FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- As first impressions go, Pine Canyon wows any golfer who gets inside the gates.
At the bag drop, players are greeted not only by staff from operator Troon Golf, but a statue of a young boy wearing knickers and a cap and carrying his bag. The nearby fountain he's standing next to leads to others. The sound of falling water intensifies as golfers walk up the stairs to the main 35,000-square-foot clubhouse on the left or the men's locker room on the right. The tiered outdoor patio that separates the two reveals a stunning view. The island green below, surrounded by water and magnificent stone, is for the 19th hole.
It's easy to see why Pine Canyon remains one of the most exclusive private clubs and master-planned golf communities in Arizona. Pine Canyon is a 620-acre development of Symmetry Companies, a residential and lifestyle company committed to offering premium, resort-influenced amenities and first-class hospitality.
Pine Canyon, located adjacent to the Coconino National Forest, is anchored by a strikingly beautiful Jay Morrish-designed golf course.
Elevation climbs and drops are common on the 7,272-yard course. So are backdrops of the San Francisco Peaks. The broad fairways sweep through Ponderosa pines, giving the course a mountainous feel at 7,000 feet of elevation. It's distinctly different experience than playing the desert courses so common throughout the rest of the state.
Water comes into play on only five holes, although each time it's dramatic. The first seven holes are dry. Water surrounds three sides of the 11th green, a 152-yard par 3. The par-5 16th hole boomerangs left off of a pond with a creek crossing the fairway closer to the green. The elevated 18th tee box hits the highest note, overlooking the pond near the 18th green and the clubhouse with the mountain peaks looming overhead. The 18th fairway is so steep that it's used by the club as a sledding hill when the snow flies come winter.
After the round, male golfers should take advantage of the men's locker room, a certifiable "man cave" where sports, drinks and golf chatter are the modus operandi. Any day at Pine Canyon will be memorable.