Promontory lengthens course for solstice
Golfers needed all the daylight they could get to finish Promontory Golf Club’s Jack Nicklaus-designed course, Painted Valley, on June 21.
It was a good thing it was the longest day of the year for golfers who tackled the longest course in the country at 8,357 yards.
Normally, the International Golf Club in Bolton, Mass., holds the title of "longest course in the U.S.," but on Friday, that honor belonged to Painted Valley. (The longest course in the world is the Jade Dragon Golf Club in Lijang, China.)
With pin locations tucked in the back of the greens, and the tee boxes moved back as far as possible, the course was able to add nearly 300 yards to its normal length.
When playing a course that’s as long as Painted Valley, Promontory director of golf Tom Stickney said it’s important to remember to have fun.
"It’s kind of neat to do something different," he said. "Golf beats you up and it’s kind of humbling anyway, so it’s fun to just relax, put your Type A (personality) aside and go out and have fun."
He offered a couple tips to golfers who had never played the course before.
"The first thing you have to remember up here in the altitude is you want to hit it as high as humanly possible," he said. "You’re not going to get a lot of roll here. Let the altitude and the carry be your friend."
He added that it was fun to see the different styles the golfers, which included area golf pros, club members and members of the local and national media, used when approaching the lengthened course.
"It’s neat to see what these pros go out there and do," he said. "No, pros don’t play 8,400-yard courses very often, but every now and then you’ll see a 500-yard par four or a 700-yard par five. It kind of gives you a glimpse into their world."
Promontory managing director Rich Sonntag said the club is already in the process of planning next year’s event.
"We were discussing doing this exact same thing next year," he said. "Or maybe changing it up and making it the world’s shortest course on the longest day of the year."
He added that, no matter what the club decides to do, some sort of special event will happen on the summer solstice.
"I think it’s a popular event," he said. "I don’t know why we wouldn’t do it again."
The course has returned to its normal length (8,098 yards), but it might lengthen again in the future.
"It’s not something we would do every day," Sonntag said. "But once a year, why not?"
All in all, Stickney said, nothing beats a day on the course.
"You know, you’re not in the office on a Friday, so life is pretty doggone good," he said. "It could be a whole lot worse."
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