I walked in to Lost Canyons clubhouse on an early Sunday afternoon in August. I was fresh off a 4 hour flight, but determined to get a round in before my meetings started on Monday. I was greeted by a very friendly person at the counter, and chose to play the Sky Course (Lost Canyons has 36 holes, and I had read online that if you must choose only one, choose the Sky.) I got the twilight rate, and 18 holes with a cart and rental clubs came to $125. Not the cheapest round of golf I’ve ever played, but for a Pete Dye/Fred Couples design and with rental clubs, it was less than expected.
I was a single, and picked up my rental clubs and headed to the range. I had my choice of Nike or Callaway (chose Nike), and although they were a bit more beat up than expected, they were good enough. After all, I wasn’t here to break the course record; I was here to spend some time outside, try and hit a handful of good shots, and experience a new course with different terrain than accustomed to. Lost Canyons produced on all accounts, as you’ll see.
I headed to the first hole as a single, expecting to play by myself. After I teed off, another single pulled up and asked to join. Of course I was happy to oblige. As we played and made small talk, he mentioned that he was an actor/screenwriter. Initially, I thought “Right, who in California isn’t?”, but he actually named a few TV shows/movies that I had seen so after the round I went to IMDB and sure enough, he was who he said he was. I’ll keep his identity private, but if you’re reading this, I had a great time and would be happy to pair up again anytime.
We chose to play the Gold tees, which measured just over 6,700 yards. It was a bit long for us, but due to the number of downhill holes and the fact that the Whites were only 6,200 we thought what the heck. The first hole is a good warm-up hole, measuring only 315 yards for a par 4. It was slightly uphill, but not too bad and I hit a great tee shot, leaving only about 50 yards. I pitched, 2-putted (on surprisingly fast greens) and walked off the opener with a par.
The second hole is a 175 yard par 3 that looks like it falls off in all directions. In most cases, it does. Behind and on the right side there’s a “secret” bunker that you can’t see from the tee, so if you’re going to bail right (like I did) be prepared to break out the sand wedge.
The third is another short par 4, measuring 350 yards. It’s also uphill, and the fairway is pretty wide so I suggest going for it. The truly challenging holes are coming soon enough.
Oh yeah, before I forget, be sure to bring lots of balls to Lost Canyons. Normally, if you hit a ball into the woods or scrub brush, you can go look for it but after seeing only one of these signs, I decided not to look for any.
The fourth and fifth holes are back to back par 5’s. Both offer their own challenges, but I found the 4th to be the tougher of the two. Great tee shot (pictured below) but it plays like an “S” curve, with the approach being a blind shot to the green. Believe it or not, I hit my third to about 12 feet and drained it for a birdie. No wonder I like this hole!
The seventh is a relatively flat par 3, but it measures 200 from the Golds, making it pretty long in my book. In addition, the wind was slightly against us, forcing me to play a club I wasn’t comfortable with. I won’t be discussing my score on this hole, but I do think you should see what the tee shot looks like; the term phenomenal comes to mind.
Number eight is the #3 handicap hole on the course, and for good reason. It’s an uphill dogleg left, measuring 425 yards to a massive, multi-tiered green and when I say massive, I’m not kidding; take a look:
Finishing the front 9 with a bang, the ninth hole is the #1 handicap hole. A 455 yard par 4, with a risk-reward tee shot. Feel free to bite of as much as you think you can chew. For the record, I bit off too much.
The tenth is another short (but challenging) par 4, with a blind, uphill approach. With a large, receptive green it isn’t too tough, even with the blind tee shot. On the other hand the tee shot on 11 is a doozie. This hole is at the highest point on the course, with a ridge running up the entire right side. It’s an almost blind tee shot; take a look.
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, but this course is as scenic as they come. It was one of the main reasons I wanted to play here, and it really seems to come to fruition starting on the 11th hole and playing through to 18. Although I haven’t seen the other course (Shadow Course), the Sky Course was beautiful, and easily worth the greens fees.
Here’s a view of the tee shot on 12 (called Devil’s Slide), a 580 yard par 5; enjoy.
The fourteenth (585 yard par 5) started out as a beautiful hole, but to be honest, I wasn’t prepared for just how impressive this hole finishes. The tee shot is almost blind, but from the fairway it looks like a lot of other holes on the course.
As I approached the green, this hole just got better and better to the point of distraction. To be honest, I have no idea what my score was on this hole, but I do remember which hole was my favorite; this one.
Sixteen only plays 310 yards, but it is completely uphill; take a look:
I hit driver, and still had a full 9-iron to the flag. Had a pure shot, and when I arrived to the top and could see where it finished, I was pleasantly surprised that I only had 4 feet for a second birdie of the day (and yes, I made the putt.) Again, a beautiful view from this green looking back towards the hole.
The Sky course at Lost Canyons finishes with a wonderful, downhill par 4 measuring 445 yards. It’s not an easy tee shot (especially the first time you play it), but I rocketed a driver to 90 yards. Yes, it was downhill and I had a tailwind and conditions were dry so it ran for a long way but still; a 350 yard drive IS something to brag about.
I did my research online, and all leads pointed to Lost Canyons, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to play it. I lost more balls than I had anticipated but in the end, didn’t really care. I got to play 18 holes of scenic, challenging golf, met a new friend, and got lots of great pictures and memories. What more can a golfer ask for?