What to Expect: The newest addition to the red rock landscape of the St. George area is the John Fought (BYU alum) designed Sand Hollow course. The front nine is a solid offering with some decent sized elevation changes as the course travels through the surrounding sage brush and orange colored bunkers that compliment the impressive the rock outcroppings found throughout. But the large greens and layout of the front nine isn’t what you’ll tell your friends about; it’s the mind-blowing back nine that will put Sand Hollow on the map. Holes 11-15 represent the finest five hole stretch in the state and one of the most dramatic stretches in the country. It includes a driveable par four, mind blowing par three, and a 525 yard par four that all play along the canyon rim. Playing over, along, and through orange canyons and rock outcroppings at this desert course is a great experience and puts this course among the elite tracks in the state; public or private. (There is also a nine hole links course at Sand Hollow that features massive greens and plenty of undulation)
Signature Hole: 15th (Devil’s Throat) – 230 Yard Par 3 – The Devil’s Throat at Sand Hollow is one of the finest and most exciting par 3s in the entire West. I had read about the hole a year or two prior to the course opening and they were making comparisons to #16 at Cypress Point. While at the time I thought such comparisons were borderline sacrilegious, it actually did live up to hype. It’s not better than Cypress Point’s Holy Grail hole, but it is pretty darn good! With various tee boxes, rock outcroppings, and a classic Redan shaped green; the 15th at Sand Hollow is flat out awesome.
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: 11th – 190 Yards – It’s tough to argue that the 15th hole isn’t the best par three on the property, but the 11th is good enough that it is worthy of being featured as well. This nearly 200 yard hole features a large mound left of the green that will kick balls back towards the putting surface. On the right of the green is a deep bunker complex that stands as the last barrier between the course and a huge canyon wall drop. The green angles from front left to back right and delivers significant fear to a golfer when the pin is in the back of the green resting only a few yards from the deadly canyon wall.
Best Par 4: 12th – 443 Yards – The first par four on the back nine is an impressive offering with dramatic features. Off the tee there is a deep, natural gulch to carry to a raised fairway. Up towards the green there is a fairway bunker on the left and a deep bunker next to the putting surface on the right. The green is slightly raised above the fairway while still sitting in a natural bowl created by the surrounding rock. A small backdrop is featured behind the rear left portion of the green and provides an opportunity to work the ball back towards the pin when attacking the green from the right side. With towering red rock to the right and a cliff wall to the left, this is an exhilarating hole to play on the fun-filled back nine.
Best Par 5: 10th – 565 Yards – The incredible back nine at Sand Hollow begins with expansive downhill par five. Featuring views across the impressive southern Utah terrain from the tee box, the golfer must decide whether he wants to challenge the collection of bunkers up the left side in an effort to shorten the hole or whether to play it safe to the right and reduce the chances of reaching the green in two. The fairway starts climbing uphill and creates a mostly blind approach shot when attacking the green from over 200 yards out. Avoiding the large, orange center cut bunker on your way to the green is a critical factor in scoring well on this impressive par five.
Birdie Time: 13th – 320 Yard Par 4 – The 13th hole at Sand Hollow is regarded by many as the course’s most exciting offering. This uphill hole is driveable with a big drive and features a 100 foot cliff running along the entire left side. There is one fairway bunker up the left side and a greenside bunker on the right. The views are outstanding and the signature southern Utah red rock is featured in the background. With the potential of driving the green, the fear of the cliff edge to the left, and the fantastic setting; this is an exciting hole that offers a great chance of scoring a birdie.
Bogey Beware: 14th – 525 Yard Par 4 – When you see 525 yards on the scorecard, you naturally think you are preparing yourself to play a par five. However at Sand Hollow, the 525 yard 14th hole happens to be the longest par four on the property and a major challenge to conquer. The hole turns to the left and plays downhill so there an opportunity to catch the speed slot and chase your tee shot well down the fairway. The best chance of avoiding bogey is by playing your approach shot to the right and let the hill filter the ball back towards the putting surface, effectively eliminating the cliff edge that runs the entire left side of the hole.