Located in Monticello and opened in 2002, Hideout Golf Course occupies the site of a decommissioned uranium mine. Clean up funding allowed the reclaimed land to be vegetated and protected from erosion before the course was constructed.
Getting to Monticello is no easy task. The locale isn't really near anything of consequence unless one considers the Four Corners Monument -- the only location in the USA where four States actually intersect with one another -- a location still 90 miles away!
For that reason, The Hideout is aptly named. I have long opined quality land makes up no less than 60 percent of what ultimately determines my reviews on any course. If a course is blessed with quality land then the probability of a superior design is likely to increase. Conversely, when the site is poor or simply mediocre -- the likelihood of something of distinction coming forward is usually a long shot.
Clearly, one must salute the joint efforts of Jack Snyder and Forrest Richardson for taking a decommissioned uranium mine site and transforming it into a top quality golf layout. The terrain is really the central storyline when playing given the "before" and "after storyline. The land has a range of movements and the real challenge was not to overload the finished effort with too much man-made clutter thereby keeping a much more fitting connection for the overall experience.
There are a number of fun shots and holes when at The Hideout. Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the closing two holes on each nine. The par-5 9th is exceptional. One has to work the drive to the right spot and for those who can marry length and accuracy you can have a go at the three-tiered green located a number of yards behind a perpendicular creek well-positioned to catch shots not sufficiently executed to escape its clutches.
The par-4 18th brings the round to a thrilling conclusion. The hole begins from an elevated teeing area and with the fairway falling away players have to skillfully negotiate a tapered fairway that rejects anything but the surest of plays. The thrill of the hole is also aided by a meandering creek -- named for Montezuma -- which provides a serpentine impact as it widens to a pond directly in the path of the green.
The Hideout is blessed in having sufficient movement in the fairway areas. The rise and fall and tumbling nature allows for a wide assortment of lies and stances players must deal with throughout the round. While length is a plus the more crucial dimensions is placement. The natural beauty of the surrounding area is also striking and adds much to the golf side of the equation.
The only anchor around the neck of The Hideout is the problematic turf quality. It's not bad, per se, however it's also nowhere near as detailed as it should be. The lack of consistency in terms of the "look" actually takes away the design elements which would stand out even more if the turf were of sufficient quality.
I am not advocating pristine conditions but something that clearly accentuates the design elements -- level tees, bunkers properly prepared and greens cut so that a 6-foot putt does not require a shoulder turn to get to the hole, to name just a few. Fees are very modest to play and for those adventurous souls making the trek to get to Monticello you'll find a layout where fun interesting golf is clearly on the agenda.
Tying all the loose ends together would really add a great deal more to the experience.
Should The Hideout make improvements on the presentation side the overall rating for the course would easily rise from my existing grade now.
It's my hope to return in the near future and see if that does happen.
M. James Ward