GOLF

Pro Golf To Utah: PGA Tournament Coming To Black Desert

Jun 30, 2023, 9:59 AM | Updated: Jul 3, 2023, 4:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Golf in southern Utah is about to undergo a dramatic transformation in the St. George area and extending throughout the state.

Gov. Spencer Cox and other dignitaries are expected to announce at noon today (June 30) the highest level of professional golf will play a PGA tournament at the new Black Desert course in Ivins. The governor and Tyler Dennis, the senior vice president and chief of operations for the PGA Tour, are scheduled to speak on the game-changing event planned for the fall of 2024.

Randy Dodson, publisher of Fairways magazine that is the official publication of the Utah Golf Association, said in a short time Black Desert has already made a significant impact on the history of the sport in the state. The publicity the tournament will bring is expected to be boon for golf in Utah.

“With today’s announcement of a PGA Tour event in the fall of 2024, Black Desert Resort has re-established Utah’s significance in professional tour golf,” Dodson said. “All at a time when the game of golf in Utah has seen significant growth. Junior golfers and even casual golf fans will now have a chance to see the world’s best golfers in person. And by the way, the golf course itself is a must-play.”

Black Desert Golf Course, Future PGA Tour Destination

Black Desert, which opened with all 18 holes over the Memorial Day weekend, is part of a massive development project on land a few miles south of the entrance to Snow Canyon State Park. Upon completion, which is still five years away, the resort will be the largest of its kind in Utah.

The announcement comes on the heels of another significant professional tournament coming to Black Desert. The LPGA Tour will return to the state with a tournament scheduled for May 2025.

The Black Desert Championship and the LPGA event, the first in Utah in almost 60 years, will make the facility one of three courses in the United States to play a men’s and women’s tournament at the same site. The other two are famed Pebble Beach in northern California and the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.

“These dual tournaments will have a huge impact on the sport in the state of Utah,” said Patrick Manning, the managing partner for Black Desert. “I believe it will result in more kids getting interested in golf as well as bring more golfers to the state, causing more rounds on courses statewide.

The Tom Weiskopf- designed course, which is open to the public for now, offers impressive views of the majestic, red-splashed mountains mingled among the lava fields sprinkled in and around several holes. Amenities include a 36-hole putting course along with the usual driving range and practice greens.

“Black Desert is truly a spectacular place,” said Weiskopf, who was able to see his work come to fruition before he died last August at age 79 from pancreatic cancer. “The beautiful red rock backdrops remind me of Sedona (Arizona).”

When Will Black Desert Golf Course Be Completed?

The initial phase of the development, which is expected to be finished in time for the PGA tournament, will include a 450-room hotel, five restaurants, a 25,000 square-foot convention center, spa and an 11,000-square-foot pro shop. Additional plans in subsequent years call for an entertainment district featuring a 3,000 square-foot pedestrian-only boardwalk with additional restaurants, water park and concert venue that will host musical acts in connection with the tournament.

“It’s going to be the biggest resort in the state and very amenity rich,” Manning said. “We take stewardship of this event very seriously, and we’re going to leverage every resource that we can to create the most spectacular event possible for the men and women.”

Manning said financial estimates for the greater Zion region are $70 million of annual media value and $45 million of direct impact. Both tournaments are expected to receive the usual amount of television and media attention associated with the highest levels of professional tours.

To hear more from Patrick “PK” Kinahan, subscribe to the DJ & PK podcast feed or follow him on Twitter @PKKinahan.

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Pro Golf To Utah: PGA Tournament Coming To Black Desert