The Takeaway: The Canyons is a classic case of trying to do too much with too little. The extreme terrain, and not enough of it, creates some silly holes that struggle to reach par 70. There are a couple of good holes, but the course is built better for a scramble format than stroke play. Grade D+
Designer: Gene Bates in 2015
Cost: $60 - $100 Click for current rates
Phone Number: 435-615-4728
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Canyons Golf's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, Utah 84098 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: The Canyons is the most unique, and newest, course in the Park City area. Unfortunately, being the newest also means there isn't as much property to work with which is exactly what The Canyons deals with. The Gene Bates design uses just over 6000 yards to create a par 70 layout when the amount of land, and the extreme terrain, lends itself much better to an executive par three course. Players are taken on a wild ride up and down the Utah mountains at nearly 7000 feet elevation where the ball carries longer but unfortunately the fairways are designed too tight for the elevated tees and extra carry that is common. Greens are often perched on the side of hills where missing on the wrong side can quickly result in a penalty and/or a lost ball. The views are plentiful and the drama virtually unlimited, but if you are trying to score well you can plan on leaving your driver in the cart and just keep hitting irons into the fairways. Ultimately, The Canyons is a fun course to play a scramble in where there is little repercussion for hitting high risk shots, but if I had to play it as my home course I'd probably pick up a different hobby.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 4th Hole – 405 Yard Par 4 – A highly dramatic hole that plays well downhill to a green fronted by light creek bed. Despite the 405 yards to cover, this hole is driveable due to the severe elevation change and thin air that is found at 7000 feet above sea level. Interestingly the best way to play it is left of the green and let the ball bound down out of the natural area onto the putting surface. If you aren't going for the green, anything short of the creek will set up a reasonable approach to the green that slopes from left to right.
Best Par 3: 16th Hole – 170 Yards – A solid one-shotter that plays over water to a creek fronted by a stone retaining wall. The further right the pin is, the more water that must be carried enroute to the target. In addition, there is more green on the left side which can allow players to be more aggressive.
Best Par 4: 5th Hole – 327 Yards – By far my favorite hole at The Canyons, this short par four plays uphill to a fairway where the landing zone is blind from the tee. The fairway tilts from left to right and the only unprotected portion of the green is on the left side, so if you can keep your tee ball up that side you'll have the optimal results. This is a great match play hole that would be even better late in the round.
Best Par 5: 3rd Hole – 500 Yards – Perhaps the most impressive backdrop found at The Canyons is here on the 3rd hole where Utah's mountains are on full display. Trouble lines each side of the fairway but a successful tee shot will quickly open up the opportunity to reach the green in two. The approach shot plays uphill to a green protected by a pair of bunkers on the right and a hillside to the rear. This is a great risk/reward opportunity and the start of The Canyons' best three hole stretch.
Birdie Time: 10th Hole – 503 Yard Par 5 – Playing so far downhill that players can't even see most of the fairway from the back tee, the 10th might be one of the only driver-wedge par fives you'll ever play. If you manage to keep your tee shot in the fairway you'll be left with a relatively short approach into a green that plays further downhill. Stay in play, and birdie is in the bag.
Bogey Beware: 7th Hole – 594 Yard Par 5 – Running along the side of a mountain, the tee shot on the 7th needs to hug the right side in order to avoid falling off the ledge on the left. The hole continues to wrap around the mountain with nearly a total of 600 yards to cover before getting to the green. With trouble on all sides and near the green, this is a hole that can produce a big number if you aren't careful.