New ownership and Jim McLean Academy gives new life to SunRidge Canyon Golf Club

By Travel ArticlesMarch 21, 2012, 7:26 pm

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. -- SunRidge Canyon Golf Club opened back in 1995, but in the spring of 2012, it feels like the Scottsdale golf scene's shiny new kid again.

New ownership, a fresh commitment and some star power are helping to put this golf course back into the mix in terms of the Valley of the Sun's top must-play courses.

At the end of 2010, the club was purchased by Don and Cindy Misheff, and it appears to have fallen into the right hands. Don is a U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier and a chairman at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. He has a serious passion for golf, and together with his wife, who describes herself as more of a 'nine and wine' golfer, he has big aspirations to make SunRidge Canyon stand apart from its neighbors.

'We're going to do whatever it takes to make this a special golf hangout,' Don said. The plan starts with teaming up with General Manager Jeff Lessig to produce firm and fast course conditions that are as good as any course in the area.

Another major development was the announcement in the fall of 2011 by Jim McLean that he would open an academy at SunRidge Canyon, his only facility in Arizona. A new teaching building is being constructed on the range this spring, and the academy will accommodate both members and extended stay-and-learn golf schools.

But some little details will be added to enhance the 'hangout' vibe. More TVs, an outdoor bar and heightened service will all be implemented. From the clubhouse's elevated perch above the course and looking back east, sunrise views will rival any clubhouse in town.

The Misheffs, who have had a house above the club's driving range for years, will now be looking down on their new project with a more watchful eye.

'We always wanted a family business we thought we could turn around,' said Don. 'And we think we can do something special here.'

SunRidge Canyon: The golf course


Any truly great hangout needs a golf course that locals and snowbirds alike will want to play again and again. SunRidge Canyon presents the scenery for visiting golfers to the desert while providing great hole variety for locals. It's a highly unique desert design by Keith Foster, highlighted by the 'Wicked Six,' a demanding closing stretch of holes that demands real game to score on.

From the first tee, the course routing is a complete circle that starts from the clubhouse on high ground and tumbles down the mountain with a succession of holes that will afford some real birdie opportunities. The first hole, at just 318 yards downhill, encourages aggressive play immediately.

But what goes down must come back up, and the course begins to head back up on the back nine. There are a few breaks from uphill shots, such as the picturesque, par-3 14th hole that is a delicate shot from an elevated tee over a small pond that also defends the 13th hole.

While the 14th is short and sweet, the par-3 17th is bold and long: a 200-plus-yard shot over canyon to the green that sits beside rock formations. An added design feature is alternate tee-box locations -- one located far to the left of the other, almost creating a 90-degree angle. The closing hole, a par 4 up to 432 yards long, requires an uphill approach shot that plays to the west, which could mean many days with wind in your face -- a suitable final exam for anyone attending the McLean Academy.

Stay and play in Scottsdale: CopperWynd Resort & Club

SunRidge Canyon partners with CopperWynd Resort & Club, located just up the street from the golf club. This resort has a full-service spa and fitness center, tennis courts and swimming pools. Golf packages, as well as extended instruction packages through the McLean school, are available.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.