Opened in 1997, this Johnny Miller signature Course challenges you with its' woods, hills and length. Wonderful views of the Jordan River. Nasty bunkers and water in play on 7 holes. Already it has been named one of the top ten new public courses in 1997 by Golf Magazine.
The Thanksgiving Point Golf Course is a privately owned golf course that is open to the public. The name used to be the Ambush Golf Course at Thanksgiving Point but it has since been changed.
The course is part of a 550 acre attraction that includes botanical gardens, animal exhibits, a nursery, restaurants, a hotel and retail shops. At the present time the facility is open, but some construction and development is still in progress.
Upon arriving in the parking lot a team of attendants will load your clubs onto a cart. If you have time before your round you can ask the attendant for a bucket of practice balls and take the cart to the driving range.
After surviving the rules, it's time to play the course. From a distance the course appears to be fairly flat. Up close the most striking course feature is the extensive mounding and sculpting that went into each tee, fairway and green. The Jordan River also cuts its way through the property and gives the course some added elevation changes.
The fairways are defined by trees, tree bark ground cover and flower beds. The trees are mature, but small, and are of identical height. Their size often creates the illusion that greens and landing areas are further away than they really are. It's necessary to remind yourself of this visual trick by comparing a nearby tree to the distant trees before selecting your club.
One rule printed on the scorecard requires that the bark covered areas be played as ground under repair with a mandatory relief drop. Why are these areas even on the golf course if you can't play out of them? Besides going against the rules of golf, it can potentially help a bad shot or hurt a good shot. It is the opinion of this reviewer that the bark areas are a part of the course and should be played as such. They play from the pine needles at Augusta don't they?
From the black tees this is a very long course. Johnny Miller said that he wanted to build a championship course in the Salt Lake City area that would require scratch golfers to use long irons for their approach shots. I know that the 5000 foot altitude gives your shots a little more distance, but 7700+ yards! Luckily for the rest of us several tee options are provided. At 6700 yards the blue tees provide sufficient challenge for most experienced golfers.
The front 9 starts out fairly benign with four short to medium length holes. You may find yourself asking "where is the challenge"? Not to worry, it's coming. After playing the beautiful downhill par 3 number 4, the real teeth of Thanksgiving Point begin to appear. On number 5 (a long par 5), both sides of the narrow lay-up area are protected by sand, lots of sand. And these aren't your normal, shallow, hit it out of there with your trouble club hazards -- all are deep and several are craters that force the use of a lofted club just to escape.
Sand bunkers are a common hazard on the course and they come in all shapes and sizes. Most players are going to end up in the sand on one or more occasion that will require different shots types. Good sand play, imagination and a lob sand wedge are all helpful for a good score.
Number 6 is a long uphill hole and is the first real test of your long driving. The shot must clear the top of a hill at least 230 yards out from the blue tees just to get a look at the flag. Not really a forced carry but those are coming too.
Number 7 (and later number 17) is a long par 3 to a green across the Jordan River. Under normal circumstances the shot is not that tough but the intimidation of the river and the steep bank rising up to the green will put many balls into the water.
The back nine is where the real fun begins. Holes number 11, 12, 14 and 18 all provide a bite off as much as you dare option with your drive. These are the most exciting holes for handicap golfer because they demand forced carries over water and waste areas to fairways running at angles to the tee box. Great stuff! Hackers beware that these holes require you to carry at least 200 yards from the blue tees.
Hole 13 is challenging and gorgeous with the green visible from the tee as it protrudes out into the river. The river protects the entire right flank of the hole which bends to follow its course.
The course itself is good and will probably be fantastic once all the construction is complete and the rough edges are cleaned up. It will also be interesting to see if the management's attitude toward certain rules and practices will evolve to better match the golfing public.
Because of the attitudes and the high price the course is currently not a good value compared to other courses in the area. Until construction is completed and management allows a decent 19th hole it's tough for the average foursome of golf buddies to get the full golf experience. Give it a few years.
|Golf Season||Open: 2/01 Closed: 12/01|
|Metal Spikes Allowed||No|
|Driving Range Available||Yes|
|Rental Carts Available||Yes - included in green fees|
|Rental Clubs Available||Yes|
|Tee Times Welcomed||Yes|
|Price Range Weekdays||$45 - $80|
|Price Range Weekends||$45 - $80|
|Credit Cards Accepted||VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Discover Welcomed|
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