Desert Hills Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.6

Golf - Public Course · · Par 72
Yuma, AZ
Website
Date Last Played: February 19, 2011

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Desert Hills Golf Course Review

Desert Hills Golf Course was named “Arizona’s Best Municipal Golf Course” by Golf Digest in 1994 and is consistently rated as the “Best Course in Yuma” by the local Yuma newspaper.  The course opened in 1973 and it is a fairly traditional 18 holes with three sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 5694 to 6800 yards.  With a rating of 69.4 to 71.8 and a slope of 116 to 119, Desert Hill Golf Course is suitable for all levels of play and it’s a course that is a tad challenging but fair. 

Desert Hills has a little bit of everything – some surprising elevation changes, water on five holes, several uphill and downhill shots, blind shots, some tight approaches, and a couple risk reward opportunities.  Normally the wind will be working against you and you'll need to manage it as well as club selection.  During your round you’ll find some fun holes like:

  • #3 a short (373 yards) but challenging downhill dog leg left par 4 that requires accuracy off the tee box to make the turn and avoid driving into the lake – then it’s a slight uphill shot along a narrow fairway or most likely a carry over the lake
  • #5 is a long 426 yard uphill climb all the way to the cup – pull out the big dog and let ‘er rip
  • Get ready to go diving if you can’t carry the pond, avoid the trap, and stay away from the slope back to the water on this good looking 186 yard par 3
  • #18 is a great finishing hole with a carry over a pond uphill to a dog leg left green – a good risk reward opportunity to fly the pond and some trees on the left to shorten the hole for a potential birdie

The fairways are a tad narrow but there is plenty of playable rough if you miss them and a few holes are side by side and if you really spray the ball you’ll most likely still have a shot back toward the pin from the other fairway.  One fairway has homes on one side but the rest have a scattering of trees, lots of tall skinny palms, and a few bushes that you’ll need to avoid.  The fairways were firm and in very good condition and the rough was patchy in spots with a mixture of grass and dirt.  

The greens are about average size, mostly oval, and the majority of them have some pretty severe slope, generally from back to front.   A few are pretty challenging with slope, tiers, and undulation.  The Dessert Hill's greens were in very good condition, ran true, and held the ball pretty well.

We played in the early morning after the course had been watered and the greens were running a little slower than normal (around a 8) and the bunkers were wet, which made the sand very heavy.  We were told that normally the sand is thick and fluffy and a bit gritty.  Most of the bunkers are flat faced but a few are a couple feet deep and steep. 

If you’re visiting Yuma, than Desert Hills is a must play – good conditions, pretty good value, fun, and fair.  Beware, during the season (October to April) Desert Hills stays very busy and the pace of play can be excruciatingly slow thanks to snowbirds, walkers, retirees, and fivesomes.  Desert Hills Golf Course also has a 9 hole par 27 course that we hear normally in very good condition. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,800 71.8 119
White 6,300 69.4 116
Red 5,694 72.8 118

Course Information

Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
8.5
Greens Difficulty
8.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 33 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
7.6 out of 10
Beauty:
7.0
Difficulty:
7.5
Variety:
7.5
Fun to Play:
8.5
Value:
8.0
Condition:
7.5
Front Nine Rating:
7.8
Back Nine Rating:
7.6
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$28.00 to $59.00

Service is ok but there was no cart service when we played on a Friday morning. The practice facility is adequate and the grill has drinks and some good food and a full breakfast.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking. 

 

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