Featuring wonderful links-like topography within a spectacular setting, the 27-hole Sand Hollow resort facility – with its fabulous 18-hole Championship course complemented by a delightful 9-hole Links layout – was constructed entirely out of native red sand by architect John Fought.
The Championship layout extends to almost 7,300 yards, with golfers afforded amazing views of the surrounding landscape from the red rock outcrops that proliferate the front nine. Pronounced elevation changes across a dramatic ridge line dominate proceedings on the back nine, prompting immediate repeat play requests from many of the players who tee it up here for the first time.
Visiting golfers should note that the use of a cart is compulsory on the Championship course.
Head Professional Adam Jasperson kindly provided us with the following comments:
“Our scorecard is rated by the USGA and shows that hole 6 is the most difficult but, in my opinion, hole 18 is the toughest for a few reasons. It’s typically the last hole of the day and it can be after a long four-hour grind that you address your final tee shot at this uphill par four. The fairway is spotted with bunkers at 230-260 yards and 250-280 yards, located at the landing areas for an array of players. The green is protected by another four bunkers and the putting surface isn’t visible from the fairway so this hole will test both your physical and mental ability.
Hole 15 is without a doubt our signature hole, known as “Devil’s Throat”. It features no fewer than eleven tee boxes, allowing shots of between 160 yards and 245 yards downhill to the two-tier green. The right side of the green is protected with knee-high grasses and bunkers whilst a cliff skirts the left side and has been known to consume errant tee shots with ease. Coming so late in the round, a big number taken at this dangerous hole will ruin a good medal score or swing a tight match play game in favour of your opponent.”
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to play Sand Hollow which is in the Mormon state of a Utah and is just a 2 hour drive from Las Vegas. The unique aspect to this course apart from the stunning desert backdrop is its Mars sand like bunkers which gives it an other-worldly feel.
The opening hole is a generous par 4 with one of the widest fairways you're ever likely to play. You could play the tee shot blindfolded like Chevy Chase in Caddyshack and still find the fairway. How you play the hole entirely depends on your approach shot to the green, but it is a nice way to ease yourself into the round. And that's similar how the course largely plays until you get to the 9th hole which has more elevation than the others with the hole gradually rising all the way to a green quite high up and the superb clubhouse perched behind it.
The 10th is a lovely tee shot looking down on a long generous par 5 fairway and the 11th a good par 3 where you have to aim left of the green so the ball feeds right onto the sloping left to right green. Lovely vistas across the Mars-esque dunescape greet you when you finally arrive at the green.
One of the signature holes is the iconic 12th. A glorious par 4, you tee off from an elevated tee to what looks like a relatively thin strip of lush green fairway sandwiched between desert rock on the right and a cliff on the left. The hole goes pretty straight all the way upwards to the green which is protected by deep bunkers on the right. It is an absolutely stunning hole and is almost worth making the journey here to play it.
The 13th is a driveable par 4 from a raised tee and another visually cracking hole. The 15th is Sand Hollow's actual signature hole being a beautiful par 3. You tee off between some amazing rock formations to a two-tiered green and a mesmerising backdrop that only Utah can provide. Finding this green in one gave me goosebumps.
The par 4 18th is a suitably great finishing hole. The hole plays uphill and a dogleg left towards the clubhouse and a rock formation sitting next to it and is littered with those huge planet Mars sand-filled bunkers.
Sand Hollow was quite a journey to play it but nevertheless a journey I am very glad to have made. The course was in excellent condition, with true greens and I went home with memories that will last for a lifetime.