I got back from my vacation to the Southwest yesterday. My wife and I hiked across the Grand Canyon, from the north rim to the south rim, in two and a half days. We had a wonderful time. What made it even better was playing golf in the midst of the desert, not at a resort course, but at an executive course in the heart of the Colorado Plateau.
It’s called the Thunderbird Golf Course, and it sits at the intersection of highways 9 and 89, between Kanab, Utah, and Zion National Park, in a place called Mt. Carmel Junction, Utah. The course is 1,868 yards long from the whites, par 31. The course record is 24, I asked. This is not a destination, believe me. You would have to be there for another reason.
I seem to be going there every few years. I had passed by the place three times in the last ten years, and each time I really regretted having to keep going. On this trip I decided to schedule some time to play.
From the first tee, you get the feeling of where you are from the brown road sign you won’t see in many other places. It says, “Grand Canyon National Park 101.” My wife thinks the policeman must get a kick out of watching golfers while he waits for speeders to come by.
Below, I’m going for the green. You don’t get this background in many places, either. Those formations in the distance are at least 2,000 feet above the surrounding plain.
It took about an hour to play. I had one birdie and a few pars. Not bad for still being in recovery from two quite strenuous hikes in the past three days.
The best part is that the green fees, club rental, and cart all came to $20.
Now that the hike I had been preparing myself for all summer is over, I can start devoting myself to golf again. Life is good.