Black Desert a Grand Finale for Weiskopf

Aerial view of a golf hole at Black Desert Golf Course in Utah, showing a dramatic sky and red rocks in the background. (Image: Black Desert Golf Course)

Black Desert is the last of the 73 golf courses designed by Tom Weiskopf before his death in 2022. (Image: Black Desert Resort)

Black Desert, Tom Weiskopf’s final golf course design, is an instantly acclaimed beauty that twists through red rock plateaus and ancient lava fields in southwestern Utah. The PGA and LPGA tours will stop here starting this fall.

It’s hard to imagine a better send-off for the late, great Tom Weiskopf.

Launched in May 2023, the golf course Weiskopf designed with his partner Phil Smith at Black Desert Resort in Ivins, Utah, was recognized by Golf Digest as one of the best new public courses to open in 2023, ranked behind only The Lido at Sand Valley. Perhaps even more impressive, the eponymous Black Desert golf course was quickly chosen to host the new 2024 Black Desert Championship, part of the PGA TOUR’s 2024 FedExCup Fall lineup, as well as an LPGA Tour event in the spring of 2025. The PGA Tour last stopped in Utah in 1963, and the LPGA in 1964.

Surrounded by red rock mountains and carved through ancient black lava fields, Black Desert is the last of 73 golf courses designed by Weiskopf before his death in August 2022. Weiskopf and Smith built the visually dramatic, par-72 layout with playability in mind. Most fairways are 70 to 100 yards wide, and the 7,417-yard layout includes two drivable par-four holes (the 5th and 14th), a Weiskopf hallmark. Once one of the game’s longest hitters, Weiskopf won 16 PGA Tour titles between 1968 and 1982, including the 1973 Open Championship.

“Black Desert blew me away,” said one Golfweek rater. “It has everything I would want in a modern course. The combination of setting, vistas and course itself is the total package. The black lava rock is so unique. You also have the beautiful sweeping vistas of the red canyons from every hole.”

“Tom Weiskopf did a wonderful job working with the natural terrain to produce a course that flows beautifully through the lava fields,” another early reviewer enthused. “Nothing felt forced or tricked out.”

Archival photo of Tom Weiskopf raising the Claret Jug after his Open Championship victory.

Tom Weiskopf with the Claret Jug after his victory in the 1973 Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Black Desert joins the ranks of such acclaimed Weiskopf designs as Forest Dunes (Michigan), the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale (Arizona), the Ocean Club (Bahamas), the Resort Course at La Cantera (Texas), and the Club at Castiglion del Bosco (Italy).

Black Desert’s hometown of Ivins, located in southwestern Utah near the Arizona border, is a suburb of the city of St. George, a 190 kilometre drive northeast of Las Vegas, and 480 kilometres south-west of Salt Lake City. Upon buildout, the 600-acre, US$2 billion resort complex will include a 150-room hotel and conference centre overlooking the golf course and Snow Canyon State Park, more than a thousand residences, hiking trails, a spa, and 80,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Construction of the hotel and part of the golf village is expected to be completed by the fall of 2024. The remainder of the resort will open in stages over the next several years.

In addition to the Troon Golf-managed golf course by Weiskopf and Smith, Black Desert Resort will also feature a 36-hole illuminated putting course, as well as a lakeside, amphitheatre-style 19th Hole terraced into the black lava.