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HEBER -- Besides being one of the best to ever play the game, golf pro Jack Nicklaus is one of the premier course designers in the world. One of his most recent projects is the Red Ledges course in the Heber Valley.
At 69 years of age, Nicklaus is still on target. Though his playing days are over, the "Bear" still loves to be out among his fans.
"Golf was my vehicle to competition and once you lose your vehicle the competition disappears," Nicklaus said. "There are other things in life besides playing golf on the tour: the golf courses I'm doing and the competing against the land."
These days, the grandfather of 21 is competing against land called Red Ledges. "The course is different than those in the valley in that we used bent fairways and blue grass roughs, bent greens and of course the native grasses around it," he said.
Red Ledges is the third Nicklaus-designed course in Utah. It's a private 18-hole course with amazing views of the Wasatch Mountains. Tony Burns is managing owner.
"I first started buying property around the Red Ledges 35 years ago. The Red Ledges is a result of 27 different purchases that we have made, now totaling 2,000 acres," he said.
On those 2,000 acres they hope to build over 1,000 homes. Nicklaus said the course was designed so the homes and the course can co-exist peacefully. Nicklaus said he designed Red Ledges for people to have fun, not get frustrated.
"I've long gotten over doing golf courses for my own ego," he said. "When you first start you try to build a name and say ‘now that's a course people are going to get challenged by.' I don't care about that anymore."
Nicklaus said he shortened a hole on the course that was just too tough. "The hole was measuring 485 feet but climbing about 80 feet so if you compute that out, that's a very long hole," he said.
One of the most beautiful holes is No. 9, right on top of one of the ledges.
By early accounts, it looks like once again Jack hit the target with his design of Red Ledges.