Home to the American Bison and the “untamed spirit of the west,” Wyoming’s eastern high plains and prairies and western mountain ranges leave no room to wonder how it is the least populated state in the nation while being the tenth largest by land area.
But this is no jab at the state of Wyoming as it is arguably the state most closely holding to its original geography, not being disrupted very often by large cityscapes but instead overflowing with nascent wonder.
This theme of undisturbed nature is analogous to the state’s golf courses as well, making it home to some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. Here are five Wyoming golf courses that every golfer will want to play.
Best Private Course: Shooting Star Golf Club (Teton Village)
On a portion of the ranch land owned by the Resor family in Jackson Hole, Shooting Star Golf Club was designed by Tom Fazio, who is known for designing courses that naturally fit within the landscape of their site. This course wonderfully showcases the wildlife and natural environment of the Jackson Hole area, located at the base of Grand Teton National Park.
This course has eighteen unforgettable holes etched into the surroundings, one not too closely resembling the last; yet there is a theme throughout the layout that garnishes the terrain. At 7550 yards from the back tees, this par-72 is immaculately kept and is sure to pique any golfer’s attention time and time again.
Best Public Course: Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club (Jackson)
Having undergone a renovation by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 1971 as sanctioned by Laurence Rockefeller, this course was again enhanced by the same man in 2004, adding over 500 yards to keep the track relevant in the age of technology. Now, the par-72 weighs in at over 7400 yards and has a range of tees for any skill-level of golfer.
The opening hole of the Jackson Hole Golf Course is a slight dogleg left which narrows as a tee shot gets closer to the hole. Guarded all along the right side of the landing area with bunkers and on the left by the driving range, this 404-yard par-4 requires you to stay on the straight and narrow.
The second hole features a grand view of the surrounding mountains in the distance, and with a creek running all along the right side of the fairway, this par-5 may require something less than driver off the tee to keep the ball in play – especially considering that only few golfers will try to reach this green in two given the tree and water guarding the fairway short of the green.
This course is another excellent example of how the surrounding beauty of an area cannot be contained behind a paywall of member’s only experiences.
Most Challenging Course: 3 Creek Ranch Golf Club (Jackson)
Fitting the consistent theme throughout the best of Wyoming’s golf courses, Rees Jones, the architect behind 3 Creek Ranch Golf Club explains that there was very little dirt moved during construction. Rather, the natural undulations of the setting were used to weave the holes together from tee to green. In the same vein, more than 400 acres of the course are protected in a conservation easement.
At over 7700 yards from the back tees, this course reflects the magnitude of the Grand Teton, which towers over it, in the level of its challenge. With three of the four par-5’s measuring in at over 600 yards and two of the four par-3’s at over 200 yards, you better bring your long game to this unforgiving layout.
Despite the rugged grind that playing this course from the tips may require, there is much more awaiting to be enjoyed than just the challenging golf. Surrounded by wild-life and the Teton mountains, 3 Creek Ranch sports spectacular views from just about anywhere on the property.
Most Scenic Course: Snake River Sporting Club (Jackson)
While many courses take full advantage of the extravagant scenery in embellishing the all-around experience of a round of golf, none does it better in the state of Wyoming than Snake River Sporting Club. Designed by the famous Tom Weiskopf, the course is edged by the Snake River in a way that allows for every detail of the untouched splendor of the location to be espoused.
At just over 7500 yards from the tips, this par-72 is rated at 76.7. While the opening hole is a longer par-4 obliging quality shots in order to make par, the second hole draws you into the round with an extensive elevation drop from tee to green allowing longer hitters the potential to reach the green with their drive at only 317 yards.
The back nine is home to arguably the most stunning hole in the golf course, the par-3 hole number 12. With cottonwoods surrounding the green, Beaver pond and a small stream guard the remainder of the hole not attended to by bunkers.
Best Deal: Rochelle Ranch Golf Course (Rawlins)
At 7925 yards from the longest tees, Rochelle Ranch Golf Course embodies championship Wyoming golf; and better yet, at a manageable price. This links style track is propped within the native space of Rawlins Wyoming. If nearly 8000 yards sounds like a bit much to you on a links style course (don’t worry, it does for me too) then Rochelle Ranch can accommodate you as well with their five sets of tees, allowing for a range of skill level to enjoy this pristine venue.
At only $30 for a round of 18 holes walking, Rochelle Ranch is the perfect place to find representative Wyoming golf on a budget.
Many Americans flock to the private resorts of Wyoming to gain solitude, participate in outdoor sport and recreation, and to relax in the middle of bountiful scenery. What is lesser known, however, is that the same aspects of the topography and culture of Wyoming that make it such a desirable place for such activities also makes it an unassailable setting for fantastic golf courses. The next time the rush of life leaves you gasping for air, keep a Wyoming golf trip at the top of your list of recovery plans.
Did we miss a course? Share your Wyoming golf experiences in the comments section below.