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St. George’s Toughest 3 Holes

Golfing in Greater Zion, A Love Hate Relationship

If you’ve played golf in the St. George area then you know there’s some terrain that you just don’t come across on your typical golf courses. Playing in the desert can require a whole new bag of tricks especially if you’re off the fairways.  I’ve had the privilege of playing all 10 courses on the Red Rock Golf Trail and picked 3 holes that consistently seem to give golfers trouble.

3. Elevated Tees

What’s not to love about The Ledges Golf course above St. George? It’s a little higher elevation so it’s a little cooler and the ball flies a little farther.  Spectacular views of Snow Canyon’s red rock cliffs and the natural fish shaped rock feature that gives their Fish Rock Grill it’s name make this course a delight.

But one hole seems to spark a love/hate relationship among golfers. #15 is only a 320-yard par 4 that tantalizes you with an elevated tee and begs for a birdie, but don’t do it. It’s deceiving. The river wash crosses the hole twice and splits the fairway from the green.

View of golf course from an elevated tee.

Standing on the tee it looks totally drivable, but the slope of the green is unforgiving. One year in May, when we had LPGA Tour Pro Natalie Gulbis here, she suggested to play it safe with a 6 iron to the end of the fairway, then a short cut shot across the wash to land the ball safely on the green to keep it from rolling off. The taunting tee shot and the seemingly endless sloping green quickly turn birdies into bogies and make this hole one of the toughest holes on the Red Rock Golf Trail.

2. Rough, REAL Rough

Sunbrook Golf Course is known for it’s variety of all the best features of St. George golf. From shooting on the tops of mesas, to playing among the palm trees, Sunbrook has three 9-hole courses that embody the beauty of living in a desert golf community. But one hole that consistently causes ProV1’s to panic is #7 on the Blackrock 9, a 441-yard par four from the tips. It’s 305 yards to the end of the fairway where you then have a 136-yard carry over water to a green surrounded by hazards.

Aerial view of golf course with black lava rock and yellow lines drawn from tee to fairway to green.

Though the hole is mostly open and unobstructed by trees or any vertical challenges, you don’t want to flub the fairways because both sides are lined with razor sharp lava rock. If you have a hard time playing it straight, your golf game will look more like a pinball game and you’ll tear up your Titleists. It’s recommended playing it safe with 2 shots up the fairway, pray for that perfect chip onto the green and if you’re lucky, 1 putt your way to par. If you end up in the lava, just let it go because there isn’t a 6 iron out there that can save you from this rough.

Golf course with black lava rocks in foreground.

1. The Red Rock Ravine at Green Spring

Hole #6 at Green Spring has been beating up scorecards with bogies for almost 30 years. Course designer Gene Bates a little while ago and ask him what he was thinking when he designed the course. He said he really wanted to capture the essence of desert golf and play to the natural beauty of the area. When they got clearance to build a couple of holes across the red rock ravine he knew the course would have the character to leave an indelible mark on the memory and score card of every golfer who played there.

Aerial view of golf course with yellow lines drawn from tee to fairway to green.

After a gorgeous short par 3 across the ravine, #6 is a 449 yard par 4 that double dog dares you to get back across the cavernous canyon. From the blue tees, in order to score, you’re looking at 280 yards to the edge of the crevasse where you then have a 160 yard force carry to the green that will test your target golf abilities. Most golfers lay up to the canyon edge on their second shot, take a safe 105 yard carry across the ravine, then plan to chip and putt their way to a bogie. It seems like every time you play there, the Golf Gods require the sacrifice of a ball to the canyon from at least one person in the group, and that’s why it’s at the top of my list of the toughest holes.