““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
When your golf and ski seasons each run seven months, you can count on some overlap. But this is ridiculous. Or idyllic.
It's July 4 in the Wasatch Mountains southeast of Salt Lake City, a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 80s, and skiers are lined up on the lifts for yet another shot at the snow-capped slopes of Mt. Timpanogos. At the same time, just across the Heber Valley, golfers are warming up at Red Ledges.
Here at this 2,000-acre community and nature preserve, there's enough to keep the most demanding recreational athlete busy. An on-site equestrian center is linked to miles of horse and hiking trails that traverse the countryside comprising Red Ledges. Just outside the front gates you can find ideal freshwater fishing and boating. There's also an outdoor pool onsite, along with a health spa and a Cliff Drysdale Tennis Academy. And for those seeking help with the demands posed by the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, the Jim McLean Golf Academy offers tutorials.
The terrain, at times rugged, climbs 700 feet and features dry washes and the kind of dramatic red rock that's more typical of southern Utah. Junipers and sagebrush animate the landscape, along with mule deer and elk. Real estate plans include a comfortable mix of semi-detached villas, individual cottages and expansive estate homesites. A third of the land has been set aside as a nature preserve.
The par-72 golf course, 7,569 yards from the back tees, is a stern test, evident in its high slope (151) and rating (76.9). There's some solace in the fact that with a clubhouse base elevation of 5,900 feet, golfers here get 10 percent more distance than they would at sea level. Still, you'd be wise to ease into the course. Even from the three more forward sets of markers, a round here is a sturdy confrontation with contours that can be maddening. It takes more than a few rounds to get used to ideal lines of play.
If you need relief from the strains of golf, though, you'll have plenty of options, ranging from the legendary ski slopes of Deer Valley to the arts, culture, fine dining and pub life of Park City, 20 miles to the northeast.
Red Ledges is at 1851 E. Center St., Heber, Utah 84032.
For information, call (435) 657-4040 or (877) 733-5334 or visit www.redledges.com.
Salt Lake City International is 37 miles northwest and has a 12,000-foot runway.
FBO: Million Air, (800) 752-5382.
Heber City Municipal Airport/Russ McDonald Field is four miles southwest and has a 6,898-foot runway.
FBO: OK3Air, (800) 388-4445.