I’m kind of shooting myself in the foot writing up reviews of golf courses from the Southern Utah and Mesquite, Nevada area. Shooting myself in the foot because I’m increasing the awareness (and potentially the costs and crowds) about an area which is truly a golf mecca but not as well known as others.
Welcome to Red Rock Country
Since I haven’t been to the Playboy mansion yet, my favorite area in the entire USA is still “Red Rock Country.” RRC is basically Southern Utah, North Eastern Nevada and Northern Arizona (Grand Canyon area). The terrain is mostly desert with beautiful red rock mountains, plateaus and formations. The area is so beautiful that it’s littered with many state and national parks, including Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Valley Of Fire State Pare and others.
The Ledges is located in the heart of red rock country: St. George, Utah. St. George is a small desert town in South Western Utah, bordering on Arizona. St. George has a neat history, including being the host of many old wild western films with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. St. George’s present status is that of a beautiful small town, warm weather year round and tons of great golf courses.
The Ledges course
Designed by Matthew Dye (nephew of Pete Dye), The Ledges opened just a few months ago. This 7200 yard “championship” course takes advantage of the rugged desert landscape nicely. 7200 yards is not short, but not ridiculously long like some new courses apparently “need” to be in the modern golf era.
A tale of two nines
To me The Ledges is almost two different 9 hole courses which share some similar design concepts. The front 9 is moderately wide open with minor elevation changes, while the back nine is tighter with some very extreme elevation changes.
The fairways on the front have some rolling and undulating landing areas and some very large rolling hills in the rough. These rolling hills have a bit of a links flavor to them, complete with the uphill, downhill and side hill lies. Miss the large fairways and you’ll have a challenging stance and lie. The fairways on the back are definitely tighter. Many of those rolling hills on the sides have been replaced by desert sand or red rock canyons and vistas. Miss the fairways on the back and you may never find your ball.
Around the greens I do like what Dye has done. There are many different ways a player could play a shot if he happened to miss the green on his approach. I do like the fact that many of the short game shots around the greens can allow you to use your imagination. You can lob, putt, chip or pitch the ball on the finely groomed mounds near the green. It’s nice for the course to allow you to imagine many different ways of getting up and down.
The greens are very large and have some massive tiers and undulations. I’d say there are some 3-4 club greens, meaning the difference in distance from front to back is 3-4 clubs. You don’t want to be putting from the front of one of these huge greens to the back unless you like taking a full back swing with your putter. Make sure you get your approach club distance correct. Dial in your approach shots even better to get your putt on the right tier or quadrant. These Dye greens are big, but they’re really 2-4 mini greens put together. For instance, #14 has 3 huge tiers sloping from front to back. The approach is a downhill shot as well. If your approach distance and spin are not correct, you are lucky to two putt even if you manage to keep your ball on the green.
High tech carts
The golf carts at The Ledges are great. They’re very comfortable and high tech. There’s a GPS navigation system which tells you yardages and gives you golf tips on how to play each hole.
Hungy? You can also get the menu of the restaurant on the screen. On the 9th tee you can call in your order from your cart, so it’s ready when you make the turn. This helps prevent slow play, which is nice.
As you’ll see in my Ledges gallery pictures, the clubhouse is super. It’s a large and elegant building with a wonderfully appointed interior. There’s a large banquet room, a bar and a snack shack for those quick hot dogs at the turn. I had lunch in the bar and watched some NFL games on the two flat plasma screens. It was sweet. The pro shop is spacious and has tons of very nice merchandise. The restrooms are amazing. Even the sinks in the restrooms employ some neat design with a big flat piece of polished black granite running away from you. It’s hard to describe but check out the photo of the restroom in the gallery.
The range is very nice with high quality range balls. I’m not a fan of junk range balls. There are practice target greens along with the day’s yardage which is nice. There’s a very nice practice putting green as well.
With these great practice facilities your game should improve if you use them. But if it doesn’t improve, or you want to take your game to the next level, The Ledges will soon (early 2007) be opening their Jack Nicklaus Academy Of Golf.
In all of my reviews I try to play devil’s advocate and give them some constructive criticism. I do have a couple of critiques about The Ledges.
I do like the design of the course very much, but some of the greens are a little on the extreme side for my taste. Some of the tiers are huge and some greens with several of those tiers could have some impossible 3-4 breakers. If they were to jack the speed up a notch or two there could be some nearly impossible places to put a pin.
My other critique is the fact that currently the only way to get a yardage is via the GPS on the carts. What if a person was to walk the course? There are no yardage markers on sprinkler heads or anything. A walker would have almost no clue as to what his yardages are.
The Ledges is yet another picturesque, dramatic and terrific golf course located red rock country. This challenging layout will give all aspects of your game a good test, long and short. The layout is just long enough, but not too long like some new courses being built these days. The supporting facilities of the course are as nice as any high end country club. The staff is very nice and helpful.
The Ledges is a must play if you are in the area. If you are lucky enough to play the course, bring your camera.
There are currently over 100 pictures of The Ledges in the Ledges Photo Album.
Michelle Wie is going to Stanford...like