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Meet your playing partners, cliff and gorge.

If you don't mind eye-popping terrain, St. George, Utah, is a great place to play golf

FLYING OVER ST. George in southwest Utah for a golfing vacation, I could see how dramatically the area's terrain undulates, punctuated by white-walled gorges and rust red cliffs. I wondered how anyone of sound mind could have envisioned wedging in a golf course (let alone six) among such natural hazards. But I'm glad someone did.

Spectacular scenery is just one reason to play golf here. With two challenging new courses added to four existing links, and clement weather from November through May, St. George has become a winter golf mecca. Granted, it's still the little sister to such better-known resorts as Palm Springs and Las Vegas, but it also lacks the crowds and high prices of either. Greens fees top out at $24, and package lodging and golf deals enhance the bargain.

You can reach St. George by air (daily service from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City). By Interstate 15, it's a 1 1/2-hour drive north of Las Vegas or 7 hours from Los Angeles.

BEAUTY AND THE BARRANCA

Of the courses, my favorites are the two newest: Sunbrook and Green Spring. At Sunbrook, which sits atop a mesa, the signature fifth hole is a beauty--from the cliffedge tee, you drink in a vista of reefs and cliffs colored in a melting sherbet of oranges and pinks. At Green Spring (in neighboring Washington), you cross the fifth-hole barranca twice; a tee sign reads "If your ball drops into the gorge, don't attempt to retrieve it." It's good advice.

Area code for all numbers is 801, except as noted.

Green Spring, 588 N. Green Spring Drive, Washington; 673-7888. Has 18 holes, 6,717 yards; fee $24, with cart $32. Driving range; lessons available. With out-of-bounds stakes at many holes, it's probably the toughest course in the area. The Pine Valley mountains provide backdrops for quail darting over the fairway. Front nine holes are mostly flat, but it's windy around water hazards; back nine holes are hillier but have wider fairways. Call at 7:30 A.M. Mondays for following week's tee times.

St. George Golf Club, 2190 S.1400 East; 634-5854. Has 18 holes, 6,728 yards; $14 Mondays through Thursdays, $15 Fridays through Sundays, with cart $22 or $23. Generally, this course boasts wide fairways and forgiving rough; the back nine holes are somewhat hilly. Call at 7 A.M. Mondays for following week's tee times.

Southgate, 1975 S. Tonaquint Drive; 628-0000. Has 18 holes, 6,093 yards; $14 weekdays, $15 weekends, with cart $22 or $23. Driving range; lessons available. An indoor driving range has been added, and some holes have been redesigned. The front nine holes are fairly flat, the back nine are hillier, more scenic. Call Mondays for following week's tee times.

Sunbrook, 2240 Sunbrook Drive; 634-5866. Has 18 holes, 6,818 yards; $24, with cart $32. Driving range. One of the nicest municipal courses I've played. The front nine climb slightly, with narrow fairways and tees open to vistas of Snow Canyon's red walls; the back nine wind through cottonwoods. Call at 7 A.M. Mondays for following week's tee times.

Dixie Red Hills, 1000 N. 700 West; 634-5852. Has nine scenic holes, 2,564 yards; $7 Mondays through Thursdays, $8 Fridays through Sundays, with cart $11 or $12. Call Mondays for tee times up to 13 days ahead.

Twin Lakes, 660 N. Twin Lakes Drive; 673-4441. Has nine holes, l,001 yards; $4.50, with cart $8.50. Call at 8:30 A.M. a week ahead.

PACKAGE DEALS

Three lodging packages in St. George include one or two 18-hole rounds of golf per person for each night's double-occupancy stay; we list winter rates. The hotels will make your tee times if you request it ahead.

Ramada Inn, 1440 E. St. George Boulevard; (800) 228-2828. Two nights ($168 for two). Holiday Inn Resort Hotel and Convention Center, 850 S. Bluff Street; 628-4235. One night ($138 to $158 for two). Ranch Inn, 1040 S. Main Street; 628-8000. One night ($112 for two).
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Title Annotation:Travel and Recreation; golf courses in St. George, Utah
Author:Finnegan, Lora J.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Words:683
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