I received an interesting invitation to the Utah State Capitol to be a first hand witness to Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s “Golf Proclamation.” I’m headed up there shortly. Golf is apparently doing very well here in Utah, and the Gov is going to proclaim May as “Golf Month.”
A recent study found, “golf contributes more than $800 million to our (Utah) state economy, supports more than 9,600 jobs, and accounts for more than $11 million in annual charitable giving.” Further, “there is not a state in the country that has a larger percentage of their golf courses that are open to the public.”
These are good things, and I’m sure the Governor will be telling us more later this morning. I’m looking forward to being in attendance, and likely seeing many of the top people in the Utah golf industry, many of whom are my friends and business associates.
Sand Hollow Links Course
Following the proclamation there will be a round of golf played at one of my home courses, Bonneville Golf Club. Maybe I’ll even get to play with the Governor. I think I can take him. Hope he brings some extra cash.
The Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour was rolling this past few days in northern Arizona and southern Utah, with stops at Bryce Canyon National Park, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and Kanab, Utah.
Coral Cliffs Golf Course – Kanab, Utah
Home base this week was at a pal’s place in Kanab, Utah. Kanab is just on the Arizona/Utah border, about 1.5 hours north of the north rim of the Grand Canyon, This small town of about 5,000 is in a fantastic location with the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park all from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours away.
Kanab has a small and relatively unknown 9-hole golf course called Coral Cliffs. Of course, the name comes from the red rock cliffs which serve as a beautiful backdrop. The fine managment at Coral Cliffs allowed me to ride the course on a cart and bring my photo gear, including my aerial imagery rig (toy helicopter). Here’s one shot of the 5th, 6th and 7th holes from above. I’m still working on processing the rest of my images, but for now enjoy this one.
For more on Coral Cliffs, visit the Kahab page at Utah Golf Guru, a Hooked On Golf Blog sister site. Utah Golf Guru provides a list of every course in the state of Utah with photos, course details and even playing tips from yours truly!
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
Forget golf for a moment!
Contrary to what people who frequent my many golf web sites may think, the golf course is not my favorite place to visit. That distinction belongs to Arches National Park.
Arches is 239 miles southwest of my home, in South-Eastern Utah. Arches is two miles north of Moab, Utah. Moab is a small town whose primary industry is tourism. Tourists hit Moab for mountain biking on the famous “slickrock trail,” rafting down the Colorado River or visiting Arches NP, Canyonlands National Park or Dead Horse Point. Moab draws a very “green” and yuppie crowd. There are more granola bars and “organic” food items per square inch there than any place on Earth. Good luck finding a non organic Pop Tart in that town because I couldn’t.
Arches is a spectacular area of land which contains the highest density of natural arches in the word. The high desert landscape of Arches has very little precipitation and extreme temperature variations. Red sandstone formations and fins have undergone millions of years of erosion, which result in visually stunning visuals and 2000 documented arches.
Utah’s license plates have an arch from Arches on them. This is Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is probably the most famous natural arch in the world. Getting to Delicate Arch requires some good calorie burning hiking uphill, about 1.5 miles. The arch itself is at the edge of a huge sandstone cliff, with an amazing sandstone bowl above. You can go right up and sit under the arch (see pictures), and that drop off the cliff is less than 10 feet through the arch.
I’ve happily made this rigorous uphill 1.5 mile hike in 100+ degree desert heat dozens of times, including yesterday. No matter how tired and sweaty I am when I get there, I completely forget all of that the second I turn the corner and see what I believe to be one of the most amazing and breathtaking formations anywhere. I’m completely awestruck by the beauty of Delicate Arch.
Suggestion: Plan your photos for early morning or late evening when the lighting is the best. And also be sure to cut your toenails! The hike down from Delicate Arch can really cause you grief if your toenails are rubbing against the front of your shoes!