The big debate when planning my St. George trip was whether or not I wanted to splurge for a round at Entrada at Snow Canyon. This is widely considered one of the best—the best according to many—course in Southern Utah. However, it is technically a private club. The only way to get on here as an unaccompanied public guest is to do a stay and play package with The Inn at Entrada, which can be costly.
However, this was essentially my birthday golf trip and that’s always a good excuse to splurge on at least one centerpiece round. In addition, I saw the potential to be able to play every course in this area that I hadn’t already played in just three days. How could I skip over the best in town?
With this being the summer offseason in St. George, I first reached out directly to the golf course to see about scheduling a round without having to stay at the inn. They said “no.” I then called the inn to ask about pricing. It wasn’t cheap, but altogether it wasn’t as expensive as I thought it might be. The justification is that August is about as good a rate as you will get for both the inn and the golf. I decided to go for it. I booked my room for Thursday night, along with my round of golf at 1:00 on Thursday to save a few extra bucks with their twilight rate.
I arrived closer to 12:30 and it wasn’t busy at all. A couple other member singles went off as I was checking in and they told me I could go out after them. They played fast, so I never pushed much. I played through one twosome on the front and then ran into a foursome on the 10th tee, but they also let me play through. Otherwise, it was yet another super-quick and easy round.
Entrada at Snow Canyon was designed by Johnny Miller and Fred Bliss, so I knew the course was going to be anything but boring. If you follow this blog regularly, you will know that I am generally a big fan of Miller designs. Entrada was certainly no exception. This is a fantastic layout with a gorgeous setting.
There are some changes in elevation throughout the course, but nothing too crazy. The elevated 10th and 18th tees probably provide the biggest downhill shots and no approach shots played too steeply uphill. Most of the hills are pretty gradual and there are some flat sections of the course, as well.
I would call the front nine very “pretty” with a lot of nice aesthetic touches to complement the beautiful natural surroundings. Lakes, streams, waterfalls and red rock walls are all around to give you an oasis feel in the desert. You can definitely tell this course was designed to be a part of a high-end club/resort because it is dressed up quite a bit. That doesn’t detract from a very fun and moderately challenging design. It’s not as over-the-top or as difficult as some other Miller courses I can name, but it’s still got some teeth to keep you focused on hitting good shots.
One of the signature holes on the front nine comes right away. The 2nd hole is a standout. It doglegs right off the tee. There is a water hazard to the right preventing you from cutting off too much of the corner. Then, there is a second water hazard short and left of the peninsula green. It’s an intimidating hole that requires good strategy and execution.
Of course, we are in St. George, where no course would be complete without throwing at least one secondary “personality” at you on the back nine. It turns out Entrada may be the most extreme example of this in town.
After you play the picturesque par-3 12th hole, you go across a street and enter a completely different landscape. You go from the red rocks to the jagged black lava rocks. It’s like going from Mars to the dark side of the moon. The next five holes are set in this unique and dramatic terrain. It had to be quite an undertaking to survey this part of the property, envision how the holes would lay out and then to construct them amidst some very unforgiving rocks. This part of the course is kind of a links style without any changes in elevation, some semi-blind shots and deceptive angles. Serious players will want to ask for a yardage book, if only to figure out where to aim your tee shot on the par-5 16th. As a first-time player with no point of reference, I stood on the tee for a minute trying to work out what the hole did. Ultimately, it doglegs left and then snakes through the rocks as you work your way toward the green.
The 18th hole returns you to “normal” with a solid finishing hole that runs through a small red rock canyon.
As you might expect, the facilities here are excellent and the staff was very attentive. Whether you are a member or a resort guest, you should be treated well at this high-end club.
The course was in good overall shape for summer. I’d say pretty comparable to The Ledges, just maybe one notch better on most fronts. The tee boxes were great. The fairways were solid with some thin/burnt/weak areas scattered throughout, which is to be expected in late summer here. The rough was pretty lush for the most part, but not always consistent. The bunkers were very nice and so were the greens. They were very receptive and rolling smooth at medium/fast speeds.
I’d say Entrada definitely lived up to the hype as one of the top courses in St. George. You have to factor in the cost of the stay and play, though, to determine if it’s worth the price compared to what you might pay at Sand Hollow or Coral Canyon for a similarly high-end golf experience and distinctive course layout. I wouldn’t put Entrada on the level of Wolf Creek if you are grouping Mesquite and St. George together as many do, but I would probably rank it the best overall course in St. George based on my experiences (leaving out the cost factor).
Some pictures from Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club (8/2/18):
(Click on any picture below to pull up a gallery slideshow.)
Now, I do have to talk about the “stay” part of the Entrada experience for those of you interested. The Inn at Entrada is really nice, though it’s not really a typical inn or hotel-style setup. Entrada is a gated community. When you get a “room” at the inn, you actually get your own condo on one of the streets. Mine was a duplex and you can rent out both halves if you wish. You get your own personal garage with remote, you have a private little patio with a great view, you have a kitchenette and huge bathroom. It’s all pretty plush.
I’m usually not one to pay much for my lodging as I like to focus my expenses on the golf more than anything else. However, I do occasionally have to stay somewhere nicer to get on a specific course. The Inn at Entrada is definitely one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in my travels.
Some pictures from The Inn at Entrada: