Utah

Thanksgiving Point

NO. 1 COURSE: THANKSGIVING POINT

LOCATION: Lehi, Ut.

DIRECTIONS: From the north, take I-15 south to exit 284 Alpine/Highland. Turn right and proceed west on Clubhouse Dr. to the light at Ashton Blvd.

PHONE: 801-768-7400 (web site: www.thanksgivingpoint.org)

GREEN FEES: $65 to $85

OPENED: 1997 (architect: Johnny Miller)

LAYOUT: Par-72, 7,714 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: This Johnny Miller layout south of Salt Lake City was ranked among the top 10 new courses in the country in 1997 by Golf Digest. The course is designed around the mountain desert landscape and has about 10,000 trees and 55 acres of sand.

The sheer length of the course (there’s a 250-yard par-3 and a 678-yard par-5) and the ever-present wind adds yet more challenges and it all adds up to one of Utah’s toughest courses.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 17, par-3 250 yards. A mere 250 yards from the back tee to a green surrounded by a 180-degree bend in the Jordan River. Miss the green short, left or long and you’ll be reaching for another ball.

NO. 2 COURSE: VICTORY RANCH

LOCATION: Kamas, Ut.

DIRECTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY AIRPORT: Take the I-80 E ramp to City Center/Ogden/Provo. Keep left at the fork and merge onto I-15 S. Follow signs for I-80 E and merge onto I-80 E towards Cheyenne, about 30 miles. Take exit 146 for US-40 E toward Heber/Vernal. Take exit 4 for Park City/Kamas, turn left at the light onto UT-248 E/Old Hwy 40. Turn right at US-32/Main St. The first stoplight as you come into Kamas, turn right at US-32/River Road. First stop sign you come to turn left. Just past the large red  two miles down, you will see the course.

PHONE: 435-785-5030 (web site: www.victoryranchclub.com/golf)

GREEN FEES: $150

OPENED: 2009 (architect: Rees Jones)

LAYOUT: Par-72, 7,559 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Located in the mountains, 17 miles southeast of Park City, Victory Ranch features spectacular views of the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, the Deer Valley ski resort and Jordanelles Reservoir.

The Rees Jones-designed layout was rated as one of the country’s top 10 best new courses.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 17, par-3, 242 yards. This long par three takes a belt to get close to the pin – or even on the green. It’ll take a shot to the middle to avoid all the trouble on this hole – carry over a ravine and bunkers surrounding the green, made even tougher by the wind from the exposed tee.

NO. 3 COURSE: SOLDIER HOLLOW

LOCATION: Midway, Ut.

DIRECTIONS FROM PARK CITY: Take 40/189 south to Heber. Take a right on state route 113. Left on Charleston Rd. Turn right on Tate Ln. and continue to the course.

PHONE: 435-654-2002 (web site: www.soldierhollow.com/golf_course)

GREEN FEES: $40 (includes cart)

OPENED: 2004 (architect: Gene Bates)

LAYOUT: Gold course par-72, 7,598 yards (five tee positions). Silver course par-72, 7,355 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: If you’re chasing a golf ball in the summer thinking this place would make a world-class ski venue, you’re on to something. Soldier Hollow, in the Wasatch Mountain State Park, hosted cross-country and biathlon events during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

The Gold course, at 7,598 yards from the tips, is among the longest courses in Utah. Both courses offer stellar views of the Heber Valley and Mount Timpanogos. Gold Course is closes in the winter. The course hosts the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, July 9-14.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 15, par-4, 480 yards. This isn’t for the squeamish, especially if you dare play from the back tee. It’s 480 yards, and while the mountain air is thin and the hole is downhill from tee to green, you’ll need two great shots to reach the putting surface in regulation. Smoke a drive and you’ll still have 200-plus yards to the green for a second shot. Par is something to be proud of on this hole.

NO. 4 COURSE: PARK CITY

LOCATION: Park City, Ut.

DIRECTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY: Take I-80 and then exit at Kimbal Junction. Travel south on 224. Turn right on Thaynes Canyon Dr. and the course.

PHONE: 435-615-5800 (web site: http://www.parkcity.org)

GREEN FEES: $43 (walking), $57 (with cart).

OPENED: 1963 (nine holes), 1976 (full 18) (architect: William Neff)

LAYOUT: Par-72, 6,622 yards (five tee positions).

LOWDOWN: The course is considered one of the best public golf venues in the region. It’s difficult to beat the location, in one of the country’s great resort communities and host to alpine ski events in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

With an elevation of 6,700 feet, the extra length you’ll get in the mountain air will stoke your ego if nothing else.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 18, par-5, 509 yards. It has been called one of the best finishing holes in Utah. It’s downhill from tee to green, making it reachable in two shots. However, there are two fairway bunkers waiting to swallow an errant tee shot. A good drive will create a chance at eagle, although a second shot that’s short, left or long will wind up in the bunkers, trees or water that guard the green.

NO. 5 COURSE: MOUNTAIN DELL LAKE

LOCATION: Salt Lake City, Ut.

DIRECTIONS SALT LAKE CITY AIRPORT: Take I-80 E toward City Center/Ogden/Prove. Look for Cheyenne. Take exit 128 for I-215/S. Belt Route. Take exit 4. Turn left onto E 3900 S. Take first left onto Wasatch Blvd. Take first right onto E 3800 SE Millcreek Canyon Rd. to the course.

PHONE: 801-582-3812 (web site: www.slcclassic.com/publicservices/golf/MountainDell)

GREEN FEES: $35

OPENED: 1990 (architect: William Neff)

LAYOUT: Par-71, 6,787 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: The Lake Course is the newer of two courses at the Mountain Dell complex. The Canyon Course opened in 1962. Lake features narrow fairways and tee shots over deep ravines and water.

Located at the base of the mountains, the course features about 1,000 feet of elevation change.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 17, par-3, 190 yards. Considered one of the toughest par-3s in Utah. It’s 190 yards from the back tee to the center of a long, narrow green. The challenge is the long carry over a ravine from the elevated tee, along with bunkers that guard the green left, right and back. Club selection is difficult not only because of the elevated tee, but also by the wind that typically blows into the golfer’s face.

- Kirby Arnold