A Ferrari in grandma’s garage

SunRidge Canyon Greens on Holes #1 and #18

In December of 2010 on a leap of faith, Don and Cindy Misheff decided to purchase a golf course following Don’s retirement from Ernst and Young. 

During their brief due diligence they met with the course superintendent, Ron Ruppert, who oversaw the original build out and today is a key member of the SunRidge Canyon team. Ron stepped back and told the Misheff’s many key attributes of the course. In closing he summarized by saying, “You have found a Ferrari in grandma’s garage. It needs some major rework, a good cleaning and then we can put some wax on it”. He clearly got their attention, and in current discussions states, ”I really liked them and wanted to be a part of something special. I wanted to sell them!” And thus the “restoration “project began. 

The Misheff’s had a long term vision of a Grayhawk kind of place, great golf/great hangout. To accomplish this they needed a team that also believed in the vision. After several top level management changes in years one and two, the team was in place. Ron stayed on as superintendent supported by a newly hired assistant Bill Holdeman. Kris Starr who was hired as shop merchandiser was elevated to director of operations overseeing all daily golf and food and beverage activities, and Wes Neal was promoted to head golf professional. Down the road, today’s team was further enhanced with the addition of Scott Weber, director of instruction, Diana Skidmore, executive chef and Cori Urzo, front of the house F/B manager. 

Day one the restoration began the Ferrari needed repairs, some more significant than the Misheff’s originally hoped for. In years 1 and 2 over 700 sprinkler heads were replaced and a new acid neutralizer was added to the irrigation system. New dining room chairs and table refinishing enhanced the restaurant, but according to Cindy it still looked like a nursing home. As part of an unsuccessful attempt to outsource the restaurant early in year 3 the kitchen, dining room and outside patio were totally remodeled adding outdoor bar areas, an outdoor pizza oven, a fire pit facing the Four Peaks and an indoor show kitchen. Also in year two a performance center was built on the driving range which served as the home of a Jim McLean golf school for 3 years. The same building was further expanded in 2015 and is now the headquarters to HotStix custom fitters, and a storage area on the parking lot was converted to a small mill shop and serves as the home to MannKrafted custom putters. According to Ron, the Ferrari still hadn’t been washed but the Misheff’s felt we had at least bought new tires! 

The washing would begin in 2016. The team decided to replace all greens with Champion Bermuda turf. From day one they believed to get to the vision, course conditions were critical and according to Don, “our greens just were not cutting it”. After another unexpected set back, the main pump house irrigation system exploded from a power surge loosing the irrigation system for 54 days in prime season and almost loosing the new greens. The greens recovered to excellent conditions and the Ferrari had finally got at least a partial scrubbing. 

It was time to throw some wax on this baby according to the Misheff’s, so in June of 2018 a restoration of all green side bunkers began. The new bunkers feature stacked sod facings, upgraded sand, new drainage and greatly enhance SunRidge’s links style. Since purchase over 25 unnecessary bunkers have either been removed or redesigned with the goal of giving the average golfer a better playing experience, while not reducing the challenge SunRidge brings to the avid player. At all times the team focused on protecting the integrity of the original Keith Foster design. In addition all fairway bunkers are being converted to be played as desert style waste areas allowing the player to ground the club. 

“Our Ferrari is starting to shine,” Ron says, “but we will never stop going after more. Other enhancements such as new carts, gps, rocking chairs, bagpipes, live music, and other amenities all go into the vision of the team to provide our customers ‘the total Golf Experience’”. 

Today the team proudly awaits your next visit and is committed to providing you outstanding customer service, great course conditions and an experience that does not end on the 18th green. Come on by and take a ride in our “restored” Ferrari! 

SunRidge Canyon Golf Club is located at 13100 Sunridge Drive in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Call 4880.837.5100 for more information or tee times or visit www.sunridgegolf.com.