Hankering to hit the fairways, but not sure where to tee off first? Here, we deliver a guide to nine area courses—each of which has its own unique challenges and charms—and offers public access.
Play like a local
At Park City Golf Club, people with all abilities can find their groove at this 18-hole gem nestled in the heart of town. “By today’s standards, it’s not a very long golf course, but with tree-lined fairways and tricky-to-read greens, it creates a great balance between long hitters and those that hit it straight,” says head professional Vaughn Robinson. Originally designed by Utah landscape architect William Neff in 1965, the layout offers minimal carries off the tee and opportunities to run the ball up onto the green if necessary, with six new forward tees available for golfers this season.
Fun for the whole family
Opened in 2015, Canyons Golf , features more than 550 feet of elevation changes that provide brilliant backdrops perfect for your vacation selfie. But its family-friendly programs might be the biggest draw: “Kids Swing Free” on Monday and Wednesday evenings with a paying adult ($35 for nine holes), and on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m., $25 gets you a 20-minute lesson and nine holes of golf. Designed by Gene and Casey Bates, this 18-hole par-70 design has four sets of tees, five par 5s, seven par 3s, and a dramatic finish featuring a true island green at 18, 100 percent surrounded by Willow Draw Stream. Pro tip: Up your “snack shack” game with a hot dog topped with bacon marmalade!
Best bang for your buck
Located just nine miles down I-80 toward Salt Lake City, Mountain Dell sits at a 6,000-foot elevation in Parleys Canyon and offers two 18-hole layouts, a full-size driving range with grass tees—not mats—and twilight rates starting daily as early as 3 p.m. Pricing for 18 holes with a cart on the Lake or Canyon Course is just $42, and greens fees drop to $35 after 5 p.m. Mountain Dell also offers a LoyalTee Discount Card for $75 (available for purchase at any SLC municipal course) that drops fees to $32 for 18 holes ($17 for nine), $26 ($14 for nine) for seniors age 60 and older, plus a 30 percent discount on range balls.
Hideout for a quick nine
Short on time doesn’t mean short on challenges at The Outlaw Golf Club the area’s only public nine-hole executive course located along the eastern foothills above the sparkling Jordanelle Reservoir in Hideout Canyon. This par-30 track features six par-3 holes ranging from 65 to 235 yards and three par 4s ranging from 250 to 465 yards, so players can use the full range of their clubs, including their driver. The impressive views of Park City’s ski areas, Mt. Timpanogos, and the Uinta Mountains are a bonus, as is pricing for players who decide once just isn’t enough: Rates for a “same-day re-round” are just half the nine-hole rate.
Swing into golf-getaway mode
“Vacation mode” is just a stone’s throw away at Homestead Golf Club, located at Homestead Resort in Midway. The resort was built in 1886 and is home to the iconic Homestead Crater, a geothermal spring hidden within a 55-foot-tall, beehive-shape limestone rock that’s open for soaks, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Book the “Crater Soak Package” to add overnight accommodations and crater access, and look for “Stay and Play” packages all season long. The course, which opened in 1989, was designed by three-time PGA Tour Champions winner Bruce Summerhays, also a University of Utah graduate. Recent course improvements include GPS-equipped carts, smoother cart paths, realigned tees, new ponds, and water features fed completely by crater water.
Bring your binoculars
With its gorgeous setting in Wasatch Mountain State Park, Wasatch Golf boasts 36 holes set at extra elevation that provide a welcome respite during the dog days of summer. But head golf pro Chris Stover says perhaps the Lake and Canyon Courses’ greatest draw is their teeming wildlife, including deer, elk, wild turkeys, squirrels, multiple species of birds, and the occasional moose. Enjoy nature at its best all season long with Utah State Parks’ Golf Elevated passes, offering discounts on greens fees, carts, and additional privileges at nearby Soldier Hollow.
Best test of your competitive prowess
For those looking to test their skills against the game’s best, tee it up at Soldier Hollow’s Gold Course, site of the 2012 USGA US Amateur Public Links, the only USGA event ever held in Utah. The course measures a whopping 7,719 yards from the back tees and features narrow undulating fairways lined with club-tangling native grasses, tee shots that require longer carry, and tricky fast greens. At 7,355 yards from the tips, the Silver Course is the tamer of Soldier Hollow’s two tracks, and both its front and back nines have three par 3s, three par 4s, and three par 5s, offering a twist to the conventional two-two-five configuration. Pro tip: With each of the four nines looping back near the clubhouse, it’s easy to squeeze in a quick nine late in the day.
Check off a bucket-list track
Playing a Pete Dye design is on many golfers’ wish lists, and players can tick off that box at the Dye Canyon Course at Promontory Club. This 7,690-yard monster makes dramatic use of the rugged terrain’s hills and canyons and rewards accuracy for those willing to take advantage of Dye’s signature risk/reward layout. Public access is limited, however, to just 32 players a day (eight tee times). PGA Tour winner and Salt Lake City native Tony Finau holds the course record with a 62, but with six sets of tee boxes to choose from, all players have a shot at feeling like a champion.
For students of the game
While Red Ledges is a private community built around the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course (and unique 12-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Park), it is also home to the prestigious Jim McLean Golf Academy, which is open to the public and offers one-on-one instruction as well as clinics to golfers of all abilities. The academy includes an indoor facility equipped with a course simulator, TrackMan Launch Monitor measurement system, and the latest JC Video Systems swing analysis software. Experience the full member treatment with Red Ledges’ “Stay, Play and Learn” package offering a two-night stay in a private cabin or cottage, six hours of golf instruction, lunch, and two rounds of golf.
Editor's Note: Currently, many clubs are operating with new procedures in place and some services may be limited due to Covid-19. Be sure to check in with each entity for the latest protocols.