By Greg Bennett, utahvalley360.com
Since Thanksgiving Point opened for play in 1997, Utah County has seen very few changes to the golf scene. And prior to the Thanksgiving Point course, the most recent development was when Gladstan opened nearly 15 years ago.
Those stagnant times are over.
The Ranches Golf Club in Eagle Mountain has recently opened. In the next 12 months, three completely new courses are scheduled to open as well — Cedar Hills Golf Course, The Reserve at Saratoga Springs and Sleepy Ridge Golf Course in Orem. Even an existing course (Cascade Fairways, see sidebar next page) will open nine more holes this year.
These golf changes say Utah Valley is on par to offer PGA professionals and weekend duffers alike the chance to enjoy the unique blend of challenging design, breathtaking views and golf-friendly weather that the valley offers.
The Ranches Golf Club
This facility, which opened in April, combines the beautiful scenery of Eagle Mountain with a western theme to make the golfing experience not only challenging but also engaging.
The 18-hole course is nestled in the hillside valley between Lehi and Eagle Mountain. Using the natural prairie of the area, the course offers a true links-style experience, designed by architect Ron Garl.
The flexible course can be a challenging 7,400 yards from the back tee boxes or can be catered to different skill levels by using one of the other three tee boxes.
The club also offers a number of amenities that make the experience enjoyable before and after golfing. The Ranches has two putting areas and a driving range to sharpen skills and warm up swings.
A full restaurant – complete with patio seating – offers views of the course and surrounding area. The facilities offer an ideal location for company parties or fund-raising tournaments.
For more information, contact the course at (801) 789-8100.
Cedar Hills Golf Course
The golf course at Cedar Hills is a welcome addition to an area of the county that has been growing at an astronomical rate.
The course — designed by Andy Staples of the Graves and Pascuzzo architectural firm of El Dorado Hills, Calif. — was paid for by a revenue bond approved by voters in May 2001. Construction on the site began in November 2001 and the course is scheduled to open in July.
The 18-hole, par-72 course is 6,650 yards long from the back tee boxes. It will be a full-service municipal course, complete with lessons, snack bar and pro shop.
Although specific fees haven’t been worked out yet, there will be a resident and non-resident rate.
The Reserve at Saratoga Springs
Offering another amenity to the area, this new course in Saratoga Springs was spurred on by the heavy number of new homes coming to the area.
“The course was definitely real estate driven,” says Doug Horne, the owner of the course. “We wanted to be able to offer the residents of Saratoga Springs a chance to play golf in their own backyard.”
The course is expected to open next spring, although Horne hints that some limited play may occur toward the end of the season this year.
Designed by Florida-based architect Gene Bates, The Reserve at Saratoga Springs will be about 7,000 yards from the tips and will include three other tees on each hole. The flexibility in the tees allows the course to become as short as 5,000 yards.
Located on the northeast corner of Utah Lake, the course offers head-on views of Utah Lake not found at any other course.
Sleepy Ridge Golf Course
Some may roll their eyes when they are told that a new public golf course is being built for Orem city. Long-time residents have been hearing that for years. But with Sleepy Ridge Golf Course, located west of Interstate-15 near Utah Lake, the rumors are true.
“People can go out there and see some holes already growing grass,” says Jack Angus, one of the key people in bringing the course to fruition. “It isn’t just talk anymore.”
The course, which will be owned by Orem city and operated by Golden Fairways, is designed by Matt Dye, nephew of legendary architect Pete Dye, and has been designed to make the greatest use of the prime real estate.
Undulating hills and captivating views will highlight the 18-hole course, scheduled to open for the 2004 season. The rich soil makes for a strong foundation for the grass and trees that are so important to golf courses.
Also, the course will have a clubhouse and reception center that can be used by citizens for weddings and other socials, making it a gathering place for the entire community. For more information on Sleepy Ridge Golf Course, call (801) 368-0368.