The Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour made a quick stop to enjoy the very warm weather of Mesquite, Nevada this past weekend. After enduring the largest snowstorm of the year in Salt Lake, it was time to get out of dodge. The golf was a side-trip though, as I was in town to attend and honor a golf buddy and disabled Iraq war veteran at a local fundraiser.
This trip there was more than golf gear in the HOG Tour Van. Along for the ride this time was the big hexacopter (drone) I built for capturing photos and videos of golf courses from above. I managed to snap some nice pictures ahead of the morning groups Saturday, as well as some nice video clips like the par-5 5th hole video below.
Below is a photo of the par-4 6th hole which goes into a very cool desert canyon bowl.
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.
The tournament dates are May 30-June 3, 2011. I’ll be doing live blogs, shooting a bunch of photos and covering whatever other angles I can from the gig. It isn’t too late to sign up for the tournament. Click the link above to get in on the fun, and see if you can beat me and my granny swing. I’ll bet you a frosty beverage that you can’t!