Aug
31
2015
Adventure in Utah with the GMC Canyon
By Stephanie Wei under Travel

GMC Canyon

A few months ago, I was invited by GMC on a press trip entitled “Choose Your Own Adventure,” which was centered around featuring and showing off the automobile giant’s Canyon, a premium mid-size truck. I (obviously) don’t write about cars and I appreciated that the email invitation acknowledged that key fact, but the catch was the “adventure” part of the program involved golf, along with other intriguing outdoor activities.

Given the reality that I might not be able to say “yes” to escapades like this for an infinite amount of time, I enthusiastically accepted the generous offer. Besides, I’d never driven a truck before — I always found them a bit intimidating and out of my comfort zone. But, hey, YOLO!

The trip in late July (which isn’t exactly the most temperate time of the year, aka it was hot as hell) kicked off with a flight into Las Vegas. From the airport, I was quickly whisked to the Tropicana Hotel, where I registered and signed my life away. I perused the “info” brochure I’d been given and learned what the plan would be over the next couple of days.

We obviously weren’t staying in Vegas to test out the trucks. Instead, our destination was St. George, located in southwest Utah. I’d been in the area before as I have vivid memories from high school when I went on a one-week river rafting trip (and didn’t shower for the duration unless you count getting splashed and sometimes drenched by the muddy river).

Once the cargo of the truck was loaded with my golf clubs and suitcase, I started to get acquainted with the interior and I was pleasantly surprised by all the modern essentials that were included. It had a very high-tech touchscreen control board that included a great navigation system, rear vision camera, more USB ports that you could hope for, Apple CarPlay (which I’d never seen before), OnStar with 4G LTE that can also be used as a WiFi hotspot (!!!).

 

GMC Canyon

As I kicked off my two-hour road trip on the freeway, I recalled the beauty of the area that was defined by the brick-colored canyons. Turns out St. George is a golf and national and state park mecca, as well — which also meant it was the perfect spot to highlight the features and benefits of a mid-size truck in an area with such spectacular scenery.

Best of all, the Canyon was easy to drive. I’m not going to lie — I was a little intimidated at first, given that I’d never rocked a truck before, but any hesitation I had dissipated quickly. It felt like I was just driving any regular car (and that’s definitely not the case with all trucks now that I’ve also driven the GMC Sierra Denali, which is awesome because you feel absolutely invincible on the road).

inn at entrada

When I reached my destination, the Inn at Entrada, I was welcomed by the friendly GMC PR/marketing team and then shown to my very spacious room, which was more like a villa. It always pains me when I end up with massive spaces during a trip because of the opposite situation I have living in Manhattan. But I digress.

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After a relaxing evening and a good night’s sleep, the small group of us that were going to play golf loaded up our clubs in the back of the truck and ventured off to Coral Canyon Golf Course in the nearby town of Washington. The par-72 track bestows mind-blowing panoramic views of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park — the mixed vegetation surrounded by the mountainous desert creates a gorgeous and vibrant setting.

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Coral Canyon was a “friendly” yet fun and challenging layout for golfers of all levels. There were certainly quite a few elevated tees, which provided decent photo ops. The fairways were relatively generous, but there were several forced carries and ravines that added some character and visual intimidation. There were several holes with risk-reward opportunities that enhanced an enjoyable test.

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The course wasn’t in the best shape in the world as the un-manicured tee boxes were covered with divots. The greens weren’t perfect, but they looked like the fine carpet in comparison. The fun and playable layout compensate for the rugged course conditioning.

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The “signature” hole is the par-3 no. 6, which only measures 122 yards from the tips, but miss the green in the wrong place or miss it altogether and you’re in trouble. There’s also a massive ravine in front of the green, which leaves no room for error or slightly fatted shots, especially since there’s a false front and it slopes from back to front. You also can’t go long since there are red boulders right behind the green — or actually, encompassing it. It sounds much more intimidating than it actually plays because you only have a little wedge in your hands. I mean, I hit it to eight feet and was disappointed that I didn’t get it closer. It’s a fun little hole, though, and serves as another example that length doesn’t equate to difficulty or what constitutes as a good test.

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Watch out for the short par-4 8th. It’s an easy hole, but it can turn troublesome if you’re not careful. It’s drivable for longer hitters and if you miss it in the wrong spot, you may not want to wander into the desert for fear of running into a rattler to find your ball. There are also a group of bunkers guarding the front of the green to avoid.

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On the par-4 12th, it’d be wise to figure out what the distance is to run out the fairway because there’s a ravine/desert if your drive goes too far. Smart players will take a shorter club off the tee and then face a long shot into the green.

Two of the last three holes are par-5s and present good scoring opportunities to finish your round. Overall, with its laid-back vibe, breathtaking vistas and endearing ruggedness, Coral Canyon was a treat to play and I’d recommend it if you’re in the area.

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For outdoor lovers, there’s more than just golf to enjoy. The following day, we went paddleboarding — it was my first time and I’m now completely hooked!

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