ST. GEORGE — What residents and frequent visitors of the St. George area have understood for years about the region’s golfing opportunities are becoming known on the national level.
In a recent article published in Golf Digest, author Ron Whitten marveled at a golfer’s paradise amid the area’s natural grandeur.
“Southern Utah is a golf mecca that has yet to be fully explored,” Whitten wrote in Golf Digest. “In the southwest corner of Utah, in the shadow of Zion National Park, lies a sandbelt of rich, red, pulverized silica atop which half a dozen four-star golf courses have blossomed in the past quarter-century.”
Whitten highlights several Washington County’s golf courses, including those operated by the city of St. George, Entrada at Snow Canyon and Coral Canyon. The author called Sand Hollow Resort’s layout the “area’s true destination design.”
The front nine of its Championship 18 drifts through high-plains sagebrush and around massive outcroppings, with many moguls in the fairways and more moguls in the greens. The vistas are an engulfing panorama of rock formations and mountain ranges but are soon forgotten on the back nine. To step on the 11th tee is to step on the edge of the world. Beyond the butte-top green on this downhill par 3 is a vast gorge many miles across. Along its leading edge are the next four holes, positioned in near-acrophobic fashion, a drop of some 100 feet or more along the left of each hole to canyon bottom, with high cliff walls on the right of three of the four.
Kevin Lewis, director of the St. George Tourism Office, said the mild winter temperatures have long made golf a popular pastime in the area, but the outstanding level of golf and the fantastic amenities make this a complete golf destination.
“Before the popularity boom of adventure sports like off-roading and cycling, and before social media spread images of our spectacular outdoor opportunities, the St. George area was known for golf,” Lewis said in a press release. “Golf’s popularity remains a strong draw, it is one of our core attractions, and we have the level of courses that destination golfers are seeking.”
For many golf enthusiasts around the country, St. George remains a hidden treasure. Yet its attraction grows stronger and spreads further.
“The high altitude provides for thinner air, drier conditions and lots of carry and fairway roll,” Whitten wrote. “The area is playable much of the winter, and the prices are a fraction of Phoenix or Vegas.”