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A Mecca Emerges

Day Two

Start with a breakfast burrito of eggs, chorizo, green chile and cheese at Entrada's sports and fitness club, the better to steel yourself for the test that awaits outside your door: Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club. A private club that allows no outside play except for guests of the inn, Entrada may well be the best of Johnny Miller's designs. The course makes no apologies for its rigorous but fair shotmaking demands, particularly its emphasis on precise iron play—Miller's specialty. The finest hole is the 613-yard par-five ninth, which swings hard to the right following its daringly angled tee shot over a scrub-filled canyon. Yet post-round talk inevitably centers on the stretch from fifteen through seventeen, known as the "lava triangle." Each one harder than the last, the holes snake through fields of black lava that seem airlifted from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Have a sandwich at the clubhouse and drive to nearby Snow Canyon State Park for a hike or a guided tour by Segway (to arrange one, call 435-674-7700). If time allows, make a longer trip of some forty miles to see the cliffs, sandstone towers and narrow slot canyons of Zion National Park.

Back in town for dinner, try the Gun Barrel Steak and Game House, a restaurant with a hunting-lodge theme and a mesquite grill in the center of the floor that can cook fifty steaks at once.

Day Three

Begin the day with a walking tour of historic Ancestor Square, otherwise known as downtown St. George. There's not a lot to see, but what is there—such as the tiny old jail that the town grew up around—speaks of the old Southwest. Have breakfast at the Bear Paw Coffee Company on Main Street. Belgian waffles, stone-ground oatmeal and more than twenty kinds of tea make this a local favorite.

From there, it's about a forty-five-minute drive to Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite. As tough as it is to leave St. George's natural grandeur behind for the imported palms and casino developments of Mesquite, Wolf Creek is a mandatory stop for adventure-seeking golfers. There may be no other course in America that has as many caution: steep grade signs on its cart paths. Boasting a slope of 154, Wolf Creek plays like a roller coaster, its holes either plunging downhill or climbing up, nearly all of them cocooned by enormous sandstone formations and canyon walls.

If you're still feeling lucky after the round, you can hit the casino tables in town. Just be sure to return to St. George for dinner at the Painted Pony, the region's best restaurant. Its New American cuisine carries a Southwestern accent that's on display in such dishes as almond-crusted salmon and a double-cut pork chop with mushroom bread pudding and pear-apple chutney.

Day Four

Drive over to Coral Canyon Golf Course in the town of Washington, ten minutes from St. George, for one last memorable round. Sagebrush-dotted slopes bracket many of the fairways, but the course is quite playable, thanks to generous landing areas, benign bunkers and greens that are only moderately undulating. Still, the course packs plenty of punch—two par fours measure at least 480 yards and one par three demands a mid-iron to a green surrounded by rock. But you're likely to fly home feeling as positive about your game as you do about the city of St. George and its surrounding areas.

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