Seven Canyons lies in a stunning setting on the central Arizona plateau in the middle of Sedona's red rock landscape where its location has been described by one commentator as “like playing classic golf in the basin of the Grand Canyon.”
Opened in 2003, Seven Canyons is one of the best new designs to have come out of the Copper State in recent years – and there have been plenty of very good ones to choose from – so credit to Tom Weiskopf for creating such a wonderful layout, despite the course having to compete for attention with its dramatic backdrop!
In actual fact, mention must also be made of Ken Kavanaugh, the Tuscon-based designer, who was the person actually responsible for the construction drawings for the course. New property developers stepped in when the project changed ownership to turn the site into a more up market residential complex, and Ken made way for the former Open Champion to complete the 18-hole layout.
It may be surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of protected landform in the shape of the Coconino National Forest and Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness but the property itself extends to only around 200 acres, which is a relatively small parcel of land when including real estate in a golf course routed over such tortuous terrain so again, well done to Messrs Kavanaugh and Weiskopf for keeping the fairways free from housing.Sitting at 4,500 feet above sea level, with around another 300 feet in elevation change over its 6,746-yard length, the course plays to a par of 70. Big hitters will be forced to lay up a lot off the tees as many of the fairways have narrow landing areas. And with smallish greens placing a premium on accurate approach play, Seven Canyons is a course for shot-makers from start to finish.
A very scenic location with golf located on it. That's the summary of what Seven Canyons is about. The sum total of the holes is a fairly rudimentary design that doesn't strike the memorability meter in a lasting manner.
Tom Weiskopf's motif as an architect has been playability and Seven Canyons clearly provides that. But, the nature of the design leans more towards the pedestrian than the thought provoking. For Weiskopf devotees there's plenty in his design career that clearly has made a clear difference.
Seven Canyons includes the stock Weiskopf additions -- but it represents more of a copy than truly being something that's cutting edge. A pity.
M. James Ward