HEBER CITY, UTAH — A few minutes outside of Park City, Red Ledges has emerged as one of Utah’s top private communities. Named a “Best Value in Second Homes” by the Wall Street Journal Real Estate Journal, the community covers 2,000 acres of epic slopes and dramatic rock formations.
As probably expected, Red Ledges’ amenities include a top-rated Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, Cliff Drysdale Tennis Academy and a Jim McLean Golf School.
Then there’s the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Park.
Not just any golf park. We’re talking Nicklaus’ first. Ever. And it’s something to see. An amusing, do-as-you-please, 12-hole course that takes golf back to that one basic element – fun.
That’s the beauty of Red Ledges. While there’s no shortage of amazing architecture and wide open spaces, the vibe is relaxed and family comes first.
“My philosophy is all about authenticity,” said Mitchel Burns, chief operating officer of Red Ledges. “We wanted to appeal to families.”
The golf park is a par-3 course with holes from 57 to 183 yards. Finished in 2016 and designed for kids, scratch golfers to first timers can also be found taking turns. And like Nicklaus’ other course at Red Ledges, this one entertains four different sets of tees for the entire family.
The cool factor? It’s a golf park. Golf is still the game, but golf balls are optional.
“People come out here and they can do whatever they want. If you want to play it with a soccer ball, a ping pong ball … you could play,” said Nicklaus, very matter of fact. “Frankly, you could play this whole golf course with a putter.”
Yeah, easy for Nicklaus to say, but it’s true. No matter where a ball is hit, the ball will feed back on the green.
On a random afternoon, Burns may be found walking the course barefoot with two clubs and his dog. That’s just the way he likes to play the course. Others surf up and down the fairways on Golfboards. A round usually takes Burns about 45 minutes, depending on how well his partner is keeping pace.
“She chases the marmots, and I chase the golf ball,” he says in a promotional video.
Located in the heart of the Heber Valley, Red Ledges was the vision of Fortune 500 businessmen Tony Burns and Nolan Archibald. It took 33 years and 27 land transactions to pull the property together. In 2007, the community was established. Today, Red Ledges is a private, year-round mountain community with thoughtfully designed neighborhoods, just 45 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport.
And while Nicklaus’ first-ever golf park gets a lot of the recognition, his signature course is one of the finest in the West. Opened in 2010, the 7,653-yard, par-72 private, members-only course offers more than 700 feet in elevation change. Moss-green junipers crowd the canyons, while red cliffs accentuate stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains.
Patrick Rhyne has spent the last 20 years building luxury and private community brands across the United States, Mexico and Caribbean. He lives in Asheville, N.C.