Just in time for warmer weather, contributor Landon Walters takes readers on a tour of 15 must-play golf courses in Utah. Let us know in the comments section if you agree or disagree with the list and feel free to suggest other courses that should be included.
Salt Lake City
6,872 yards, par 72
One of the three oldest courses in the Salt Lake City municipal system, Bonneville was designed by William Bell and opened for play in 1929. The hilly terrain along the East Bench and the challenging greens combined with the somewhat narrow fairways and trees on most of the holes make the course challenging, even with the lack of bunkers. Amazing views of the Salt Lake valley await visitors to this course, while the sunsets over the Great Salt Lake have been called awe-inspiring.
6,523 yards, par 71
Designed by William H. Neff and opened in 1975, this mountain-style course in the Bountiful foothills offers views of the Great Salt Lake and the surrounding valley. It is not uncommon to see deer on the course, and many fairways are lined with trees. Water hazards are also found on some holes, but it is otherwise a pretty straight and open course.
7,029 yards, par 72
This desert course is located within driving distance of Bryce Canyon and Zion National parks. Designed by Keith R. Foster and opened in 2000, the course features open fairways and natural red rock around the edge of the course. Most holes feature bunkers of varying size. Those bunkers, combined with the natural landscape changes, make this course difficult but enjoyable.
7,189 yards, par 72
This winding course, which opened in 1971, was designed by renowned golf architect Joe Williams and recently went through some major renovations. Bunkers, trees and water hazards make this course fairly challenging. A lighted driving range offers a great place to hone one's game.
6,768 yards, par 72
This San Juan County course was designed by Forrest Richardson and opened in 2001. The course has been called “one of the most beautiful in Utah” by utahfairways.com. Natural elevation changes offer different challenges on each hole, and a three-hole junior course for younger golfers is always a hit.
6,315 yards, par 71
This secluded canyon course, designed by William P. Bell, is one of northern Utah's most picturesque courses. Though largely bereft of water hazards and bunkers , the many tree-lined fairways make the course a challenging test.
7,612 yards, par 72
This course was designed specifically with the intention of hosting a PGA Tour event. Named after the Anasazi Indian god Kokopelli, who was known as “the amazing trickster,” the course appears to be fairly flat, but in reality it features different types of terrain throughout, making for a great test. Located near three of Utah’s national parks, Kokopelli is a vacation destination. A new dining facility was built near the clubhouse and some tee times/rates include lunch with the round.
7,300 yards, par 72
This course was designed by John Fought and Andy Staples and opened in 2008. Native red sand combined with the green grass give this course stunning appearance. Fairways perched along the ridgeline and strategic bunker placements make this layout difficult for beginners, but the approximately 12 acres of practice facilities, including a massive putting green similar to that found at St. Andrews, can help beginners get the practice needed. The 15th hole was recently featured on the cover of Golf Week Magazine's "Best Courses" edition.
7,598 yards, par 72
This course has the special distinction of being the only golf course built on an Olympic venue. Designed by Gene Bates, the course opened in 2004 as part of Wasatch Mountain State Park. The unique layout, heavily bunkered, makes the course one of the more challenging in the state. It plays as one of the longest in the state, and offers great views of the Heber Valley and Mount Timpanogos.
7,080 yards, par 72
This course, designed by David Graham and Gary Parks, is located in the foothills in southern Salt Lake County and offers dramatic views of the Salt Lake valley. Some of the holes are well bunkered, many of which are large, but a lack of trees and water make this course feel wide open.
6,818 yards, par 72
Designed by Ted Robinson, this is the only course in southwestern Utah to feature 27 championship holes. Three separate nine-hole courses (The Pointe, Blackrock and Woodbridge), named for their unique features, can be played in combinations to make the course more different or challenging depending upon players’ abilities. This course is consistently included on Golf Digest's best courses in Utah list because of “scenery, challenge, quality and service.”
7,714 yards, par 72
Located centrally between Salt Lake City and Provo, this course covers some 200 acres and is the largest golf club in the state. The Johnny Miller Signature Course, which opened in 1997, features approximately 10,000 trees and 55 acres of sand. Open fairways make the course appear to be slightly easier to play, but the natural landscape and elevation changes prove challenging.
7,162 yards, par 72
This traditional, mountain-style course was designed by William Hull and opened in 1975. The natural terrain offers elevation changes and tree-lined fairways, and is home to many types of wildlife year-round. The clubhouse was recently renovated to allow for larger groups and tournaments. The course is considered one of the best in Davis County.
Lake Course: 6,942 yards, par 72
Mountain Course: 6.459 yards, par 71
These two 18-hole courses are almost opposites. The Lake Course features gentle terrain in comparison to the Mountain Course, but is not as easy to play as it first appears. Shorter holes must be played accurately to avoid hazards. The Lake Course also features eight lakes and ponds, including challenges on the sixth, ninth and 16th holes that have to be played directly over. The Mountain Course is a classic mountain-style layout that is difficult because of the variety of terrain and ball lies that can be expected on each hole. Deer, elk, moose and even wild turkey are common sights on this part of the course. Both courses offer stunning views.
Salt Lake City
7,185 yards, par 72
This links-style course was designed by Arthur Hills and is often considered to be one of the best municipal courses in the state, even being named among the top 25 Airport Courses list by Links Magazine. Features of the course include rolling terrain, lots of bunkers and water, plus the long grasses that can cause problems for your scores should you miss the fairway.