Utah is a naturally diverse state where three unique geological regions happen to converge: The Colorado Plateau, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Basin. This has led to a wonderfully diverse localized climate and topographical features which make Utah one of the top tourist destinations for outdoor sports activities in the country.
Rising to a height of almost 12,000 feet above sea level, the Wasatch Range is home to some of the world’s best ski resorts and golf courses. Western Utah is mostly characterized by arid landscapes with the exception of the Snake Valley which is relatively green with wetlands and springs that feed on water supply emanating from the mountains to the west of it.
The striking south and southeastern landscape owe its unique beauty to the Colorado River and its tributaries that snakes its way around the local sandstone in the area, carving out some of the most beautiful and rugged formations such as canyons, pinnacles, arches, and mesas.
The Salt Lake Metropolitan Area (which includes the capital Salt Lake City) is home to more than a third of the state’s entire population of approximately 3.1 million.
With a diverse topography, varying elevation levels and distinct localized climate conditions, Utah is destined to be one of the great golfing destinations. Popular golfing locations are Heber Valley and Park City in the Western Region (due to their colder temperatures during the summer season), as well as St. George in the Southwestern Region (due to its year-round golfing weather).
There are about 122 golf courses in the state with a majority of them being public or semi-private courses. In this article, we are going to list down the top public golf courses in Utah, including some semi-private clubs which currently offer playing privileges to non-members after payment of corresponding green fees and other charges.
Best Golf Courses in Utah
Location: Hurricane, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,315 yards
If we successfully terraformed Mars to create beautiful living spaces and a golf course, it would resemble the Sand Hollow Golf Resort. With its red rock outcroppings and distinct desert red sands dominating the landscape, this extraordinary hideaway out of southern Utah is a surreal, almost other-worldly experience.
Composed of an 18-hole championship course, a 9-hole Scottish links-inspired course, and a wonderful 18-hole putting course, it has been recognized as the “Best Public Golf Course in Utah” by Golfweek for two consecutive years.
The layout of the 7,315-yard 72-par Championship Course is intriguing because of the way it lulls you into feeling that it is a fairly easy course as you open your round to relatively flat terrain, wide fairways and huge greens on the front nine that are laid out like a straightforward desert golf.
But as soon as you make the turn, you will be surprised to find very challenging holes on the back nine that are guaranteed to wake you out of your stupor. Holes 11-15 are laid out alongside a cliff so if the winds act up you’ll surely be having an even more difficult time. If it’s any consolation, the back nine does have some of the most absolutely mesmerizing scenery that you could ever lay your eyes on. So bring extra balls and your high-definition camera with you. You will definitely be needing both.
The Championship Course at Sand Hollow Golf Resort is a definite must-play course. A great practice facility, lovely accommodations, friendly and courteous staff as well as a host of other outdoor activities completes an exciting package to be enjoyed with friends and family.
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,872 yards
If you ever find yourself in Salt Lake City wanting to catch a round of golf but don’t have much time to spare driving out to some remote course, you’ll be glad to know that the capital city’s most popular public course is actually a mere five-minute drive from the downtown area.
Designed by William Bell, this 6,872-yard 72-par course opened in 1929 and immediately became a favorite of locals and tourists alike. With its proximity to the city’s commercial center you will be pleasantly surprised to find this tranquil hideaway providing you with wonderful scenery, spectacular mountain views, inspiring sunsets and a panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley - just a few minutes removed from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area.
But don’t let its beauty nor the affordable fees (which already comes with a cart) fool you into thinking that they have compromised the quality and layout of this course. This is a well-maintained course that provides enough challenge and excitement for players of all skill levels. Bonneville would not be regarded as the best public golf course in Salt Lake City if it was all form and no substance.
Several holes weave through a deep ravine while some densely-wooded fairways also provide an extra level of complexity to the game. The signature hole is the 470-yard, par-4 ninth-hole which requires you to accurately hit a downward landing area from an elevated tee and then forcing you to carry a shot into the opposite green across a wide ravine. Others would also point to the fifth hole as the most difficult one as it involves an uphill drive of nearly 300 yards just to get a clear view of the green and the possibility of saving par.
Location: Midway, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,719 yards
If you crave the excitement brought forth by lengthy courses, you can head on to the Soldier Hollow Golf Course if you are in the vicinity of Midway or nearby Park City. This mountainside complex is comprised of two 18-hole championship courses, namely: The Gold Course and the Silver Course; each with their own flair and distinctive challenges to appeal to all players with varying talents.
The 7,719-yard 72-par Gold Course is generally regarded as having the more difficult layout compared to its twin, the Silver Course. Sculpted through the mountainside and sitting at higher elevation levels, it offers a more nuanced layout variation between holes featuring narrow fairways, constant elevation changes, hidden hazards, and bunkers.
It is also peppered with numerous sidehill and downhill approaches, as well as some notable long carries across ravines. With its length and complex layout, this is a course that will definitely test all your bag of tricks to finish with a decent score.
Take note that it may get very busy here most of the time due to the course’s popularity and affordability, so the pace can be uncomfortably dragging in some stretches. It would also be best if you start your round early in the morning as the high winds usually start kicking up around noon.
The course is in excellent condition. They also have a charming restaurant manned by friendly and accommodating staff. The Gold Course at Soldier Hollow Golf Course is definitely one of the best public golf courses in the Midway and Park City area.
Location: Washington, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,029 yards
One of the main appeals of playing golf is to be able to compete and engage in a sport while simultaneously enjoying the beautiful scenery. The Coral Canyon Golf Course in Washington, Utah possesses all of those qualities in spades.
Designed by Keith Foster and opened in 2000, this 7,029-yard 72-par course takes advantage of the gorgeous natural features and contours of the Bryce Canyon and the Zion National Park to create a very exciting and challenging course layout while offering some of the most stunning views that you could find anywhere.
This is not a walkable course except for the fittest or most dedicated hikers. The distance from the greens to the next tee is quite far and right off the bat, you’ll be greeted with two par-5 holes that will peg your confidence down a little bit as if the course is telling you to take it more seriously.
After that, you’ll be treated to a mix of short and long holes with several wonderful risk/reward situations that will certainly test your resolve to either play big or play safe. All the while, you will be treated to spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and red rock formations that are representative of the area’s natural topography.
The signature hole is the 122-yard, par-3 6th hole which is famous for its island green surrounded by red rock formations and red sand bunkers. Although the tee shot can be a little daunting, if you play the tee shot right and manage to stick the landing on the green then you will be rewarded with a very makeable birdie opportunity.
These are just some of the main reasons why the Coral Canyon Golf Course has been included as one of the “Top 10 Courses You Can Play in the US” by Golf Magazine and among the top five courses in Utah by Golf Digest.
Location: Layton, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,162 yards
Offering great views of the Wasatch Mountains and the Salt Lake Valley below, the Valley View Golf Course is acknowledged by many to be one of the most challenging courses in the state of Utah. It has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the “Top 75 Golf Courses” and as a “Super Value Course”.
No two holes are alike, which speaks to the excellent hole variation that the course provides. Undulating greens and sidehill lies are constant companions throughout your round. Elevated tees, constant elevation changes, numerous water hazards, and bunkers also provide additional challenges for you to overcome. Low-handicap players will admit that if you made it out of here with your typical score then you have certainly played a great round of golf.
This is a great value for your money and certainly one of the best public golf courses in the Salt Lake Valley area. The only knock against the facility is that the pace can be quite slow especially during weekends as a result of its popularity and affordability.
Location: St. George, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,145 yards
The Ledges Golf Club, situated in Utah’s de-facto golf capital of St. George, is one of those courses that seem to have split personalities. Just when you thought the front nine seems to be relatively flat and run-of-the-mill, the back nine comes alive and saves the day with some of the most challenging holes that you could ever play on in the midst of some truly exquisite views of Snow Canyon and the surrounding scenery provided by this southwestern Utah landscape.
There is not a flat lie anywhere on this course and the winds can make it even more difficult. It features extraordinary red rock outcroppings and panoramic views of the nearby State Park. Its cross-cut Rye grass fairways and bent grass greens are kept in immaculate condition throughout the year, and because it is located in southern Utah, the course is open throughout the whole year even during the winter season.
The practice facility includes the driving range, putting greens, as well as chipping and bunker practice. Maximize your experience by availing of their stay-and-play packages with some of your friends, and save some significant fees in the process.
Their friendly staff, excellent course conditions, and practice facilities are just some of the reasons why the Ledges Golf Club is acknowledged as one of the best golf courses in St. George and in southern Utah.
Location: Springville, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,406 yards
Nestled in a canyon with fairways that have been sculpted right through the surrounding trees, the Hobble Creek Golf Course in Springville is a very beautiful mountain course that offers more excitement than its deceiving 6,406 yardage. It doesn’t actually have very dramatic elevation changes and because of its shorter length, this is a very walkable course if you prefer not to drive a cart around.
Designed by William P. Bell, the course favors the more accurate players than those who play with raw power. Because of the fact that it is built right out of the canyon and the surrounding woods, you are bound to lose a lot of balls if you don’t manage to keep your ball straight.
The course is very well-maintained, and if you play during the fall the colors from the mature trees and the views from the canyon will provide some of the most breath-taking backdrop during your round. The hole layout variation is top-notch and is part of the reason Hobble Creek GC is considered as one of the best golf courses in Utah County. The front nine is already exciting enough on its own, but the back nine is on a whole another level with its very narrow fairways, crisscrossing streams, sand traps, and water hazards expected to challenge every shot-making skill that you have in your bag.
This is a real ‘value for your money’ facility and a definite ‘cant-miss’ whenever you are somewhere in the vicinity of Utah County. The staff are well-trained and friendly. If you feel the need to energize in the middle of your round you can order from the 9th hole for some refreshing snacks.
Location: Draper, Salt Lake County, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,080 yards
Originally opened in 1998 as an upscale private golf course, the South Mountain Golf Club has since been opened to the public after it was subsequently acquired by the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation. Though some of the more affluent amenities had to be taken off, the course itself still maintains its exciting layout and excellent condition despite the drastic reduction in green fees to make it more accessible to the public.
To make for a truly great round, show up earlier than your tee time to take advantage of their spectacular driving range (which has actual greens for targets), as well as the putting and chipping practice facilities. A proper warm-up will help you prepare for the game as the course layout is particularly difficult.
The cart rental is incorporated into the green fees as this is a mandatory cart facility. The distance between greens to the next tees are quite considerable with very pronounced elevation changes. Do not expect your ball to have the typical bounce when it hits the fairway as the sandy soil that it’s laid upon has the tendency to just suck the momentum out of your drives. On the flip side, they are especially handy if you have to stick the landing out of your high shots.
There are several blind shots as well as some excellent risk-reward situations that you wish you could replay over and over just to try out the various possibilities. Most of the holes are also double-tiered, adding to the complexity of the entire course.
Some of the more memorable holes are the 155-yard, par-3 11th hole with its hillside ledge, and the 390-yard, par-4 12th hole offering risk-reward excitement by choosing either between a longer dogleg route or going for another angle and gunning straight for the green by carrying a vast waste area.
Designed by former PGA Championship and US Open champion David Graham, the South Mountain Golf Club is a welcome addition to the list of great golf courses in the area. It is definitely one of the best golf courses in Salt Lake County.
Location: Midway, Wasatch County, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,459 yards(Mountain Course)
Holes: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,942 yards(Lake Course)
Wasatch Mountain State Park features a 36-hole golf club comprised of two distinct courses: The Mountain Course and the Lake Course. Both are magnificent and challenging in their own unique ways. The newer course, completed only in 1998, is the Mountain Course which actually evolved in phases over the years until it eventually reached its present 18-hole layout. The older course, opened in 1967, is the Lake Course which is characterized by flatter terrains and a relatively more open landscape - in stark contrast to its younger sibling.
Consistently named as one of the top public courses in Utah by Golf Digest, the Mountain Course flawlessly blends into the mountain’s natural terrain. It offers striking sceneries of the Heber Valley below and at 6,000 feet, you will enjoy cooler temperatures even at the peak of the summer season. The Park is very protective of its wildlife, so don’t be shocked if you see a deer or some other animals during your round.
The Lake course is often regarded as the easier course among the two. It is a well-loved course, however, as it is noted to be one of the most affordable and scenic golf courses in the state of Utah. Indicative of its name, it integrates eight water hazards out of lakes and ponds to add to the course’s complexity.
With two distinct courses catering to all golfers of different skill levels, affordable fees, and amazing natural sceneries, it is no wonder why the Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course is considered as one of the best golf courses in Wasatch County.
Location: Logan, Cache County, Utah
Holes: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,502 yards
This 18-hole, par-71 golf course expertly weaves around the beautiful Logan River. It provides a sense of the wild and certain solitude to the entire course layout, as well as a sense of danger as you are left imagining what kind of dangers could be lurking below those waters, even if it’s actually just the marshes and swamps that are ready to gobble up your balls with every errant shot.
The entire course is inundated with water hazards and numerous waste areas that you have to bring an extra sleeve of balls, just in case. There are several forced carries over water and one par-5 even has an island fairway. The par-5s are very challenging and the risk-reward par-4s are super exciting to play.
Designed by the well-known golf architect Robert Muir Graves, this is an absolutely gorgeous must-play course which you should give a try if ever you are in the vicinity. It is quite simply one of the best golf courses in Cache County, Utah.
Utah is noted for its geographical diversity, as such it also offers a diverse selection of outdoor activities, including a number of highly-rated golf courses.
With a variety of courses to choose from, you can opt to go for a desert course, a mountain course, valley course, or even a lake course depending on what piques your interest at any given moment. All of the courses exhibit their own distinct sceneries and wonderful views that are truly mesmerizing and remarkable for their diversity and sheer beauty, as well as for their unique individual capacities to provide you with some of the most exciting rounds of golf that you could ever have.