The Takeaway: Grade B-
Designer: Pete Dye in 2002
Cost: Private Private (8 public tee times allowed per day, contact course for details)
Phone Number: (435) 658-2258
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Promontory Club (Dye Canyon)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Accolades: Ranked 48th on Golf Digest’s 2013-14 Greatest Public Golf Courses in America rankings and 2nd in the state of Utah.
What to Expect: The Dye course at Promontory is a tale of two nines; the relatively straightforward mountain front nine and the extreme canyon back nine. The opening nine features the type of elevation changes you would expect on a mountain course but is still walkable. Two of the longest holes the Gurus have ever played are found at Promontory’s Dye course; the 720 yard par five 3rd hole and the 299 yard par three 8th hole. If that isn’t extreme golf I don’t know what is! The holes on the back nine are carved through canyons across terrain that many architects would have dismissed as unsuitable for a golf course. Large elevation changes exist and the terrain is much more difficult to walk which combines to offer, at times, some awkward lies as well as some exhilarating shots. The superintendent deserves a healthy bonus for the impeccable conditioning found throughout this course that sits well over a mile high in elevation. Scrub oak is the main vegetative obstacle to contend with and only a couple of water hazards are found on the property, but from the tips, the Dye course is one of the most difficult tracks the Gurus have teed it up on. In the end, the front nine will appeal to the more traditional golfer while the back nine will appeal more to the adrenaline junkie. In either case, the Gurus think the Dye course edges out the Nicklaus course as the superior 18 on the property.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 8th Hole – 299 Yard Par 3 – Not a misprint, not downhill, not a hole you will soon forget. Tipped out at the longest distance for a par three that the Gurus have ever challenged, this hole is a beast even in the thin mountain air. You have to carry the ball about 265 yards just to clear the canyon and reach green grass. The green is relatively deep, appropriately so given the length of club being used to approach the green and bunkers are found to the left of the putting surface. The bail out area is to the right of the green where some fairway is offered and a hill that can kick approaches onto the putting surface. It is the hole that you are more likely to tell your buddies about than any other on the property.
Best Par 3: 4th Hole – 239 Yards – At most courses it would be safe to assume that a 239 yard hole would be the longest par three on the course; at Promontory it isn’t even the longest one-shotter on the front nine! A pair of bunkers sit in front of the green while a trio of them rest low and to the left. Bailing out is afforded either long or right while young trees establish the low background and mountains form the high background view for this hole. It’s a solid test that offers a challenge without being a complete do-or-die hole.
Best Par 4: 2nd Hole – 468 Yards – After letting you warm up on the first hole, Pete Dye comes back with a stiff challenge on the second hole. Standing on the tee it seems like the only thing you can see if the large lake to the right, but there is actually a fair amount of fairway afforded up the left side, including a hill of long grass that prevents tee balls from cruising into the fescue. The green site features a bowl effect on the left that will feed ball to the green while the steep downhill right side features a collection of bunkers. Stay left on this hole and all will be well; go to the right and you’ll be coughing up some strokes to old man par.
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 605 Yards – Dye’s final offering at Promontory is a strong uphill par five that requires a carry over fescue and a pond before reaching the fairway. A long bunker is found on the right side of the fairway and will catch virtually any length drive that is fading right of the fairway. The hole turns to the right beyond this large bunker and then really starts climbing uphill. A couple of bombs can reach this green in two, but with junk left and trouble right, the wise play is to layup under most circumstances. The green is very deep with subtle undulations that will prove to be Mr. Dye final test of your skills.
Birdie Time: 1st Hole – 384 Yard Par 4 – Opening holes often are generally designed with plenty of forgiveness to help golfers warm up before being truly tested. At Pete Dye’s design at Promontory the opening hole not only is a tame warm up for the rest of the round, it is your best chance to go get a birdie before things get tough. At 7000 feet elevation, the ball can really fly at Promontory and when you are faced with a downhill tee shot like the 1st hole offers your ball seems to hang in the air for an eternity. There fairway is fairly wide and even wayward tee shots can be played from the neighboring fescue. Former BYU standout and current PGA Tour player, Dean Wilson, played at Promontory with the BYU team in September 2011. Dean’s opening drive was just off the green where he calmly chipped in for eagle. If Mr. Wilson can manage an eagle to open his round, you know there is a good chance that you can card a birdie.
Bogey Beware: 3rd Hole – 720 Yard Par 5 – Like the 299 yard par three 8th hole, I’m going to repeat that this is not a misprint. The 3rd hole at Promontory requires you to cover 720 yards before finding the middle of the green. Anytime you have to cover that much ground, there can be a lot of things go wrong which lead to an undesirable score. Fortunately, the hole does play downhill and then wraps to the right around a hill, but cutting off yardage over the hill requires a blind shot to an unforgiving green site. The best play is to hammer a drive up the right side which will shorten the hole off the tee a bit and provide an angle where some additional yardage can be cut off the corner. The green is deeper than it is wide and features a large bunker well below the putting surface on the right. The last time I played this hole our group carded two double bogies, a bogey, and I managed a birdie after going driver, 4 iron, pitching wedge, and dropping a 25 foot putt.