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Conestoga and Sand Hollow


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#1 sabram

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:47 PM

There are many beautiful and awe inspiring golf courses in the American West and Southwest that have you play over and around beautiful mountains, desert canyons and cliffs that make you feel like you’re on a geological expedition or playing in a fictional scene for one of those wall calendars of amazing but imaginary golf holes. From the Boulders in Arizona, Arrowhead in Colorado to Black Mesa in New Mexico some of my most memorable rounds have been on courses routed through fantastic surroundings.  For me, Wolf Creek in Mesquite, NV has set the bar for this type of course. However, last week I played two courses, Conestoga in Mesquite and Sand Hollow, about an hour away in Hurricane Utah, that will make it worth your while to visit the area for more than a quick trip to play Wolf Creek. While Wolf Creek starts the roller coaster ride on the first tee shot and doesn’t stop until you walk off the 18th green, Conestoga and Sand Hollow have a bunch of “normal” holes mixed in with the extreme golf. Conestoga and Sand Hollow are not as punishing as Wolf Creek, although each has its share of forced carries, none are extremely long. I played the same ball for 34 holes until I lost in a waste bunker that needs to be carried on the par five 17th hole at Sand Hollow.  I’m a 14 handicap, so you can see that the courses are not too penal. Despite each being set in amazing desert settings the courses are quite different. Conestoga is much less natural in appearance with lots of man - made boulder walls and sculpted escarpments that make you wonder how they moved each huge rock into place. The fairways and greens were immaculate and bright green. Sand Hollow on the other hand has a much more natural look (at least as far as it is possible for a golf course to be “natural” in a desert setting. The grass was not as green and the course showed much less work from the hand of man. I don’t think they moved much dirt when laying out Sand Hollow, which for the most part had wider and firmer fairways than Conestoga, although Conestoga’s fairways were pretty generous. Conestoga has water on #10 and 18. Sand Hollow has no water in play.
After a 45 minute frost delay, I was the first one out at Conestoga, playing with a member. We  started on #10, a par 3, all carry over water, a pretty, but  un-desert-like hole. We finished the round in three hours flat notwithstanding my taking more than 80 photos during the round.
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Conestoga #10 par 3 - 170 yards from white tee r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 11 is par 4 slight dogleg left that could fit in at the Las Vegas Paiute Complex
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Conestoga #11 par 4 - 420 yards from Gold Tee r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 12 is an uphill par 5 with Flat Top Mesa as the backdrop. The Mesa and surrounding rock formations dominate the views for much of the back 9 (my first 9). The front 9 is even more exciting than the back so I’m glad we plyed the nines in reverse order.
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Conestoga #12 par 5 - 580 yards from tips  a r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 14 is a thankfully short par 3 to a “postage stamp” green. I’d hate to hit a long club to this hole.
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Conestoga #14 par 3 zoomed r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 15 was my second favorite hole on the back 9. It is a great downhill tee shot to a fairway that is wider than it looks with some room left behind the mound which if carried gets some roll. Unfortuantely after a solid tee shot I hit my approach into a bunker and took two to get out L
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Conestoga #15 from tee b r by tewiespix, on Flickr
#17 is my favorite hole of the back. Long hitters will not hit driver here as position for the approach over a ravine is key.
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Conestoga #17e view back to fairway r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Holes two through eight is a great stretch with a variety of holes and shots and lots of eye candy.
Number 2 is a mid length par 3 from an elevated tee, very reminiscent of Wolf Creek
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Conestoga #2 par 3 - 150 yards from white tee zoomed r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number three is one of my favorite holes, a dogleg right around a canyon where the corner is guarded by a large mound. You can take the safe route to the left or try to fly the mound and shortn the route home.
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Conestoga #3 dogleg right from the tips r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number four looks routine from the tee, but at the 140 yard mark there is a fence that protects you from going over a ridge and a 100 foot drop to the rest of the fairway that lies below.
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Conestoga #4  from tee - no idea of what lies ahead r by tewiespix, on Flickr
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Conestoga #4 -second shot is to fairway and green 100 feet below r by tewiespix, on Flickr
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Conestoga #4 view back - upper fairway is at top of first ridge r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 5 is a par three to a fairly sized but difficult to read green.
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Conestoga #5 par 3  150 yards from white tee r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 6 is a real “target” golf hole, a par 5 with three sections of fairway… one for each shot.

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Conestoga #6 par 5 from tee zoomed more r by tewiespix, on Flickr

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Conestoga #6b -second ravine crosses fairway at 140 yards out r by tewiespix, on Flickr
At Conestoga the 150 yard markers are white wagon wheels.
Number 7 is a short par 4 in the base of a canyon with fairway bunkers providing the risk for going for the green rather than taking the safer route to the left.
Posted Image
Conestoga #7 b - from tee zoomed r by tewiespix, on Flickr

SAND HOLLOW photos to follow….


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#2 dirtyboy

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

Too bad Kokopelli closed, you would have loved it!  Sand Hollow is one of my favorites, hope you played the 9 hole links course too!

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#3 fairways4life

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:42 PM

I thought Conestoga bordered a little too much on goofy golf. A lot of blind shots where you really have no idea where you're supposed to hit it. Par 5's that were just straight target golf. That par 3 (2nd hole I think) where the green is a mile below the tee box. At some point "fun" sort of gives way to "goofy."

Wolf Creek was a blast the first time. A little less enjoyable the second time and after the third time I think I've had my fill of that course.

I've played all over the country and Sand Hollow might be my favorite golf course I've ever played.

If you liked Sand Hollow you would also like Coral Canyon, which is not far from Sand Hollow. Those two courses are desert golf but without all the quirkiness of Wolf CReek and Conestoga.

To each his own. Some really great pics by the OP.

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#4 macdubh

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 12:07 AM

Great post, Agree with fairways, If you liked Sand Hollow you will also love Coral Canyon, both of which are a far better deal (read less expensive) than the wolf, I will be down there next week with a buddy and here's hoping for great weather. Too much snow and winter for me here in Twin Falls.

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#5 sabram

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 06:08 AM

View Postfairways4life, on 13 February 2013 - 11:42 PM, said:

I thought Conestoga bordered a little too much on goofy golf. A lot of blind shots where you really have no idea where you're supposed to hit it. Par 5's that were just straight target golf. That par 3 (2nd hole I think) where the green is a mile below the tee box. At some point "fun" sort of gives way to "goofy."

Wolf Creek is more extreme than Conestoga. I'd describe them as different, dramatic, unusual or quirky rather than goofy. Really, if you took away the surroundings at Conestoga, most of the holes are pretty straight forward golf. #4,#6 and #17 are unusual and probably "love them or hate them" holes, and I can understand how some players would think a few  holes were strange or "goofy", but I also think that most golfers would think those holes are a blast to play.. I There were only a few blind shots that I can recall. Of course it helped that they gave out free yardage books and that I played with a member who was very helpful. On a couple of holes (like #17) I rode the cart up the fairway before teeing off to figure out the best position. No biggie. I  liked the par three from the elevated green. It would be an issue if they did that over and over, but I didn't think.that the par threes were redundant. Having one with a big drop was fine

View Postfairways4life, on 13 February 2013 - 11:42 PM, said:

I've played all over the country and Sand Hollow might be my favorite golf course I've ever played


Me too. Sand Hollow is an excellent course. Not my favorite, but one of my favorites.  My only issue at Sand Hollow was the slow pace of play the day I played


View Postfairways4life, on 13 February 2013 - 11:42 PM, said:


If you liked Sand Hollow you would also like Coral Canyon, which is not far from Sand Hollow. Those two courses are desert golf but without all the quirkiness of Wolf CReek and Conestoga.

Yup. I've played Coral Canyon, Nice course and a great 36 hole day with Sand Hollow,but I think I'd play two rounds at Sand Hollow as often as I'd want to play 18 at SH and 18 at CC.


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#6 sabram

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 06:14 AM

View Postmacdubh, on 14 February 2013 - 12:07 AM, said:

Great post, Agree with fairways, If you liked Sand Hollow you will also love Coral Canyon, both of which are a far better deal (read less expensive) than the wolf, I will be down there next week with a buddy and here's hoping for great weather. Too much snow and winter for me here in Twin Falls.

Thanks.

Love Sand Hollow. Like Coral Canyon. I'll cross my fingers for good weather on your trip. Here's a link to some old photos of Coral Canyon



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#7 sabram

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:32 PM

A few months ago Tom Doak,  the well respected golf course architect,  posted on the GCA website that “I had a look around Sand Hollow Golf Course in Hurricane, Utah today, and thought it was exceptional.  I know it's gotten a bit of attention, but not nearly as much as it deserves.  If I had designed it, I think it would be famous by now, so I'm only being fair by making this post.  Kudos to John Fought and to anyone else who worked on it ... especially the routing and land plan.” Doak is not known for giving praise if it is not deserved so I knew I had to play Sand Hollow the next time I was in the area.  The back 9 is more dramatic and scenic than the front, but the entire 18 is interesting. It sucks you in gradually with a couple of pretty holes that are fairly benign except for the huge red sand bunkers. The course has wide, fast, and sometimes undulating fairways… Some quirk, like several holes with center fairway hazards (bunkers, waste areas and in the case #6, rock formations) and more make this a fun course that I wish I had played sooner.
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Sand Hollow #6 c - rock is hazard in fairway b r by tewiespix, on Flickr
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Sand Hollow #7 a  -par 5  from tee r by tewiespix, on Flickr
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Sand Hollow #8 par 3 - green from left side r by tewiespix, on Flickr
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Sand Hollow #9 c- uphill approach b r by tewiespix, on Flickr
The clubhouse blends into the rock formation behind it behinds the uphill #9 par 4
The fantastic back 9 begins with a strategically bunkered par 5 from an elevated tee
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Sand Hollow #10 a - par 5  from elevated  blue tee r by tewiespix, on Flickr

With two big bunkers that need to be navigated in the landing area
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Sand Hollow #10 c middle fairway bunkers r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 11 is the first of two excellent par threes on the back. It has a tough bunker on the right and an undulating green that allows for several interesting pin placements that will require different shots.
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Sand Hollow #11 a par 3 r by tewiespix, on Flickr
Number 12, 13 and 15 are the  “wow” holes. I may be crazy but it reminded me of Bandon if I imagined the ocean left of the cliff instead of the desert.
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Sand Hollow #12  - from tee by tewiespix, on Flickr
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Sand Hollow #13  - from tee by tewiespix, on Flickr
The par three 15th has a different look from each tee. It played 235 from the tips, almost all carry over a canyon. The two guys I was paired with each hit it close with hybrids… amazing. I made bogey from the middle tees at 160 yards
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Sand Hollow #15 d - par 3 zoomed by tewiespix, on Flickr
As the sun was setting, we reached the par five 17th which requires a second shot over a natural area that crosses the fairway.  After 34 ½ holes I lost my ball in the scrub.

Posted Image
Sand Hollow #17  - approach must carry natural area by tewiespix, on Flickr
My 36 hole day ended on #18  about 15 minutes before it was dark. One reminder, don’t foget that you lose an hour crossing from Nevada. I thought I was early for my tee time and actually missed it. (How embarrassing) I was lucky that they got me right out with a twosme who were on the tee as I dropped by clubs at the bag drop. Play this course!

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#8 Gmachine

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:11 PM

amazing, thanks for sharing these pics.  

been debating between bandon dunes or wolf creek/conestoga... these pics make it obvious that i must hit up wolf creek/conestoga first.

don't get me wrong, bandon is iconic, but i'd rather be playing in the warm desert sun than overcast and windy.

did you stay at the eureka casino?

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#9 sabram

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:08 PM

View PostGmachine, on 14 February 2013 - 10:11 PM, said:

amazing, thanks for sharing these pics.  

been debating between bandon dunes or wolf creek/conestoga... these pics make it obvious that i must hit up wolf creek/conestoga first.

don't get me wrong, bandon is iconic, but i'd rather be playing in the warm desert sun than overcast and windy.

did you stay at the eureka casino?

There is a lot of amazing scenery in NV and Utah and these courses are definitely worth playing, but for golf, Bandon is  #1.

Stayed at the Holiday Inn in Mesquite. It was actually pretty decent, although the following few days in Vegas I stayed at the Aria which is excellent.

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#10 Par Fore

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:11 PM

View Postdirtyboy, on 13 February 2013 - 11:01 PM, said:

Too bad Kokopelli closed, you would have loved it!  Sand Hollow is one of my favorites, hope you played the 9 hole links course too!

I Agree! It's too bad that Kokopelli closed.  I think that if it would have had another year to grow in and get some exposure it would have been THE place to golf in the area.  Great layout, very natural and, depending on the tees you chose to play it could be looooong, or just right.  I hope that in the near future someone can reopen it.


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#11 Seattle_Maslow

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:42 PM

Amen on Sand Hollow. Love that place. And good tip on the change in time zone from Vegas. We nearly missed our tee time too.
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#12 Dead Solid Perfect

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:43 AM

Playing Sand Hollow in March.  We've played Wolfcreek which everyone likes but it's a bit Golden Teeish.  It's tricked up a bit, now with that said I like it but I'm still mixed on how I feel about.  I can't wait to see Sand Hollow.  My favorite course in Nevada is Cascata but I hope Sand Hollow will be as memorable as it looks in your pictures.

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#13 gunmetal

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:57 AM

View Postdirtyboy, on 13 February 2013 - 11:01 PM, said:

Too bad Kokopelli closed, you would have loved it!  Sand Hollow is one of my favorites, hope you played the 9 hole links course too!

I played Kokopelli shortly before it closed (I think).  Pretty sure we were the only people on the course.  It was probably the most stunning area I've ever played golf in.  It felt like I was in Zion's National Park.  The only thing that annoyed me was that it was harder than hell.  Really hope it opens up again.

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#14 gunmetal

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:59 AM

Sand Hollow would be my favorite golf course that I've ever played (Played it like 10 times) if it was walkable.  Other than that, I love everything from conditioning, difficulty, rounting, and of course the views.

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#15 andy.o123

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:11 AM

kokopelli is definitely not opening up ever again. the grass/weeds are like 3 feet long haha. it was an amazing course but the location really sucked and nobody knew it was there.


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#16 Par Fore

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:36 PM

View Postandy.o123, on 13 October 2013 - 01:11 AM, said:

kokopelli is definitely not opening up ever again. the grass/weeds are like 3 feet long haha. it was an amazing course but the location really sucked and nobody knew it was there.

I've been going to drive over there and take a look at it, I guess I'll skip it.  Housing is starting to take off again in the St. George area, I wonder if it keeps going someone will get the bright idea to develop in Apple Valley again?  I agree that the location sucks, but it could have been such a great course.

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