The Grand Canyon State is home to about 5,400 golf holes – 300 courses with terrain varying from desert to mountains. Many holes are striking, but the ones in this Arizona golf Dream 18 – chosen for their difficulty, beauty or unusual qualities – are among the most memorable. All distances are from the back tees.

  1. The Golf Club at Eagle Mountain #18, par 4, 420 yards – A lofty tee box gives players a view of mountains in the distance as well as the challenge at hand. The downhill fairway is bordered on the right by a lake. A bunker looms in front of the green. 
  2. Sedona Golf Resort #10, par 3, 200 yards – Red-hued Cathedral Rock, an Arizona landmark, is the backdrop for a bowl-shaped, contoured green that is a long iron shot for most players. A bunker lies to the right of the putting surface.
  3. Troon North Golf Club (Monument Course) #3, par 5, 564 yards – A giant boulder hulks in the middle of the fairway of this signature hole, about 262 yards from the back tees. Players must place their shots carefully to avoid making a “monumental” mistake.
  4. Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale (Stadium Course) #18, par 4, 438 yards – One of the most highly regarded finishing holes on the PGA Tour, the hole opens with a tee shot across a lake that borders the left side of the fairway. Sand lurks to the right. Complicating the approach is a slope on the front and left and a deep bunker on the right.
  5. Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club (Mountain Course) #3, Par 3, 107 yards – Touted as one of the most photographed holes west of the Mississippi, this beauty has a view of Tucson in the distance. It’s also one of the most expensive holes in the West, with a million-dollar green carved into a rock wall and protected from frost and heat by biotherm tubing. The crowned green repels balls.
  6. Troon North Golf Club (Pinnacle Course) #18, par 4, 407 yards – A view of Pinnacle Peak in the distance draws the eye throughout this hole, despite the challenges to be met. A deep, cactus-studded ravine lies between the tee and the fairway, which leads to a green with rocks on the right and a steep arroyo (a generally dry creek bed or gully) on the left.
  7. We-Ko-Pa Golf Club (Cholla Course) #8, Par 5, 605 yards – The number one handicap hole is a downhill dogleg running along a box canyon. An arroyo waste area guards the left front of the green, leaving a stingy strip of fairway on the right. Slopes and angles make it difficult to get on in two.
  8. Grayhawk Golf Club (Talon Course) #13, par 4, 277 yards – The choices on this short par 4 are a 240-yard drive over a manmade canyon or a lay-up before the gorge, leaving a short iron shot. The green is guarded by plank-lined pot bunkers that are difficult to escape. 
  9. McCormick Ranch Golf Club (Palm Course) #9, par 4, 408 yards – The tee shot is to an island fairway about 40-50 yards wide. The second shot is to a large peninsula green where three putts are common. The putting surface slopes from back to front with a bowl in the middle and a ridge cutting across.
  10. Las Sendas Golf Club #18, par 5, 536 yards – This double dogleg enjoys a view all the way to the White Tank Mountains. Players line up with Cadillac Mountain if they’re going for it in two, but a lake to the right presents a risk to errant shots. A large lake fronts the green, which is further guarded by bunkers on both sides.
  11. Gold Canyon Golf Resort (Dinosaur Mountain) #14, par 3, 226 yards – The elevated tee provides a valley view, with Phoenix visible in the distance. This isolated and memorable hole drops 200 feet to a rather small, multi-level green. Adding to the difficulty are pot bunkers on the left, right and behind the green, as well as a wash protecting the front.
  12. Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa (Catalina Course) #18, par 4, 443 yards – Considered one of the most difficult holes on the PGA tour, it opens with a partially blind tee shot to a small landing area with water both right and left. It takes a mid- to long iron to reach the large, elevated green, which has a severe slope. Vast bunkers are positioned on the left front, right and rear of the green.
  13. The Raven Golf Club at Verrado #18, par 4, 494 yards – Though the downhill fairway makes the length less punishing, players must thread the needle off the tee, avoiding one bunker right-center of the fairway and three along the left side of the landing area. That leaves a long shot to a large, undulating green with water on the right and rear, and bunkers on both sides in front.
  14. La Paloma Country Club (Canyon Course) #7, par 4, 445 yards – Handicapped number one, this hole drops 100 feet from tee to fairway, with a wash on the left and a slope on the right that feeds balls back into the short grass. The second shot is uphill over a ditch and a large bunker to an elevated green cut into a hill. The wind is usually head-on. 
  15. Sunridge Canyon Golf Club #17, par 3, 209 yards – Moving the pin from side to side on this 7,000-square-foot, horseshoe-shaped green creates entirely different tests. If the pin is on the left, it’s 209 yards from the back tees over a deep, 100-yard-wide canyon. If the pin is on the right, it’s 152 yards, dropping from the elevated tee. A crescent-shaped bunker guards the green.
  16. Talking Stick #15, par 4, 461 yards – The desert crowds both sides of this double dogleg. Overshooting the drive or straying from the straight and narrow on the approach will likely land your ball among the cactus. A lone bunker on a mound guards the right front of a tabletop green.
  17. The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa (South Course) #5, par 5, 545 yards – There are many picturesque holes here, but this one is strategic as well as scenic. The tee shot is over desert scrub to a slight dogleg. Bunkers line both sides of the green, which backs up to a stunning rock formation known as the “Boulder Pile.”
  18. The Raven Golf Club at South Mountain, #8, par 4, 437 yards – Unlike the desert courses that abound in this region, the Raven is shaded by tall Georgia pines throughout, including this dogleg par 4 that wraps sharply right around a lake. The second shot will cross some portion of water to a well-protected green tucked against a hillside.