Unfortunately I’ve returned from my Labor Day weekend HOG World Tour stop at Black Mesa Golf Club in New Mexico. I had a fantastic time as always at what is possibly my favorite course on this planet. This time I stayed in the new Santa Claran hotel which is associated with the course. I’ll be posting a review of the Santa Claran soon so stay tuned. It was hard to leave the Mesa. In fact on the way home we stopped by there for lunch just to soak it in for a few more minutes before driving the 9.5 hours it takes to get from there to my garage.
My shot of the week happened Sunday on the 14th hole while playing with club director of golf, head pro and good friend Tom Velarde, as well as his daughter and son-in-law. I was playing quite well, in the middle of the best round I’ve ever played there. My shots were under control for the most part, including a perfectly executed “punch driver” into a gale force wind to pin high on the par-3 8th. After three solid shots I made birdie on the par-5 13th just before 14 to get to +2 on the round.
My granny over-the-top dual chicken wing 4 plane swing takes on hole 14 at Black Mesa. Click to enlarge, if you dare.
14 (above) is a short uphill risk/reward par-4 which long players could possibly drive. The hole was playing about 340. I was short left of the green on an up slope. My drive had bounced through a bunker about 30-40 yards from the green, and ended up in grass so long that I found a brand new ProV1 one foot from my ball. I opened up my 60 degree wedge and made perfect contact. The ball was on a good line, but I couldn’t see it finish because I was so far below the green. I could only see the top half of the stick. I saw it bounce and then heard a clank, then a scream from Tom’s daughter saying it had gone in. I’d one-hopped it in for eagle!
I ended up shooting 37/37 for a very rewarding 74 on a very tough course which I typically “hope” to break 80 on. That 74 broke my previous low score at Black Mesa by four shots. (more…)
Greetings from Black Mesa / Espaniola New Mexico. I’m about to head out to round two at Black Mesa, but first I’d like to mention a course I visited yesterday on the way here.
The Hideout Golf Course has beautiful tree lined holes and a lot of great elevation changes. Click for more images.
I’ve heard many great things about a course in southeastern Utah in a small town called Monticello. The course name is The Hideout. The Hideout is an 18 hole, tree lined track which looks amazing. I didn’t get to play it, but I was able to putz around on a cart and take a few pictures. Time didn’t allow me to see all 18 holes. I have started a Hooked On Golf Blog Hideout Image Gallery so you can see what pics I did manage to capture.
Love the tree lined holes at The Hideout! Click for more images...
The place looks amazing. I hope to get back down to Monticello before the season ends and test out my game at The Hideout.
I’ve played golf in some amazing places, from Scotland to Mexico to all over north America. But some of the most amazing golf courses, like Coral Canyon Golf Course, are right here in my back yard, Utah. I’ve had the pleasure of playing “Coral” many times and I never pass up a chance to experience it.
Golf island on Mars? Coral Canyon’s signature 6th hole. Click for more.
Coral Canyon is located a few minutes north of the St. George golf mecca in southwestern Utah. Nearby attractions other than golf include Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks. This area of the state is what some call “red rock country” or “color country.” Desert red rock plateaus, red sandstone, desert vegetation and red sand cover the landscape contrasting beautifully with the green grass of Coral’s fairways.
Given the location in southern Utah, Coral is open all year, but temperatures in the summer can reach well over 100 degrees. The last time I played the course was June 21, 2011 and the temperature was 108 when I teed off at 6:00pm.
Coral Canyon’s design is aesthetically breathtaking. Bring your camera. There are massive elevation changes from tee to fairway and from fairway to green, with forced carries over red desert areas and washes. Course architect Keith Foster did a fantastic job utilizing the complex terrain and routing the course through it.
Many of the tee shots at Coral are what I call “wow” spots.
Coral starts out with a wow on #1, and doesn’t let up until the 19th hole! Click for larger image.
When I arrive on many tees on this course, like #1 pictured above, I look all around and then say “wow.” The elevated tee shot on #10 (below) is absolutely thrilling and another “wow” spot with a massive elevation drop. Drives from the tips on this hole appear to be in the air for somewhere between 27-34 minutes.
Coral Canyon’s 10th tee. Click to enlarge.
There are many risk-reward scenarios at Coral from the tee. Fairways can run out like on the par-5 2nd hole. You can choose a shorter club than driver or 3-wood off the tee to stay safe and short of the wash, but that turns it into a 3-shot hole. More aggressive players you can try to get as close to the wash as possible and having a chance at reaching the green in two.
Hole #8 is a short par-4 which is drivable at 312 yards from the tips. I’ve hit everything from driver to 7-iron off of this tee. Choosing the aggressive route requires more accuracy. An errant drive could find the hillside right and a tough recovery shot or massive bunkering short left of the green. Great hole.
The fairways at Coral are quite large and wide, though they can sometimes look small and narrow from the tee. Many fairways are reached only after forced carries from the tee.
Though the fairways are wide, I still seem to manage missing my share at Coral. There’s not much “rough” here, just a few feet and it historically hasn’t been very deep or penal. But missing a fairway beyond the rough brings into play serious trouble, lost balls, unplayable lies and lots of first hand encounters with the thousands of rabbits which inhabit the course.
Coral has challenging but fair greens.
The greens at Coral Canyon are fun and challenging. Many have subtle breaks with one or two larger tiers or quadrants. Finding the proper level in those cases is crucial to scoring, like on the par-3 3rd hole which has a massive tier dissecting the green into two distinct surfaces. Balls which hit the green in regulation but don’t find the proper level on greens like #1, #3, #18, suddenly become very challenging two-putts.
Coral Canyon’s amenities are all top notch. Everything a golfer needs is there from a great driving range, practice green to great food. The pro shop offers great golf equipment, rental clubs, club fitting and sells some great threads which sport the Coral Canyon logo.
In addition to the pro-shop and restaurant, the clubhouse is also features a men’s and women’s locker room as well as wedding/banquet facilities.
Sets of tees: 5
Length from tips: 7,029 yards
Course rating: 73.0
I’ve played nearly every course in this beautiful state, and Coral Canyon is ranked right up at the top with a few very special courses. If you are planning a golf trip to Southern Utah, Mesquite Nevada or even Las Vegas (two hour drive), you should make it a point to play Coral Canyon.
Hooked On Golf Blog Coral Canyon Image Gallery
I’ve updated the Hooked On Golf Blog Wasatch Mountain State Park image gallery with some new photos from the Lakes and Mountain courses. What a beautiful area near Heber City, Utah.
Beautiful mountain backdrops and plush green grass. Love mountain golf. Click for more.
These courses are just a few minutes drive from Park City and about a 40 minute drive from Salt Lake.
Here’s another image gallery I’m happy to post from my recent trip to the home of golf, St. Andrews. Click to view the St. Andrews New Course image gallery.
New Course - St. Andrews, Scotland - Click for more images
The New Course opened in 1895. 1895? That’s new alright, when comparing it to the Old Course, which is some 500+ years older. The New Course was designed by Old Tom Morris and is quite a fun track to play. The style is a bit different than the Old Course–smaller greens, narrower fairways and lots of gorse bushes to catch errant drives.
There’s a more modern clubhouse too (pic below), which services the new and the Jubilee course. I’ll have a Jubilee gallery up shortly.
St. Andrews New Course Clubhouse - click for more