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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, November 15, 2010

Golf in red rock country: The secret is out

The LA Times has this interesting article about golf opportunities in the St George area. The title above sums up the article. Below are excerpts.

Lush greens set amid black lava rocks and red sandstone cliffs make St. George one of the more scenic desert golf destinations in the country. But there's another equally alluring draw: the value.

The economic downturn and an abundance of high-quality courses within a 20-minute radius of this southern Utah community have helped make it an increasingly popular and affordable golfing getaway.

Green fees that include unlimited rounds, range balls and a cart can be had for about $40 in the hot off-season months, which for most courses lasts through September. Some courses throw in lunch packages and have cheaper "twilight rates" starting as early as 10 a.m.

Even during the peak golfing season — roughly October to May — the fees range from about $50 to $125 and are less than many comparable courses in Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Many newcomers are retirees. That growth, in part, led to the construction of the city's nicer courses, which anchor upscale housing developments. Several of those courses, including Sand Hollow and Coral Canyon, apparently have aspirations of becoming private clubs someday, according to local golfers. One such course, the Ledges at St. George, is a beautiful 7,200-yard championship course that has struggled financially and recently changed owners.

The Ledges was virtually deserted during an early morning, midweek round that cost $40, including range balls and a GPS-equipped golf cart that lets golfers know precisely how far their ball is from the pin.

As a result, golf managers are increasingly looking to attract players from outside the city's limits. Besides golf, there are other outdoor activities to entice visitors, including mountain biking, hiking and excursions to nearby state and national parks. St. George is just a 35-minute drive to Zion National Park.

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