There is no mistaking the extraordinary temptations of St. George: When daytime temperatures begin to cool — as they already have — there are few destinations that offer Coloradans the close-by convenience, the surreal splendor and the outright awesome golf experiences that come second nature to “Utah’s Dixie.”
Here, the outdoors beckons with a litany of sun-splashed options like boating, rock climbing, ATVing, skydiving, mountain and road biking, hiking, hot air ballooning, horseback riding and more. And for golfers, St. George’s allure delivers with 11 superlative courses, all situated within a 40-mile radius know as the Red Rock Golf Trail.
For instance, we’ve been fans of Sand Hollow Resort’s top-ranked, John Fought-crafted golf facility since its opening in 2008. Brilliantly configured among steep ridgelines and plunging canyons, the 27-hole routing is further enhanced by towering red sandstone outcrops and cathedrals, plus breath-stealing backdrops of Pine Valley Mountain. Guests further enjoy one- to six-bedroom luxury villas and casitas, gourmet dining, fitness center and easy access to Sand Hollow State Park and Zion National Park.
Thanksgiving Point in nearby Lehy is another premier vacation experience. Listed one spot behind Sand Hollow on Golfweek magazine’s Best Courses You Can Play in Utah rankings, its 7,714-yard golf course (Johnny Miller) anchors a burgeoning attraction of botanical gardens, educational programs, museum exhibits, spa treatments, casual dining and boutique shopping.
By lodging at the luxuriously appointed Inn at Entrada — which earned a 2016 Best Resorts in the Southwest nod by Golf Digest — well-heeled guests earn playing privileges at the highly regarded Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club (Miller). The course’s red-rock landscapes, mountain streams and ancient black lava flows dramatically boost an already dazzling desert challenge.
Your must-play golf getaway also should include Coral Canyon. The 2016 CAGGY travel award winner (Best Golf Experience) is underscored by a target-style routing (Keith Foster) that pushes the “natural wonders” envelope with massive rock outcroppings and extraordinary views of Bryce Canyon’s snow-capped spires.
Coordinate your vacation by including some of southern Utah’s world-class events, including the St. George Marathon (Oct. 1), fifth largest in America and ranked among the continent’s most scenic footraces; the 10,000-athletes-strong Huntsman World Senior Games (Oct. 3-15); and the preeminent Ironman 70.3 U.S. Pro Championship (May 6, 2017), which welcomes 2,500 athletes and 10,000 visitors to the area.
St. George is less than a 10-hour drive or one-hour and forty-minute flight from Denver (SkyWest), and is a 35-minute drive from the gaming and golf in Mesquite, Nev. To learn more about this popular four-season destination, go online to visitstgeorge.com.
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer. Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.