If you’ve been a regular reader of our public course guides, you know that I don’t mind making a little wager if there’s a gaming establishment in close proximity to where I’m playing golf. Trust me, I don’t throw down the chips like I used to when I was younger, but a little blackjack or Texas Hold ‘Em still tickles my fancy.
Maybe that’s why I enjoy getting to Vegas once a year. Golf comes first, but an hour in the pit is part of the story too.
To be honest though, I’m good for about three days then it’s time to get out. I mean out of Lost Wages entirely.
I found that out on my last trip when I was scheduled to be in Vegas with a group of buddies for an entire week. After two nights and three days, we’d all had enough of the Strip’s glitz and glamor. But we wanted to play more golf.
Thankfully, a gentleman sitting at first base at my blackjack table our first night recommended Saint George, Utah as top golf destination. Armed with his knowledge, the four of us jumped in our rental car and headed northeast on I-90, through the town of Mesquite to Saint George. The drive was easy and only took a couple hours.
We had such a great time, we’ve since decided to forego Vegas this fall and head straight to St. George instead. I can’t wait.
There’s a lot of great golf to be found here. And along with the help of our readers, I’m pleased to share with you what we consider the best public courses you can play.
Sand Hollow Resort – Championship Course
Sand Hollow Resort is quite the place. Golf is most definitely the focal point, but there’s plenty of other activities for the family. My wife wants to bring the kids on our fall trip, but I’ve diplomatically made it known that this is a guy’s trip, and the focus is golf.
The Championship Course is one of the most scenic I’ve ever played. Carved out of red rock desert, the natural views and hole designs have to be experienced to be believed.
Especially memorable is the tee shot from on the 11th hole. You’re literally on top of the world. The locals like to joke that you might want to check the weather report before you make the turn to make sure it isn’t snowing at higher elevations. Regardless, you won’t forget this tee shot.
Ranked by Golf Digest as the “#1 golf course you can play in Utah” every year since 2009, you’ll hit every club in the bag out here. Elevation change reigns supreme and picking the right clubs in the afternoon winds can be tricky.
No matter what you score however, you won’t forget a round at the Championship Course at Sand Hollow.
Sand Hollow Resort – Links Course
Unlike the Championship Course that is desert target golf in every sense of the word, the Links Course at Sand Hollow Resort asks you to hit a variety of shots and use the ground to your advantage.
Even though it’s only nine holes, you might feel like you’ve played 18 when you’re done.
Home to some of the largest greens in the state, much of your round might be spent walking over humps and bumps as you figure out a way to two-putt. It’s not easy.
With that being said, the Links Course’s wide-open layout is perfect for families and golfers of all ability levels.
Coral Canyon Golf Course
Along with Sand Hollow, Coral Canyon is a course we play every time we’re in Saint George.
Designed by Keith Foster and situated in “Color Country”, golfers are treated to splendid views of Bryce Canyon’s snow-capped peaks and Zion’s bright spring colors all in one panoramic view.
This track is generous off the tee. If there was ever a place to let it rip, it’s at Coral Canyon. The course’s defense is on challenging second shots to greens that are well-guarded and undulating. Getting around here without a three-putt is a feat in and of itself.
This track is always in immaculate condition, and I don’t expect that to be any different when I show up in October.
The Ledges of Saint George Golf Club
There’s not much quick like the contrast of emerald green grass and red rock backdrops at first or last light. That’s exactly what’s to be experienced at The Ledges of Saint George.
A modern design, this course’s features are large and force you to think carefully about each shot as there are always plenty of options.
If you’re a fan of risk and reward, play here. A balanced mix of long and short holes give you plenty of chances to gamble if you like. I always do and sometimes I’m the Hero, while other times the laughingstock of my foursome.
The greens are quick here too. If you leave yourself too many downhill putts, you might be in for a long day.
A complete and total experience, you won’t forget a round at the Ledges of Saint George.
Sky Mountain Golf Course
In an area seemingly saturated with high-end resort courses, Sky Mountain is a breath of fresh air in the Saint George area.
Owned and operated by the city of Hurricane, this is one of the best values you’re going to find anywhere west of the Mississippi River.
Here again, the vistas are breathtaking. In any direction, you’re surrounded by the Pine Mountain Range and Zion National Park.
Even though the course is on the shorter side, it presents a formidable challenge. Shots that don’t find green grass end up in some shade of red rock where trying to hit the next shot is almost impossible. Keep it in play.
For a remarkable round of golf at a price that’s more than fair, Sky Mountain should be at the top of your list.
Green Spring Golf Course
Green Spring Golf Course is only part of the story at the world-class recreation facility in the town of Washington. In addition to a user-friendly track, the facility has mountain biking trails, football and baseball fields, natural greenspaces, and indoor courts for basketball and tennis.
If I ever bring my family on this trip, you can bet we will spend a significant amount of time here.
Always in great condition, affordable, and user-friendly, it’s hard to have a bad day at Green Spring.
SunRiver Golf Club
Set in the heart of the Virgin River Valley, SunRiver Golf Club is one of the truest tests of golf in the Saint George area.
Some of the purest greens in Southern Utah are complemented by lush fairways which are bordered by native desert scrub.
If you’re looking to improve your game, Head PGA Professional, Larry Ricketts, has the reputation as one of the best instructors in the state. Coupled with top-notch practice facilities, your game is sure to improve at SunRiver.
A quality test of golf and some of the best greens around, SunRiver is a must play when you’re in Saint George.
Dixie Red Hills Golf Club
You guys know I’m a fan of old-school designs that are a little quirky. In Saint George, there aren’t too many. But Dixie Red Hills is most certainly one that fits the bill.
Opened in the 1960’s, this nine-hole par 34 layout meanders through red rock escarpments that are not only beautiful, but give the course a ton of character.
You don’t have to be a long hitter to score well at Dixie Red Hills. In fact, the course rewards accuracy and precision more than it does length.
Particularly memorable are holes one, three, and six. I won’t spoil the surprise but let’s just say that there’s a lot more than meets the eye on these holes.
What I enjoy most about Dixie Red Hills is the casual, friendly atmosphere. Along with being walker-friendly, you’ll feel at peace around here, regardless of what your scorecard says at the end.
Saint George Golf Club
As its name might imply, Saint George Golf Course is owned and operated by the city proper.
Having played here a number of times, I can say that I light it up with the putter (not something I can say often). That’s because the greens are as pure as the driven snow. Get your speed right out here and you’ll feel like Steph Curry behind the arc.
This track has a lot more going for it than just pure greens though. The layout itself is just plain fun. No real surprises, but a balanced mix of holes have you hitting every club in your bag.
Of particular note are the challenging par threes, the majority of which are lengthy and play over water. Commit to your tee shot or you might be reloading and carding a big number.
A shining model of what city-run courses can be, I’m a huge fan of Saint George Golf Club.
Southgate Golf Club
Also operated by the city of Saint George is Southgate Golf Club.
Even though the Santa Clara River weaves through this course and can swallow up errant shots, the fairways are generous here. That’s especially true on the front nine.
The back nine is a different story, however. The fairways get a little narrower and precision becomes the name of the game if you’re going to score.
Each time I’ve played here, I’ve been blown away by the level of service. In fact, last time I was here, the staff greeted me by name, and I suspect that will be the case when I show up again in October.
Good vibes only at Southgate.
I love Las Vegas and don’t get me wrong, I’ll be back before too long. With that being said, Saint George is just a short drive away and has just as much to offer when it comes to quality golf.
It’s the middle of August as I write this, and I’m already daydreaming about a week in Saint George come October.
As always, I couldn’t have written this article without your help. So, my sincerest thanks.
If you have additional thoughts about golf in this Southwest Utah paradise, please do let us know in the comments below.