Sedona is easily one of the most scenic destinations in the U.S., if not the world. Add the Grand Canyon to the mix, and this region of Arizona has been enchanting world-wide visitors since the pioneer days. Much has changed since the city first appeared on the map in 1902 – including Sedona Golf Resort – which stands as a fine example of modern luxuries now enjoyed alongside the same sweeping views.
Designed by Gary Panks, the par-71, 6,646-yard golf course at Sedona Golf Resort works its way up, down, through and around some of the most intriguing country on the planet. Panks certainly started with a wonderful piece of ground that he carefully groomed to accentuate natural slopes and plunging arroyos.
The golf course starts out with the uphill par-4 1st hole followed by the dramatic downhill par-3, 2nd. It’s pedal to the metal from there until running into the brutish par-5, 5th which earns its No. 1 handicap rating by playing to 623 yards — uphill.
“At the first tee box you’re playing at about 3,600 feet, and as you continue further into the golf course, you climb up to the high point of the property at about 4,200 feet,” said Jeremy Hayman, General Manager of Sedona Golf Resort. “So, as your round unfolds, the views — and the golf holes — get better and better.”
Holes 8 and 9 keep up the pressure until golfers reach one of the most scenic holes in the game: the par-3, 10th. The layout takes full advantage of an extraordinary red-rock formation in the background. For this reason, it has become one of the most photographed golf holes in the Western U.S. The course then ambles along pleasantly with the par-5 12th and par-4 15th providing most of the challenge before finishing sheepishly, or mercifully, with a couple high handicappers at 17 and 18.
Although the golf course is reason enough to frequent Sedona Golf Resort, that’s just where the fun begins. The clubhouse – overlooking the same wonderful views – is a great place for a post-round beverage. There’s also a palpable air of romance to the setting. Whether tying the knot during an unforgettable ceremony or just tightening it a bit with an intimate dinner, the Juniper Grille sets the stage for passion.
Those who are also passionate about mountain biking will be happy to know that Sedona Golf Resort hosts a one-of-a-kind race and celebration called Sedona Bike & Brew Festival. The second running of the event just wrapped up at the end of August with 106 riders, 200 spectators, and as the name would suggest, several kegs of beer!
“With all the wonderful rides in the Sedona area, mountain biking is a very popular sport around here,” said Hayman. “A great time was had by all this year, including a great turnout from our little riders. We supported a worthy organization and managed to have a lot of fun along the way.”
The six-mile course took riders around all 18 holes, 400 feet of elevation change, and 90 acres of fairways, tee boxes, cart paths. After that, participants were encouraged to enter the short-track race followed by opening-night festivities that featured music, food and cold beer.
The next day, the 6-and-under Junior Division lined up for a 300-yard dash. Two more Junior Divisions followed before the racers in the Women’s Sport Division took a lap. Then it was the men’s turn in the Sport Division to do that same.
Finally, the race for the Men’s Open Division pit the best riders in a two-lap, lung-busting scramble for top honors. Matt Connors followed up his first-place finish last year with third this year; Cody Kukulski moved up from third last year to second; and Alex Petitdemange finished 24 seconds ahead of Kukulski (36 minutes, 11 seconds) for the win.
The event concluded at the Juniper Bar & Grille with an awards ceremony, music and silent auction benefiting the Verde Valley Cyclist Coalition Trail Fund. Four Peaks Brewery & Oak Creek Brewing Company also was onsite pouring a dozen varieties of their local craft beers. Other partners include the Sedona Bike & Bean, Four Peaks Brewery, Oak Creek Brewing Company, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the Sedona Village Business Association, and the Hilton Sedona.
Over the years, Sedona has mystified and mesmerized a host of travelers with its surreal beauty — the kind that must be experienced to be appreciated. If beating the heat for a round of golf isn’t enough of an excuse to drop by, perhaps a fun-filled mountain bike race and beer festival will. For more information, visit SedonaGolfResort.com, SedonaBikeBrew.com or call 928.284.9355 to make a reservation in this one-of-a-kind destination.