The most popular golf course in Salt Lake, perhaps even the whole state of Utah, is Bonneville Golf Course and for good reason. This is one of my “home” courses (yes I have several) and I really have fallen in love with the layout. The greens are always well maintenanced, and challenging. There is a very good amount of elevation change at “Bonney.” And one of the most unique oddities about the course is the fact that it has no fairway bunkers. None. Can you think of any course which has no fairway bunkers?
Left of hole #2, irrigation materials staged…
Since its beginning, Bonneville has been watered by hand. “Night watermen” pick up big hoses and patrol the course starting at about sunset, and work until sunrise to keep the course green and playable. I’ve befriended several of the night watermen, one who is no longer with us. A plaque sits at the base of the tree behind the par-3 17th green, dedicated to my friend Jeff. Night watermen are a unique breed; one which is going to be out of a job very soon. Construction on the long awaited irrigation system has begun.
Bonneville Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos
Last year I had a fantasy idea about tagging along with the night watermen and a video camera at Bonneville to do a sort of behind-the-scenes interview/story. I dropped the ball, favoring my beauty sleep. Maybe I’ll still have the chance if their services are needed before the irrigation system is completed.
Sandy, Utah 12/13/14 – I just got back from a quick aerial photo flight with my hexacopter at Sandy, Utah’s Hidden Valley Country Club. I lucked out between rain and snow storms to catch some photos of the redesign of the par-3 Mountain Course 9th hole. The hole is being moved to make room for the pending swimming pool which will open next year. The pool will be located in the soon to be former location of the Mountain 9th green. In these photos you can see the old green still intact. I presume when the shaping is ready for the new green, they’ll move the old surface over.
Hidden Valley Country Club Mountain #9 Redesign – click image to see larger version
In the photo below you can see that the new tee on Mountain nine looks to go through a chute of trees. Slightly reminds me of the 18th at Augusta National.
New tee box on lower edge of photo – click photo to see larger version
In the photo below you can see a photo shot directly above the old 9th green and the new 9th green location.
Right: me and my white car. Middle right: old 9th green. Middle lower-left: new 9th green (I presume)
For more Hidden Valley Country Club photos, visit the Hooked On Golf Blog Hidden Valley Country Club photo gallery.
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
Located in Hobble Creek Canyon Utah (a few miles South East of Provo), Hobble Creek is an old style, traditional tree lined golf course. The holes wander up and down the canyon, taking advantage of the mountain terrain and fresh mountain streams.
This par 71 course is not long (6315 yards) and many of the holes play shorter than their yardage due to the higher altitude and many of the hole’s elevation drops.
Hobble Creek’s 18th hole
Nearly every shot on this course is visually worthy of a postcard. If you stop and look around wherever you are, you have awesome mountain views and beautiful tree lined, plush fairways and greens.
The course has numerous hazards. Many holes have either OB or red hazards left and right of the fairways, requiring accuracy off the tee. There are also streams and gullies which cross many of the holes, requiring you to think about what distance you want to hit your tee shot rather than simply bombing a driver. On many par 4 holes I found myself teeing off with 4 or 5-irons.
Once you are successfully in the fairway the course is not extremely difficult. If you do hit the fairway, you’ll be rewarded with short to mid-iron approach shots to the green.
See the moon peeking over the mountain on the right?
The course’s 2nd line of defense (the first being the tightness and hazards) is it’s fast, sloped greens. If you are a weak putter, Hobble will reveal your weakness on the greens. You have to play perfect line and speed if you want to get the ball to drop or at least end up close to the hole. Get your speed or line wrong, especially on a downhill putt, and you’ll be faced with a long recovery putt.
The greens were not only fast, they were extremely soft. My group had several shots hit the center of the green and literally spin all the way off. We had to try to fly the ball past the pin and bring it back in order to get the ball to pin high. It’s amazing a course can have greens that fast, yet that soft.
If you are a strong putter (which I consider myself) you can score well. I carded 5 birdies when I played there. The last 2 birdies were on holes 17 & 18, which not only helped me finish in a good mood, it helped me finish with a few more bucks in my wallet thanks to my opponents. Even better, my opponents pressed on 17 and then also on 18. Talk about a butt kicking…
The clubhouse is a classic, salty old building. There is a ton of personality in the design and old style dark wood interior.
There are many great trophies and pictures on the walls dating back decades. I checked out shots of Johnny Miller, Billy Casper and other PGA stars playing the course and practicing on the range.
No beer for you
I really liked the restaurant/coffee shop. It was a “real” restaurant, not just a hot dog stand in a building.
What I didn’t like was the fact that I couldn’t buy my deflated opponents a beer after the round. You see, there’s a local law that makes beer sales on Sunday illegal. So my opponents had to drown their sorrows in a soda pop.
Hobble Creek Golf Course is a gem. If you’re accurate off the tee and a decent putter, you should be able to score quite well. The course is a wonderful design and maintenanced to perfection. If you’re in the area of Provo, Utah, make a trip up to HC. It will be worth the $36 (with cart no less) to play it.
Click here for the Hobble Creek Golf Course photo gallery