Once Upon a Green Utah

a report In a Wild West setting worthy of the John Ford movies, the town of St. George, northeast of Las Vegas, hides the treasures of golf.

Saint George’s Special Envoy

The road from Las Vegas to St. George sets the tone. They meander among the colossal, jagged rock formations, and their colors range from yellow-orange to deep red. It feels like Mars. Less than 200 kilometers from the “Sin City” and its excesses and casinos, you can definitely change planets when you land in St. George. This sleepy little town of 80,000 has become, among Mormons, a hotspot for golfers, with thirteen courses within a 30-kilometre radius, all built over the past quarter century. Built mostly around massive granite boulders, on steep terrain in the middle of rocky canyons, these trails – playable all year round – ensure an absolute change of scenery. Icing on the Cake: This green manicured paradise, in the heart of a gorgeous desert landscape, isn’t overwhelmed by real estate. The sun is almost always there (330 days a year) and the summer heat is less oppressive than in the neighboring states of Nevada or Arizona. Finally, the prices are much lower than those at golf courses around Phoenix or Las Vegas.

Our trek begins in Coral Canyon, about ten kilometers east of St. George’s. Once we arrived, the friendly staff would pick up the bag and put it in a cart. A first class welcome at this typical desert golf course that emerged from the grounds in 2000. It opens in two consecutive rounds, but the most exciting holes are 3 shorter. Cut from the red rocks, is his signature. Twisted greens, often clinging to the hillside, are usually surrounded by many bunkers. Care must be taken to stay on the track because your balls can quickly get lost in the gravel of the desert due to the narrow paths. And if you go off the track, then avoid looking for your ball in the woods, poisonous snakes are there, apparently, a legion. This is perhaps the most complex course of negotiation in the region. But you can console yourself with the décor and enjoy, in the background, the Pine Valley Mountains, which are covered in snow almost all year round…all while swinging at the outdoor pet store. Here the squirrels are not shy and feel free to climb on your cart to steal some food!

You won’t find anything like it anywhere else

Regular at Sand Hollow Resort

Going down a little southeast of St. George, at the hurricane is the best overall path in Utah. At the foot of Zion National Park – the third most visited in America – the Sand Hollow Resort plays 27 holes (18 holes and 9 holes that will soon rise to 18 holes). The 6,675-meter rear tees course, designed in 2008 by former American Amateur Champion and two-time PGA Tour winner Jon Vuitt, is simply one of the most exciting courses in the world. “You won’t find anything like it anywhere else.”, says regular of the place. Sand Hollow is truly unforgettable and must be inevitably immortalized by a few photos before leaving.

The first nine holes of the tournament are played flat with many tolerances in the lanes and more on the greens. In the nine return slots, starting with 11 (paragraph 3), you can get high. The circular passages of holes 11 and 14 unfold on a rocky plateau located about thirty meters above the valley of the Virgin River, a tributary of Colorado. If the aisles remain relatively wide, any error is costly. On the left, your ball falls into the valley; On the right, it hits the high red slopes and after that it takes a lot of luck to get it back on track. The short gauge 4 of the 13, located at the top of the rim, and the mark 4 of the 14, the ramp, are particularly impressive. No. 15, No. 3 called “Devil’s Throat”, surrounded by red rocks, the long gorge protecting the green double plateau could swallow balls. But it’s not the golf memories that will be engraved forever.

Extraordinary Views

Twenty minutes from Sand Hollow located at Copper Rock Golf Course, the jewel of Hurricane Valley. The course, designed by a local architect, opened its doors in February 2020 and is already hosting the Symetra Tour event (Second Division of the American Women’s Circuit), organized in April. In the desert the air is very dry and bullets fly farther. Which is not feasible given the consequent trajectory length (6,238 meters of intermediate take-off). The latter is reminiscent of those in Scottsdale or Palm Springs. Less palm trees. Its specificity: 9e and 18e Holes, characterized by double greens that rise above a lake separating the two tracks. Soon daylight will soon see a top-class club with guestrooms, a luxury hotel with several restaurants, and a spa. If the greens fee is a little more expensive than in its neighbors (about 125 euros), the quality on the other hand is on time. The goal is to make it an essential course in Utah, even in the United States.

Back in Saint George, we climb 900 meters to The Ledges, at the gates of Snow Canyon State Park. It’s a true test of golf where you better be confident in your putting on the bumps, the quick, and almost all of the high greens. If the outside ride, flat, with generous fairways and a bit of roughness, isn’t a little surprising, the scenery changes drastically from the seventh hole – 5 by 508 metres – where we find ourselves facing Snow Canyon State Park. Then holes 11-17 are more hilly and surrounded by rocks and desert sand. Landscape of the Wild West and Target Golf. The views are exceptional, especially on holes 14th and 15th, in the background is the Fish Rock Grill, named after the club’s restaurant. In this arid region, the two water obstacles in slots 9 and 18 bring a bit of freshness to the game.

travel

• going to

From Paris, Air France direct flights to Las Vegas, there are two hours to go to St. George.

• to play

Coral Canyon Golf Course1925 N Canyon Greens Dr, Washington, UT 84780. Tel.: +1 435688 1700. From €66 to €105 Green fee, coralcanyongolf.com

Sand Hollow Resort5662 W Clubhouse Dr, Hurricane, UT 84737. Tel.: +1 435656 4 653. From €85 to €160 Green play fee, sandhollowresorts.com

ledges golf club, 1585 Ledges Parkway, Saint George, UT 84770. Tel.: +1 435634 4600. From €67 to €130 Green fee. hafa.com

Copper Rock Golf Course, 1567 W Copper Rock Parkway, Hurricane, UT 84737. Tel.: +1 435215 4845. From €90 to €125 green fee. Copperrockdev.com

• Residence

Adventure Marriott Hotel, Autograph Collection. theadvenirehotel.com

• to visit

Snow Canyon State Park
A garden at the city gates with stunning petrified sand dunes. stateparks.utah.gov

Zion National Park
A century-old park spreads over an area of ​​595 square kilometers around the valley of the same name and its slopes are impressive. nps.gov

Bryce Canyon
Between 2020 and 2,748 meters above sea level, its stunning rocky needles planted towards the sky cause a sensation. nps.gov

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