The Coral Canyon Golf Course takes its name from the red rock formations that resemble aquatic lifeforms (never mind that you’re also near the municipality of Hurricane, Utah). Keeping an eye on Keith Foster’s strategic design, and not the forty-mile views available from some of these fairways, will be a challenge. Although residential developments occasionally come into view, they are kept well at-hand from the course, and Foster utilizes the native terrain to provide the majority of the challenge.
No. 6 is a par three deserving of a mention among the St. George region’s many scenic one-shotters. It seems relatively simple, at just 122 yards from the back tees. There is little to hit aside from the green, however, with desert scrub surrounding the putting surface and a cliff face off to the left. Foster is known for his numerous restoration projects at A.W. Tillinghast courses, but he creates a “Hell’s Quarter Acre” of his own at No. 12.
The conclusion to this round is a little atypical, as players will play their final par four at No. 15, before finishing with a par five, a par three, and one last par five. Get some shots back!
Coral Canyon is certainly one of the most convenient courses to play in St. George, being only a short drive of the freeway. Yet, the course has just never had the strongest draw to me, as it's among the few courses I've played only once in the area, even with its exceptionally great deal with the Utah PGA book. It might just be me, but this course is little more than standard for the region.
This isn't a review I'll be splitting into different 9s, as I just don't think they are terribly distinct from each other. You'll get some of the signature St. George flavor, with dramatic rises and falls on the course, but with one exception, the course just doesn't particularly stand out as memorable above the others.
-5th: A downhill par 4, but with an interesting rock formation to the right. Hooks to the left have a decent chance of bouncing into the fairway, making it a surprisingly forgiving hole.
-6th: The signature hole, a short par 3 with a big green and otherwise surrounded by the natural landscape, including a small cliff to the right.
Overall, the course is fine, especially for those looking for a good challenge. But I found the course lacking in any great hooks to place it over other courses in this great region, especially when it's one of the more expensive courses to play. If you have the Utah PGA book to play its free* round promotion, then it's worth playing for that alone, especially since it can be used any time of the year. But it's otherwise difficult to recommend. With so many other great courses to play in the area, you're likely better off checking those out instead.
* Requires a $25 cart fee per player.
After playing Sand Hollow a few times in April 2020, thought we would play Coral Canyon since the forward tees would be better for my wife. Unfortunately, the course does not live up to its billing. Conditions were below mediocre and even the great routing of the back 9 couldn’t save it. Don’t waste your time when Sand Hollow is only 10mn away and the costs are similar. Too many other options in the greater St George area.
My first time at Coral Canyon was not long after it opened in 2001 and I really enjoyed the end product that architect Keith Foster provided. Fast-forward to current time and my most recent visit just a few weeks ago exposed me to the realities of what Mother Nature can do.
The course endured a series of flash floods and several of the holes were impacted. There's been an expedited attempt to bring things back to where they were and the Foster design is still present and is done well.
The off-course scenery makes for plenty of eye-candy when on the course. Foster provided sufficient width so even when winds do blow -- and they can certainly do that at times -- there's enough breathing space so one doesn't feel as if you're under gun of hitting top tier drives with each hole.
Foster was most adept in making sure many of the holes provide for key turn points. It's not enough when playing to hit the ball straight but if you wish to secure the best approach angle you'll need to shape shots to get to those positions.
The overall routing of Coral Canyon is another plus. The movement in the land and the different combination of holes does not permit players to get complacent. Credit Foster for understanding how a daily fee course must walk the line smartly in providing a sufficient test of golf but never to the point where golfers will feel choked by a high bar of golf demands that only a few can meet.
It will be most interesting when all the remedial work of the course is concluded and if matters get back to what they were previously. My assessment at this point is based on what I witnessed during my last visit but I know full well that if the path they are headed honors the original intent Foster provided then the standing of the course will only benefit and once again be a layout worth scheduling when coming through the greater St. George area.
M. James Ward