Life at the Mansion

A single entry blog about the family retreat to Provo, UT.

Blog by: Bill Satterfield

August 13-15, 2008

When you live within a few blocks of your parents, three sisters, and only brother, can you really have a family reunion? There isn’t a whole lot of ‘reuniting’ to do when you see each other every week at church, at work, on the golf course, and at the store. So my Mom decided that we needed a family ‘retreat.’ My Mom had found a huge house, we referred to as ‘The Mansion’, down in Provo, UT that a lady owned and lived in for a short time before deciding to rent it out to families wanting to hold reunions. The 10,000 square foot monster could house up to 50 people and featured a swimming pool, a theatre room, a pair of kitchens, and an acre of property located on the river. My Dad decided to pony up the money, with my Mom’s strong encouragement, and we were off to Provo for three days.

We had a variety of activities planned for our 72 hours, but since this is a golf blog that is what we’ll focus on. The first round we had planned was at Fox Hollow golf course in American Fork. The course was formerly known at Tri-City golf course due to the mutual ownership between American Fork, Pleasant Grove, and Lehi. The mayors of these three cities got together and pooled $4.5 million to renovate aspects of the course and build a clubhouse that could host major events. Fox Hollow is a good course and with over 7,000 yards of length that puts themselves in contention to host any one of a variety of events that the Utah Golf Association may hold. My Dad, Tom, and myself all teed it up at Fox Hollow and played well overall. When I play a new course I’m always thrilled to shoot in the 70s and my day at Fox Hollow left me satisfied as I carded a 77. Overall, the fairways would be considered closer to the ‘tight’ side then the ‘generous’ side with a variety of species of trees lining the routing. There is nothing mind boggling about the course and nothing overly distasteful, just a solid challenge that Joe Williams designed.

That evening everyone has a great time playing in the pool and hanging out on the property. The women sat around chatting, the guys sat around eating, and the kids made a mess of every room they could get into. To finish off the evening we fired up some home videos in the theatre room and laughed well into the night.

The next morning we had a tee time set for about 6:00 am at Hobble Creek golf course just south of Provo. I got up early and waited for the other guys to filter out of their bedrooms and out to the car. I wandered around the house and discovered that no one else was awake. I figured they had bagged the idea of playing after such a late night and decided to take off on my own. Hobble Creek is fit into a beautiful canyon where deer will undoubtedly cross your path sometime during your round. The course is relatively short, but the holes are fun and creative. Being built between the walls of a canyon, there are several slanting fairways and some decent elevation changes. At less than $30 for 18 holes and consistently rated 4 ˝ stars by Golf Digest, you are sure to be happy with your visit to Hobble Creek. If you have a chance to visit in September you will be treated to an array of stunning fall colors as the surrounding trees turn different shades of red, orange, and yellow. I felt really good about the 73 I shot, especially considering I managed to only hit four fairways for the day.

When I finished my round it was back to the mansion for more family activities. One activity you can always count on is the family going out to eat at Chuck-A-Rama if there is one in the vicinity. This tradition was started by my Grandma Herd (my Mom’s Mom) who would take us out to eat at North’s Chuck Wagon in Idaho Falls EVERY time we visited the area. I distinctly remember my Grandma gently chastising me for wearing my baseball cap at North’s one time. She promptly removed it from my head and went and hung it on a fake tree that was sitting in the corner of one of the dining areas. So, with 11 adults and 13 kids we kept the Herd tradition alive and ate until our hearts were content; starting with a big plate of salad first like Grandma would insist.

That afternoon Tom and I went to play Cedar Hills golf course located 10 minutes or so north of Provo. This 2003 Graves and Pascuzzo design is relatively unknown yet is a nice little diamond in the rough. The opening tee shot drops 170 feet to the fairway below and kicks your round off with a serious adrenaline boost. The design blends with the surrounding territory quite well and delivers some great shots. The front nine offers the firm-and-fast conditions that links golf is famous for and delivers on a level that few Utah courses can. The back nine is quite the ride with the course climbing to a mile high at the 14th green that sits on a pinnacle overlooking the valley. A pair of creeks come into play on this layout and attractive views are afforded time and time again. We each played well again at Cedar Hills, which is always nice, and my 75 completed a nice stretch of scores for me over the past week or two. You can see more info on the course here: Review of Cedar Hills

The rest of the family retreat was spent at the mansion where I received the worst sunburn I’ve ever had. It left sun spots on my back which I had never had before. I used to tan so well, but that was back in high school when I used to have my shirt off to mow the lawn, wash my car, play basketball, swim, etc. Now days I’m pretty white on 2/3 of my body and pretty tan on my forearms and calves since they get a ton of sun exposure in the summer. The final day of the trip I took my kids to Tucano’s; my favorite restaurant. It is a Brazilian restaurant that features all the meat you can eat and the food is CRAZY good! The meat and pineapple is cooked over an open flame and brought out hot and fresh to all that desire it. My dare devil child, Anisa, ate three chicken hearts (age 5) and thought they were great! The server really got a kick out of that. We finished off the trip with a day at Seven Peaks water park and stayed the night with Stacy’s Mom who was living nearby.

The trip was a ton of fun and the girls still talk affectionately about ‘the mansion’ and hope to return again soon. Of course, who knows when the next family retreat will be; we have a ‘reunion’ in the neighborhood every few days.