Monday, January 9, 2012

Round #4: Utah: Entrada at Snow Canyon

We booked three nights in a Las Vegas hotel room. We spent the first night in Vegas after arriving late from Scottsdale. I played golf in Las Vegas on Saturday; we left the car parked which made the second night more restful. We awoke on Sunday with a goal to make a 260 mile round trip to St. George, Utah. This was the first time Julie & I had visited Utah. The drive to St. George through the Nevada desert was quick; the posted speed limit of 75 mph meant most cars were traveling 85-90 mph. The Pine Valley Mountains line the Nevada/Utah border. The rock formations and color variation provided for dramatic scenery as we were driving toward Utah.
We planned to arrive in St. George by 9:30 AM. Julie wanted to visit a quilt shop and buy material. The shop was closed on Sunday but the owner had agreed to open up briefly for her. Unfortunately, we missed one small detail in our planning. We were unaware of crossing a time zone at the border, so we were an hour late in arriving at the quilt shop. We missed our window of opportunity. That also meant we were running late for my tee time. We drove off to the course where I arrived late for an 11:00 AM tee off. I had been scheduled to play with one local player, but he wanted to play a fast round and had already taken off. The starter put me out as a single player behind a couple of foursomes. I started to play in a very calm, calculated manner which worked quite well.

Par 4 hole #3

Round: #4
Location: St. George, UT
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #6
Date: 8 Jan, tee off at 11:30 AM 
Conditions: sunny skies, calm wind, 43 degrees
Yardage: 6,685
Lost balls: 0
Score: 81 on a par 71
There are days when the golf swing just feels very natural. This was one of those days (playing the 6th round of golf in 8 days may have helped as well). I was 5 over par through the first 12 holes, with two missed putts that I should made. The greens were rolling above 11 feet on the stimpmeter (which means very fast).

Par 3 hole #5

Par 4 hole #7

As it turned out, I was joined by a single player who caught up to me at hole #13. Penny Francesca played the front nine with her husband before he dropped off to go home and watch football. Penny wanted to continue playing, but only through hole #14. She stated that the last four holes were really difficult and plenty of golf balls would be required to complete the round. I was ready, especially given the level of play I was enjoying thus far in the round (plus I had enough golf balls in my bag to cover some major losses!)
During our brief time together, I learned Penny was a retired Assistant School Superintendent from San Diego. Her husband was a retired School Superintendent from a different San Diego school. They both retired after 30-year careers and settled into northern California. They subsequently relocated from California to a retirement home on the golf course in St. George. She drove a personal golf cart with a plastic shroud enclosing it against the weather. The temperature had climbed above 50, but Penny zipped her plastic door completely shut every time she got into the cart. Her years in a warm climate were quite evident if she thought 50 degree temperatures required protection from the cold weather.

Lava field rules of play

The topography of the course changed at hole #15 into a lava field. I have seen lava flows before in Asia but not a lava field like this. It was literally large piles of lava rocks that looked like they had been deposited there by dump trucks. To make it worse, the posted rule was that golfers had to play there ball where it landed or incur a penalty stroke. I was glad the “swing” was with me; I continued to hit fairways and greens in regulation but could not make all of the par putts drop in.

Looking down the #15 fairway

Approach to #16 green

View back up the #17 hole

One last note, there were a lot of rabbits visible across the golf course. The lush green grass provided an easy, ample food source. They would sneak out onto the fairways to eat, scampering back into the underbrush whenever danger lurked nearby. I stepped into the lava field near a small bush to snap a picture, which caused a jack rabbit to run out onto the fairway. An abundant supply of rabbits means the coyotes and bobcats also enjoy an easy, ample food source - the evidence of which could be spotted on the fairway occasionally.  

Lunchtime on the #15 tee box

By the way, Julie did succeed in buying her quilting fabric in St. George at the JoAnn’s Fabric store. 

View down a great finishing hole #18

1 comment:

  1. Jim and Julie
    What a great trip. I will have to get Matt H
    on this blog. He would like to see all these pic of the courses.
    Sounds like you will have a busy, fun year. Keep trucking as they used to say in the 70's!