AT GOTTAGOGOLF, we established a panel to select the top golf resorts for women in our June 2015 issue. We set one absolute requirement: the elite selections must have forward tees with yardage for women measuring no more than 5,200 yards.
One of the panelists quickly weighed in to say that maybe that number should be lower, and I tended to agree. But then Salt Lake City, I played a round of golf at Wingpointe, in blustery winds, from forward tees measuring 5,228 yards. I’m a little better than the average golfer, with drives of 160-170 and an index of 18-22. And this course was a blast!
WHAT WAS SO MUCH FUN?
It was links-style, with few carries required from the forward tees. Generally, the path to the flag was clear. The firm ground and high altitude beefed up my distance, so that on the last hole my drive measured 270 yards! (Let us forget that I chunked the next shot into the bitch-ditch short of the green.)
What wasn’t fun was learning that Wingpointe was on the endangered species list. The Salt Lake City Council decided to unload three golf courses, and Wingpointe was among them — not because it is a poor or unprofitable operation, but because it is adjacent to the airport. As one of the staffers said, “A parking lot is worth more to the airport than a golf course.”
So on November 15, golfers had their last go around Wingpointe. This month, the airport took over.
So if you want to play a flat, windswept layout, with amazing views of the mountain and the city, Wingpointe no longer makes your list of options. Too bad.
I believe this is the kind of course the average woman golfer would enjoy. (Except for the lack of wine at the 19th hole, a Utah annoyance. A wager for a Manhattan? Good luck collecting.) Even if it were a resort, however, Wingpointe would not have qualified for our “best for women” lists — or for recognition by the likes of the National Women’s Golf Alliance, which evaluates golf courses — with the most forward tees at a yardage for women of 5,228.
SO I AM WONDERING, WHAT CRITERIA SHOULD WE BE USING WHEN PRAISING GOLF RESORTS FOR WOMEN?
Should we penalize them if they don’t have a driving range? Should we require healthy food options at the turn? Must there be a spa? And how many restaurants, and what sorts of beds? Is 5,200 yards a fair place to draw a line on yardage for women, thus eliminating the dream destination of Pebble Beach? Or should that be 5,000 yards, eliminating many others?
Well, we’ll have to think about that. And we hope Salt Lake City thinks about the line from that old song by Joni Mitchell: “They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.”
Look for the Summer issue of GottaGoGolf, with top golf resorts for women, plus clothes to pack, gear to go and tips for the road.