Most golf courses in Utah have impressive mountain vistas as backdrops, but TalonsCove is a relative rarity in that its headlining feature is a lake. Although the public-access facility is south of Salt Lake City, the clear water here is actually Utah Lake.
Gene Bates makes the low handicapper think twice before moving to the back tees: At 7,100 yards, they’re nearly 700 yards longer than the next set. But, if it’s any consolation, the high altitude here will give you a little bit of extra distance.
The final four give you about every challenge once could imagine on the way back into the clubhouse: No. 15 is the longest par five on the property, at 590 yards. No. 16 is a potentially drivable par four tempting the big hitters, at just 315 yards from the back tees. No. 17 is a stiff par three, 225 yards and lined along the right with both a sizable bunker and the waterfront. Finally, No. 18 is a long par four bringing you back to the green that is shared with No. 9.
Oh, and don't get us wrong: TalonsCove also has mountain vistas along with the lake...Mount Timpanogos rises in the background.
TalonsCove at Saratoga Springs is a classic links style course that benefits well from its location on the side of Utah Lake. When it comes to views, this one easily ranks high for Northern Utah on that alone. As a Links course, it delivers everything you should expect: rolling hills and loads and loads of bunkers. Also, due to the natural slope of the land it’s on, you get some nice usage of downhill holes. And it’s a standard relatively cheap Utah rate to get on.
There’s not too much more to say about the layout that I haven’t said already, it’s a lakeside links course. You will be playing between a lot of housing, which might make some afraid of an errant shot causing damage (though that would take a pretty spectacular mishit). Also, while it’s forgivable due to the extreme drought conditions at the time of this review, the greens weren’t in the greatest shape, I in particular found myself misfortunate enough to have an awkward put across a green divot at one point.
3: A moderately short par 4, only a super long hitter could reach this in one, so layup short of the small creek.
6: An impressively nasty par 3, it’s the course’s longest by a wide margin. Make sure to get on or miss right, or else be ready to playout out of the bunkers.
9: A short slightly uphill par 5 that makes a great subtle risk reward design with its left bunker. If you can clear that, then you get an easy two-shot to the green. Also, the double green with 18 is a nice touch.
13: A short downhill par 5 that just epitomizes fun but challenging design. Two-shot is doable, but risky.
16: A drivable par 4, it’s appropriately heavily guarded so attempt at your own risk.
As far as links courses go in Utah, TalonsCove does deserve credit. Nice views and great location put it a cut above most other similar courses in the area. There are other courses in Utah that could scratch a similar itch for links, Draper’s South Mountain is also really good and so is Soldier Hollow while other, albeit flatter, links layouts are in no short supply in Northern Utah. It’s also a bit hard to say it’s better than a round at the nearby Thanksgiving Point unless views, an easier layout, and cheaper price are what you’d prefer. But for its price and location, TalonsCove is a worthwhile course that is for Utah locals, and visitors who need an additional round after playing the more famous Utah Courses shouldn’t be too disappointed. Maybe wait for another year besides 2021 if dubious green conditions are too much of a turnoff.
Talons Cove was a better layout before the invasion of housing simply overwhelmed the golf experience. The layout by Gene Bates is quite good -- plenty of movements, good hole diversity and above average shotmaking challenges.
The usage of a double-green at the par-4 9th and the concluding long par-4 18th works very well and I wish more courses would do include this element when the situations arise.
The penultimate long par-3 17th is an eyeful with Utah Lake to the immediate right.
Talons Cove has its moments but the claustrophobic involvement of the housing causes an intrusion that takes away from the overall experience. If one is seeking a bit more on the golf side of the aisle head to nearby Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.
M. James Ward
Fun course to play. Definitely a top course in the state. Bunkers have always been hard, though. I've been playing the course for over 10 years and every time I've played, this has been the case. The views of Utah Lake on both the front and back 9 have gotten worse because of all the new homes being built. The back 9 especially. It used to have the best views in all of Utah County. Still, the course is fun and has some great links feel.
Played it for first time last week and it’s a terrific layout right on the lake. Has a nice links feel to it. We walked it for 35.00 and I will be back. Drove the 285 yard 16th only to 3 putt from the fringe. Another inexpensive, really good course in Utah