Design Notes

Robert Trent Jones II to build Utah’s Three Bridges

Greg Norman goes short with Mexico’s Mandarina; Andrew Green prunes the Pine Course at Florida’s Grey Oaks

Three Bridges.jpg
Site of the planned Robert Trent Jones II course at Three Bridges in Salem, Utah.

Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects is creating its first 18-hole layout and practice facility in Utah for the new luxury residential-resort community of Three Bridges.

Set on 350 rolling acres of former cattle-grazing land, the property is in Salem, about 15 miles south of Provo along the western edge of the Wasatch Mountain Range.

The course will start with five holes routed through pastureland, while the next 13 holes will meander through a dramatically varying landscape that includes foothills, ravines and forests.

Robert Trent Jones Jr., chairman and master architect of RTJ II, said: “I’m thrilled our firm is gearing up to construct our first course in Utah. The land is special and will offer golfers great views and great shots.”

According to Trent Jones, COO of RTJ II, ownership’s direction was to emphasize “fun” by creating an enjoyable experience for all levels of golfers. “Knowing this community is geared to families, we created great flexibility in the positioning of teeing areas and welcoming fairway corridors for the beginning golfer, while creating exciting challenges for the seasoned player. We will add to the fun by preserving the natural landscape and emphasizing the views of the Wasatch range and amazingly varied topography.”

Construction will begin this spring, with the first nine holes and driving range expected to open by spring/summer 2025, along with a temporary clubhouse and fully stocked comfort stations. Other hospitality options, which will be operated by the resort, will include a sports bar with outdoor firepits and a full-day cafe. Also planned is a state-of-the-art golf academy with club-fitting bays and swing analysis.

The course will accentuate its surroundings as golfers will enjoy 360-degree views from steep mountain hillsides, across valleys and down to Utah Lake.

“We are routing the course to present the rugged landscape, elevation change, and scale of the site to both intrigue and entertain players,” said Mark Voss, senior project architect.

The course will open with a journey through open mountain meadow. The tee shots on holes Nos. 3 and 4 will offer a taste of the elevation change to be found later in the round. Holes Nos. 6 to 9 sidestep up a hillside through dense high desert, while No. 10 drops steeply to a green that pitches wildly on the valley floor. Holes 11 through 17 will wander up, down, over and across an undisturbed sloping hillside rich in vegetation and contour. The round finishes with an uphill par-5 that will tempt golfers to challenge a natural ravine in hopes of reaching the green.

Other design elements for Three Bridges include:

> Free-form tees matching the variety of angles and elevation change
> Heavily contoured greens to create maximum interest and fun
> Bunkering that pays homage to the rugged landscape, including elongated “scar” bunkers
> Clean edged-along areas of play, while backside/offside edges are more natural

Among unique golf elements being planned are a large "social green" near the main range tee; 11 Tee Homes, located at the back of the range to provide both accommodation and sport with indoor play bays; and a “hidden” par-3 challenge hole (from the seventh tee to the ninth green).

Greg Norman Golf Course Design has mapped out a 10-hole short course for Mexico’s Mandarina resort, situated on the Riviera Nayarit on the Pacific Coast. Norman and his team have worked in the region previously at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta Resort, but this course will be quite distinctive. Every hole will pay homage to a famous counterpart across the globe, Pine Valley, Pebble Beach and Royal Melbourne among them. The course will afford vistas of the Sierra de Vallejo Mountains and is intended to test low handicaps and beginners alike, per developer RLH Properties.

“The course at Mandarina will be unlike any other,” said Norman. “Each par-3 hole is an inspiration from some of the most iconic and classic courses from around the world, so playing it will produce a welcome sense of familiarity. We’re excited to provide golfers of all ages and abilities with an unforgettable experience at each hole.”

Expected opening for the new layout is 2025.

Restoration specialist Andrew Green successfully completed a renovation of Grey Oaks Country Club’s Pine Course in Naples, Fla. Green concluded the nine-month project in November 2023, with a goal of enhancing playability, maintainability and aesthetic appeal on the longest and toughest of the club’s three courses, originally designed by Lloyd Clifton in 1993.

“A big goal of our work on the Pine Course was to protect the golf experience, one that members treasured,” Green said. “I hope members can play the course every day and experience something different. We have provided avenues of play for every level of golfer. There are multiple ways to attack each golf hole. I hope members embrace and connect with the new course.”

Bunker repositioning has improved strategic options and aesthetics. Green surrounds were reconfigured to expand the recovery possibilities and the greens themselves were enlarged to provide additional hole locations.

“This new course is going to challenge players and require some strategy on where they want to be when approaching the green,” said Marty DeAngelo, senior director of golf at Grey Oaks. “The course design reflects the latest trends to give a lot more open space around the green, and that means golfers will have a lot of variety to approach the shot.”