Golf courses have frequently been used to amend “brown sites,” or previously toxic areas that aren’t suitable for residences, such as waste dumps or mining facilities. The Hideout Golf Course, just across the Colorado border in east Utah, takes this concept to a whole new level: It’s built upon a reclaimed uranium mine. Not to worry, however...if the grounds crew here can keep golfing turf this green, you ought to be alright.
What you should worry about instead, perhaps, are the large levels of elevation change throughout this course. Although many holes will be beyond reachable for long hitters (the course tips out at 6,650 yards), this reachability will create consternation. Is it worth it to attack the green on a downhill, 332-yard par four when the green is ably defended by bunkers and a creek?
Although No. 15 is just under 300 yards from the back tees, the uphill trek to its green doesn’t make it an eagle opportunity for many. Hole No. 8 drops 100 feet during its 400 yards but getting home in regulation will rely on your ability to navigate the inevitable downhill lie during your approach shot.
One of the beauties of Top 100 is that it alerts you to courses that you may otherwise have never heard of and Hideout is a prime example of this.
On a road trip through the mid west, without Top 100 I would have planned my route through from Colorado Springs to Moab differently. But having spotted Hideout, the route was planned through Southern Colorado via South Fork and then up to Monticello.
And Hideout was worth the effort. It maybe a municipal but the course design, in an old uranium mine/quarry, utilises the old workings exceptionally, delivering varied and interesting holes throughout. There are many elevation changes throughout, with elevated tees in abundance, taking maximum advantage of the land it has been upon.
The pro was very friendly and helpful, which is always a good start to any round.
The course plays in 2 loops of 9, starting and finishing at the clubhouse, so if you're passing through and can only play 9 holes then this course is ideal.
The conditioning could be improved i.e.level tee boxes, and the fairway grass is as long as you would expect for a 1st cut of rough, but I can only presume that this is to help protect the fairways in what is a very hot and dry State.
The course has a good mix of holes with 2 par 3s and 2 par 5s on each loop of 9 holes.
The par 3s are all good, the 1st coming along at hole 3, played across the hillside and the shortest of the par 3s at 140 yards off the Blue tees. The par 3s at 7 and 11 play uphill but the best is left for the spectacular downhill par 3 on the 17th. 167 yards off the Blues but playing much shorter, the green is wide but as I found out, despite hitting the green I left myself a 50 footer, having to putt over a raised area and ultimately 3 putting!
The par 5s are also good. The 1st comes on hole 2, a narrow off the tee 500 yard hole. The narrowness comes as trees pinch in from left and right, where a brook also crosses the course. Longer hitters can reach this so accuracy is key otherwise laying up short leaves a straightforward par or better on offer.
The front 9 finishes with a strong par 5, position being all important as the green is tucked up left behind trees, with 3 tiers. The green complex also has a pond in front of it, so the correvt angle of attack is key.
The par 5s on the back nine come back.to back at holes 13 and 14. The pick is the 13th.played from a high tee, the landing strip is narrow, before playing across a brook, at an angle to the green, leaving a short 3rd shot in.
The greens were in very good condition, rolled true and were quick, despite being soft on approach. Only 2 greens were suffering but still putted ok.
The par 4s again bring plenty of variety, with elevated tees in play on 1, 4, 5, 8, 12, and 18. Some of the drops were severe - hole 5 in particular; some were challenging off the tee - hole 8 which is narrow visually, plays downhill with a right to left slope, overshoot the fairway and you're left with a downhill approach. The pick of the back nine are holes 16 and 18. 16 plays across a ravine and then uphill to a narrow green entrance where the green them slopes downhill away from you and the finishing hole 18, leaves along approach shot over a creek to a receptive green.
Value for money - very good. Course design - excellent. Conditioning- Ok. Greens - very good, with plenty of movement and pin placement choices. Wildlife - a plenty!
I suspect most people will only call in here if they are passing, and I would therefore encourage you to plan your route, like I did and enjoy this appropriately named Hideout in southern Utah.
The Hideout is a great course that is unfortunately highly isolated in comparison to most other courses in Utah and Colorado. The municipal course of Monticello, the Southeastern corner of where it resides closest to the southern part of Canyonlands and the Four Corners. It’s an interesting choice to turn a decommissioned Uranium mine into a Golf Course, and they did a great job. For those who make the trek, they will find an affordable course with some of the most dramatic mountain terrain of any public course in Utah.
There isn’t too much distinct between the two 9s, it’s a consistently solid throughout outside of a few more boringly flat holes. Also, beware of going off the holes, as it can prove very hard to find any balls in the dense trees and vegetation. The views will pale in comparison to the close-by national parks, but it’s a layout one can easily appreciate. It would be wise to bring an offline gps or rangefinder, as reception in Monticello can be spotty.
-8th: One of the more dramatic drops of the course, be prepared for a very down-hill shot to reach the green.
-16th: An uphill par 4 requiring a drive across a ravine, it then needs a blind shot to the green.
-17th: The steepest drop of the course, be prepared for much less club to reach this green.
The sheer isolation makes it hard to recommend this course to those only interested in golfing. If that’s your only interest, you’d likely be better off playing Northern Utah’s Soldier Hollow, Thanksgiving Point, or the Private Park City courses if you have the connections. But as part of a National Park road-trip through Southern Utah, it’s a worthwhile stop, especially for the cheap price.
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