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Black Desert Golf Course Scorecard

Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

Rankings:

The Takeaway: The newest course in Southern Utah goes head to head with Sand Hollow as the best in the region. With generous playing corridors and artistic scenery, Black Desert is not only enjoyable to play but the undulated greens and engaging hole designs deliver an excellent variety to the course worthy of landing Utah’s first PGA Tour event. Grade A-

Quick Facts

Designer: Tom Weiskopf 2023

Cost: $225 Click for current rates

Phone Number: 435-222-7830

Course Website: Official Website – Visit Black Desert Resort’s official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions: Get here! – 1500 E Black Desert Dr., Ivins, Utah 84738 – UNITED STATES

Photos: See additional photos of Black Desert Resort

What to Expect: Truly one of the most unique golf courses in America, Black Desert is carved through the lava rock northwest of St. George, Utah. The course neighbors Entrada which was the first course in the area to go through the lava with the final four holes, but Black Desert never leaves the rocks. The visuals throughout the round are striking with the green grass, black lava, white sand bunkers, and red mountain rocks in the distance that capture your senses. From a playability standpoint, the fairways are plenty generous to allow players to stay out of the lava, but almost no one can go all round without their ball being scarred by the black rock. Weiskopf’s greens feature plenty of undulation, short and long grass around the edges, and a variety of pin positions that can change the difficulty of the course. Tom’s final course doesn’t deviate from his previous efforts to include a drivable par four, but this time he does it with one on each nine; and who doesn’t love that? As a whole, the par fours at Black Desert stand out with particular quality and variety while the par five 7th hole with “lava islands” peppered throughout the fairway stands as one of the most unique three-shotters you’ll ever find. Being located in the desert, it comes as no surprise that a cart is included in the green fee, but the routing is such that it would allow walking if players choose. St. George to Mesquite has quickly become a golf destination in the West, and Black Desert with its impressive visuals, engaging hole designs, and top shelf conditioning makes it a must-play when in the area and a contender as the best golf course on the Red Rock Trail.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope Tournament 72 7288 74.9 138 Black Desert 72 6868 72.9 134 Weiskopf 72 6414 70.8 126 Snow Canyon 72 5697 67.1 120 Red Cliffs (Ladies) 72 4973 68.3 117

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole: 7th Hole – 592 Yard Par 5 – Standing as one of the most uniquely crafted par fives you’ll ever come across, the nearly 600 yard 7th hole starts with a semi-blind tee shot that doesn’t feel near as daunting as the second shot does with its landmine layout of lava rock islands dotting the fairway. The hole plays straight away for the majority of its length but doglegs left and goes uphill for the final 100 yards or so. There is more room to the right with your second shot than may appear to meet the eye and is a good place to come from with your third shot which will be to a relatively small green that is twice as wide as it is deep. Walking off this hole without any damage to your ball from visiting the lava should feel like an accomplishment.

Best Par 3: 3rd Hole – 196 Yards – Taking a page from Riviera’s 6th hole, the par three 3rd features a bunker in the center of a very large green. The expanse of the putting surface lends itself to a plethora of pin positions that offers nearly endless variety to how the hole plays each day. The concern on a hole like this is always getting on the wrong side of the bunker and getting a second shot near the hole. With the way Weiskopf sloped the green behind the bunker, it should be possible to get within a makeable distance (eight feet or less) from virtually anywhere and still have a chance to card a par. The easiest pin positions are in the front third of the green before embarking on the more undulated portion of the putting surface behind it.

Best Par 4: 11th Hole – 512 Yards – If you’ve been saving up your best drive, now is the time you want to unleash it. The tee shot plays straight away with a lava rock ridge forming the backdrop to aim at, but it is what players can’t see that sets this hole apart. As players travel along the short grass towards their tee balls they will find the fairway dropping quickly in elevation to a flat spot. Drives that reach the flat spot will be rewarded with a short iron into the green while tee balls that fail to clear the ridge will have a long approach to a green flanked on the right by a pond and a trio of bunkers that guard everything except the front left side of the putting surface. It is an exciting reveal as players approach their ball and a rewarding par for those that can walk off the green in four strokes.

Best Par 5: 13th Hole – 519 Yards – The 13th is an uphill par five with a pond flanking the left side and is fed from the pond you discovered on the 11th hole. Tee shots need to avoid the water at all costs, even if it means hitting something less than driver. A creek cuts across the fairway and can come into play for the longest of players while most mortals will simply need to clear on the second shot. Going for the green in two calls for a hide fade enroute to a smallish putting surface inspired by the 14th at Pebble Beach. Players that layup on their second shot will be left with a pitch to a green surface they can’t see and will have to trust their yardage to get it close.

Birdie Time: 5th Hole – 320 Yard Par 4 – The first of drivable par fours found at Black Desert, the 5th tips out at 320 yards with Tom asking players to hit a long drive that stays left of the rocks blocking the front right corner of the green while also avoiding the bunker planted in the front center. Players electing to layup will have the option of dialing it way back and leaving a sub-150 yard shot in from the fattest part of the fairway or being more aggressive with a shot that stays 50 yards short of the green with a chance to wedge it tight to the day’s pin placement.

Bogey Beware: 4th Hole – 490 Yard Par 4 – Right before embarking on the easiest hole on the front nine, Mr. Weiskopf asks players to be dialed in for the most difficult hole found at Black Desert. From the tips the tee shot can play to a blind landing area as a rock formation blocks some of the view. Lava frames each side of the fairway so hitting a straight tee ball is imperative for any chance of avoiding bogey. The downhill flow of the hole will help it play shorter, but a long iron will likely be the club in your hand on the approach shot to a green found in a mild depression with the putting surface sloping right to left and front to back. The Sunday pin placement is in the back left third of the green while pins in the front right can be treated more aggressively. In the end, players managing to avoid bogey here will likely be crediting their deft short game since greens in regulation aren’t common.