While opulent Tom Fazio golf estates are not uncommon in America, nor within the pages of this website, there is something rather unique about Shooting Star in Jackson Hole. The course and community occupy part of the Snake River Ranch, a large cattle station listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Controlled by the Resor family, who founded the ranch in the 1920s, golf was essentially thrust upon the property when the state of Wyoming threatened to terminate part of their leasehold to allow for a third-party golf development. Concerned by the proposed location of the course, and its potential impacts on a nearby trout stream, the family decided to build it themselves, and to shift golf closer to the resort town of Teton Village. It was an inspired decision.
What the Resor’s lacked in golf experience, they more than made up for with an intimate knowledge of the property and of the beautiful surrounding ranges. They left nothing to chance, engaging world-renowned architects to plan and design their physical buildings, and Tom Fazio to create their golf course. Fazio courses aren’t cheap, but building in the shadows of North America’s most breathtaking mountains warranted something special; and Fazio delivered in spades.
Shooting Star showcases Fazio’s artistic skills perfectly. Few others would have been capable of converting flat, lackluster land at the base of the Rocky Mountains into such a stunning, harmonious core-golf experience. To complement the surroundings, and provide the necessary drama for golf, the designer shaped 50 acres of lakes and used approximately 2 million cubic yards of fill to build privacy mounds, ridges and a variety of golfing features. To ensure a mature landscape, his team planted hundreds of pine, spruce, cottonwood and aspen trees.
To Fazio’s great credit, the scale and majesty of the setting is but part of the attraction here. Thirteen holes interplay with lakes, ponds and a meandering system of creeks and streams, and each add as much to the overall aesthetic appeal as those holes oriented toward the Teton Range. His boldly shaped bunkering is also eye-catching; the traps generally featuring jagged edges and a wispy fescue fringe.
The front nine is largely set out in a clockwise outer loop, with the inward holes arranged in an internal figure eight that begins and ends in full view of the expansive clubhouse. Among the highlight holes are the par threes, each dominated by water but played in a different direction and with a great deal of design and physical variety. The most memorable is the 17th, a powerful hole played up the length of a stream and framed by an attractive bunker complex cut into a sizeable mound behind the green.
With the exception of the nasty 5th, the longer holes are largely arranged to entice an aggressive approach, but with ample room for the safer, more conservative play. The creek crossing 3rd and strong, bending 8th are both fun; as are the reachable par five 9th, with its skinny ledge green, and the mid-length 16th, which runs alongside crystal clear waters. Also worthy of note are the 13th and 14th holes, strategically sound and unexpectedly routed beside a field of remnant sagebrush.
On top of excellent conditioning, quality design and stunning scenery, is the sensitive manner in which the residential subdivision at Shooting Star has been masterplanned away from the golf. Coupled with a beautiful clubhouse and first-class summer and winter amenities, it’s no surprise that well-heeled golfers looking for an alpine retreat find this place so appealing.
In Volume 3 of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, Tom Doak published that.
“Immediately to the south of the Teton Village ski base, Shooting Star is the new king of the Jackson courses because the developer clustered all the housing up near the village, and let Tom Fazio create his golfing landscape in the south end of the meadow, with no homes to intrude. I happened to play it on a very windy day with a storm coming over the mountains, and it was great fun in those conditions, with Fazio’s normal reticence to get in the golfer’s face with hazards serving as a welcome relief. [The par-3 6th was all the driver I could hit, from 177 yards.] Perhaps we stopped playing at the right time, as the water-laden final four holes would have made a tough finish that day…especially with the ball blowing off the greens“
Shooting Star Golf Club received a score of 7 out of 10 from Tom Doak.