Before Sunday’s morning round at Salt Lake City’s Bonneville Golf Course the skies were blue and there was very little wind. That meant an opportunity to get the drone out and do a quick flight before hitting the first tee.
It was a quick seven minute flight without much setup or analysis of lighting etc. I caught a couple of cool aerial photos (click photo below to see them) along with a decent video flyover of the 18th green (above). I’m building a big rig which will carry a much bigger and higher quality camera, so the videos and photos will soon be even better.
Bonneville Golf Course – Left to right: driving range, hole #1, hole #18, hole #10
This past Friday the Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour made a stop at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club, a short drive southwest of the Las Vegas strip. I’d been to the property before, but had not had a chance to play it until this visit. While there I visited my friend Jeff Bricker, assistant pro and former Utah local.
Rhodes Ranch – Par-3 3rd Hole
Naturally I shot a ton of photos and I will be posting a course review soon. First impressions are that the course conditions are so good I’d compare them with Augusta National. Seriously! The fairway grass was so perfect and precisely cut, I actually took a photo of it:
Augusta National? Nope. Rhodes Ranch!
enjoyed my round playing on such a finely cared for golf course and the layout was very fun. If not for two doubles on the card, I would have been close to even par on the day. I need redemption!
Following the round I powered up my UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and did some photos and video of the course from above. I prefer to use the term UAV because “drone” has gotten a bad name. It isn’t an invasion of privacy and it isn’t going to blow you up. It is just taking pictures of the golf course!
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club – Aerial view of clubhouse and holes – click for more
Rhodes Ranch Photo Gallery
I’m very happy to have gotten some new pictures of Rhodes Ranch. I had some very poor quality, dark images in the Hooked On Golf Blog Rhodes Ranch Gallery, presumably back in the (literal) dark ages when I didn’t know how to take a photo.
I’ve now deleted all the old crappy photos, and put a few new ones up. I’m still processing some of the images, so check back for more later.
Most people think of Utah as a ski destination and for good reason. The snow here is regarded by many as the “greatest snow on earth.” Golf has a huge impact on the state as well. The size of that impact was not really known until a 2012 study done by independent research company SRI, commissioned by Golf 20/20. I was stunned at the impact and the numbers found in this study. Golf isn’t just a game here in Utah, it is an industry. It is an efficient industry which produces more dollars per acre than other big local industries yet has a fraction of the ecological impact. All of this while providing a fantastic outdoor activity, green space, scenic beauty, and providing jobs.
The 2012 golf industry in Utah generated $806.6 million in economic impact.
The number of golf patrons exceeds the number of ski patrons.
The golf industry in Utah accounts for over 9,600 JOBS.
Those jobs the golf industry creates in Utah produce $250.1 million dollars in wages.
Golf in Utah produces $16,035 per irrigated acre. The nearest competing industry is alfalfa farming at $774 per acre.
Golf brings in $5,529 per acre-ft of water. The nearest competing industry is once again alfalfa farming at $365 per acre-ft of water.
For all of you who think golf courses take up too much space or use too much water, golf in Utah represents only 3.8% of the state’s turfgrass and only consumes 0.65% of the diverted water.
Golf in Utah produced over $11 million in charitable giving.
Governor’s Golf Month Proclamation
In light of these amazing findings, which I merely highlighted a few big ones, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a proclamation yesterday at the state capitol declaring May in Utah as the month of golf. I was happy to be in attendance along with many of the biggest players in Utah’s golf industry.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert Signs Utah Golf Proclamation
I had a chance to speak with the Governor for a few minutes and he is very excited about these findings, and helping the game to flourish and grow in the future. “The continued health and growth of the golf industry has a direct bearing on future jobs, commerce, economic development, and tax revenues for a large number of Utah’s communities and industries.”
I let the Governor know of my independent work as a golf blogger and builder of golf websites, including the Utah Golf Guru site. I joked that the study numbers and the $805.6 million are a little low since they didn’t account for any revenue created by Utah golf bloggers. Make that $805,600,001.
Today the Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour stopped yet again at one of my favorite places on this planet, Sand Hollow Resort in southern Utah. I logged a solid round with my dad, who had never seen the course before. I had a blast showing pops around one of my all time best courses.
One of the day’s highlights was a large drive I hit right up the gut between the hill and the bunker short of the par-4 13th, pictured below. Mind you, not between the hill and the bunker you can see. The bunker I’m talking about is not visible from this angle. I hit small lob wedge to about 10 feet and made a satisfying birdie putt.
Sand Hollow 13th Hole – May 2014 – click for larger version
My photo library must have over 1,000 images of Sand Hollow Resort’s Championship Course, along with more of the Links Course, the practice areas, and clubhouse. Despite having all those images, I can’t help but shoot more every time I’m there. The scenery in contrast with the green grass and natural red sand is fantastic.