Golf architect Jay Morrish rarely ventured outside his native USA on commissions, creating a couple of courses in Canada, a handful in Japan and, of course (along with Tom Weiskopf) he was responsible for the design of Loch Lomond in Scotland, his only European venture.
Within America, though, Morrish was involved in designing more than 60 courses, with more than a dozen of those located in Arizona. More specifically, he has laid out several of the Copper State’s top residential courses, such as The Rim at Payson, Forest Highlands in Flagstaff and here at Stone Canyon, Oro Valley.
This spectacular desert course is situated between Catalina State Park and Tortolita Mountain Park to the north of Tucson, and its elevated tees, lush fairways and testing greens extend to a tight 70 acres, routed around stone outcrops and canyons flanked by towering saguaro cactus plants.
Hole 10 is a favourite of many members, almost a double dogleg with a wide landing area that funnels to a tighter approach around a lake to the green. The best hole is kept until last, though, with the long par four 18th played from a tee high above a split fairway, resulting in a very satisfying long hang time for a well struck drive en route to the 18th green.
The 1,400-acre Stone Canyon property was purchased in 2014 by Phil Mickelson and is now one of five layouts (including The Rim) in the Mickelson Private Golf collection. Since the acquisition, a new clubhouse has been constructed and there are future plans to re-lay the greens.