A look at one of Utah’s oldest golf courses

By Marco Villano

If you haven’t had your nerves checked for a while, try heading out for a round of golf at Bonneville Golf Course. At only 6,800 yards from the blue tees and 6,400 yards from the whites, Bonneville Golf Course seems like a fairly playable track. Here’s the kicker: the putting greens, with their twists and turns, have the ability to bring even great players to their knees. Bonneville’s greens are fast, severely sloped, and if you find yourself above the hole you may need to set up a road block to stop it from rolling off the green.
The major dilemma most players will have on these greens is not trusting the adage “it breaks towards the lake.” Bonneville lets players know right from the start that they are in for a harsh round on the greens. Although the first hole is a reachable par 5 in two shots, the green itself can easily make players surrender a bogey.
Keeping the ball in the fairway is always a good rule of thumb, but it holds even more true at Bonneville. Trees line a good number of the fairways, leaving little room for error.
Now Bonneville is a tough track in which course management comes into play, so keeping expectations within reason can leave time to soak in the surroundings.
Bonneville is a beautiful green course with awesome views of the valley to the west and mountains to the east. Sometimes it’s just better to enjoy the fact that you’re outside getting some fresh air instead of cooped up inside at a desk.
There are plenty of challenging holes at this course that ask a lot from the untailored golfer. The holes that are typically the most challenging are No. 4, 5, 10, and 18. Hole No. 4 is a 443-yard par-4 with an intimidating tee shot and an even more gut-wrenching approach into the green. If you miss this green to the right, it’s almost a guaranteed bogey. Hole No. 5 is a par-5 that is unreachable for most in two shots, which is actually a good thing because going for it isn’t beneficial on this hole. It features a double teared green with its highest point at the front and no room behind the green. The course manager can up the ante by placing the hole anywhere between a front to a middle pin location. The tee shot on No. 10 is the most daunting of all at Bonneville. A gorge stretches for about 200 yards from the front of the tee box and has been getting a steady diet of Titleist and Pinnacle, particularly from players who are having problems getting off the tee that day. Not only is the tee shot difficult, but can play extremely long if the northeast green is in play. If the shorter southwest green is in play, it has many humps and bumps which can easily lead to a three put, not to mention the fact that it lurks dangerously close to being out of bounds.
Last but definitely not least is No. 18. After a downhill tee shot that will hopefully end up in the fairway, players are left with an uneven lie, trouble to the left and a similar, albeit narrower, gully to No. 10 that needs to be cleared in order to get to the green. It’s a fine, picturesque finishing hole, but it will leave the casual golfer praying to the golf gods for mercy.
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