Opening with two stout par fives, the Coral Canyon golf course stretches to just over 7,000 yards from the tournament tees. It’s a spectacular Keith Foster design where the emerald fairways contrast sharply against the red rock of the surrounding desert landscape.
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