The snow is gone, and the sun stays high in the late evening sky. Hiking, biking and climbing are on the docket for many skiers and snowboarders during the offseason, but enjoying the mountains doesn’t require scaling great heights or superhuman feats of endurance and strength. Golf has come to the fore—pun absolutely intended—in Utah, thanks to a host of amazing courses nestled throughout the Wasatch. When the snow’s not falling in Utah, it’s time for some golf in the mountains.
Utah’s booming golf culture isn’t exactly a secret, not with Salt Lake City born and raised PGA superstar Tony Finau playing on national television at the pointy end of the field each weekend. While Finau is knocking on the door to golf immortality with top-five finishes at each of the four major championships, the rest of us can casually enjoy the benefits of thin-air aided length on our shots while playing courses with unique layouts and incredible views. Just remember that elevation-enhanced ball flight, while a boon to the golfer’s ego in the tee box, exacerbates the consequences of a nasty snap hook. These are our favorite public golf courses in the Utah mountains. Pick the one that matches your style on the links, and let it fly.
Situated on the slopes of Park City Mountain's Canyons base area, Canyons Golf Course isn’t just in the mountains, it’s on a mountain. Literally. The tenth hole has over 300 feet of elevation change alone. The dramatic layout makes for some memorable shots and tough scoring despite a relatively short distance. This one-of-a-kind course certainly isn’t like what’s found in the flatlands.
Forest Dale is the oldest golf course in Utah. It opened as the Salt Lake Country Club in 1906. Since 1935 when the city purchased the course, it’s been the gem of Salt Lake’s public courses. With a quintessential neighborhood setting and original elevated greens that reward accurate approaches, Forest Dale is the original Utah golf experience.
Park City may be thought of as an exclusive resort community, but it’s home to the golf course where you’re most likely to find laid back skiers and snowboarders passing the summer months chopping up a casual round as they wait for the snow to fly. The Park City Golf Course is adjacent the resort base, with a great atmosphere in the heart of the mountain town. Relaxed attitudes, affordable rates and a friendly layout make it the perfect course for those who wouldn’t mind trading a six iron for a six pack.
Mountain Dell features two 18-hole golf courses at the top of Parley’s Canyon. The Lake Course is the tougher of the two, requiring expert shot making across natural ravines and water features. Long hitters can leverage the thin air at 6,000 feet and risk it for the biscuit by going for the green in one shot on the 371-yard, par-4 fourth. The Canyon Course features 13 of the original 18 holes and is widely considered one of the most beautiful courses in the state.
Part of Wasatch Mountain State Park, the Wasatch Mountain Golf Course has absolutely stunning views of Wasatch Back, with Mount Timpanogos towering overhead. The courses—there are two 18-hole challenges, the Mountain and Lake Courses—are immaculately maintained, and at over 6,000 feet in elevation, tend to have cool temperatures in the summer months and incredible colors each fall.
Located on the East Bench just a few minutes from downtown Salt Lake City with amazing views of the Wasatch, Bonneville is one of Utah’s most popular courses. Bonneville is famous for its challenging greens, especially when the course is set up for the Salt Lake City Amateur Championship. Nearly every putt breaks towards the valley floor, so any approach left high of the hole has a chance of following the precipitous declivity and running off the green.