around 50+ feet to a steeply sloping back-to-front green and into the wind. Need any more information!!! The stroke index was 6, but it plays much harder than that I suspect.

I’d definitely go back and play the course on another visit.

We popped into the bar after the round for a quick drink. Seemed like a perfectly nice place to hang out after you’ve played.

Any gripes? Not really. I could moan about the lack of a locker room to have a shower afterwards and wash off the dust & the grime, but that’s just not the “US way” at public golf courses, they never have locker rooms, they just don’t.

There is a second course at the same place called Sidewinder. Par 71, 6,144 yards off the Black tees, you can tell it’s a little easier. It looks a LOT easier when you look at it. No real elevation changes and pretty wide fairways. Not sure we’ll go back and play it though, too many other beautiful courses in the area.