Check out what has been happening in Utah Golf.

A Great Match: Colby Cowan, Sand Hollow

It was good news all around when the announcement came that Colby Cowan had been named head professional at Sand Hollow Golf Course.

Cowan had been the head professional at The Ledges since its opening in 2004, but a sale pending on the golf course had been pending too long and the situation had become uncertain for the staff.

When Vanguard Management bought Coral Canyon it triggered some head professional changes and the situation created a head professional opening at Sand Hollow Golf Course which was a perfect match and timing for Cowan.

Cowan is a very popular professional and has worked hard through the PGA section to improve golf for all Utahns. Utah golfers were pleased when they heard that Sand Hollow had latched onto him.

Sand Hollow has been receiving, and justifiably so, rave reviews by the prestigious golf magazines in the world. Golf Digest and Golf Magazine have both recently rated Sand Hollow in the Top Ten of New Golf Courses in America. Golf Magazine ranked it sixth and Golf Digest ranked it seventh. Some knowledgeable Utah golfers are already rating it as the number one public golf course in Utah.

Cowan has more than 18 years’ experience in the golf industry. In addition to the Ledges he has also served as head professional at Coral Canyon and as an assistant pro at Bloomington Country Club and at Cedar Ridge Golf Course in Cedar City.  At The Golf Course at Sand Hollow, Colby will supervise all daily operations, budgeting, merchandising, training of employees, and help oversee the construction of the clubhouse due for completion in late 2010.

Colby received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

Colby is a Class a member of the PGA of America, and currently serves as the Secretary for the Utah Section PGA.

Colby has been honored by the Utah Section PGA as the Horton Smith Award winner in 2004 and was named Merchandiser of the Year in 2008.

Colby is married to Kristin Cowan and together they have 3 daughters.  He enjoys sports, traveling, and spending time with his family.

The golf course is a links style course in the desert. The front nine is very walkable, but a cart is recommended for the back nine.   The course is beautifully designed by John Fought, former BYU player and former United States Amateur champion. He recently re-designed Riverside Country Club and Alpine Country Club, and his first notable design creation was Pumpkin Ridge near Portland, Oregon.

The course is wonderfully groomed with rich green grass. It is exquisite conditioning. Wade Field is the superintendent. He was previously the superintendent at Thanksgiving Point. He and his staff are doing a marvelous job.  The fairways are wide and welcoming, and the greens are welcoming until you get on them. They are huge and hitting the greens on this course doesn’t necessarily make for a nice day. Reading the greens is very difficult with double breaks and even subtle ones that are baffling. The speed is also difficult to manage and can be very deceptive because of the slopes.

Chipping close is also a difficult challenge.  There are few easy up and downs on these greens. The greens are fair, but demand great putting and chipping talent and feel.

The highlight portion of the course comes on holes 12, 13, 14, and 15, a spectacular chain of holes located on a ledge that looks down about 400 feet to the Virgin River. Those holes are truly spectacular and photogenic. They will be seen in various golf publications for many years to come. The 15th hole will come to be regarded as one of Utah’s top par threes.

From the championship tees (Black) the course measures 7300 yards and carries a 73.7 rating and a 137 slope. Elevation at the course is about 3600 feet. The Blue tees are 6900 yards with a rating of 71.9 and a slope of 133. The White tees are 6462 and rate 69.6 with a slope of 126. That’s a pretty long course for the shortest set of tees for men.

The women’s tees are 5306 yards and rate 68.6 with a slope of 114.

The foundation of the clubhouse was laid last year, but the recession put it on hold. Construction will begin anew this spring and it is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

The temporary tent is very professionally done. It’s so good you almost don’t realize there isn’t a clubhouse. The cart staging area is all in asphalt and the expansive driving range and putting greens are very accessible to the first tee and the clubhouse.

 There is also an additional practice putting green, called the Himalayan Green, and it is big enough to hold putting competitions.

The winter rates, currently in effect until May 15th,  are $100 Sunday thru Thursday with a twilight rate of  $50 after 1 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and holidays the  rate is $125, and after 1 p.m. the twilight rate is  $65.

During the discounted summer months, May 16 through September, the Sunday thru Thursday rate is $50, and the Friday, Saturday and holiday’s rate is $65 there are no twilight rates during summer months.

All in all it is one of Utah’s great golf courses and  it’s a nice match for Colby Cowan, one of Utah’s most  popular pros.