Wasatch Mountain, on the east side of Salt Lake City, has bloomed with municipal golf options and architect Gene Bates has benefitted the most (outside of local residents, of course). He was responsible for both the Gold and Silver Courses at the Soldier Hollow facility, projects he earned after renovating the second 18 at the Wasatch Mountain facility.
The Mountain Course was originally laid out by William Howard Neff — who had designed the longer Lake Course five years earlier — during 1972, and Bates came through to give it a modern renovation during 1998. Unlike his work at Soldier Hollow, the mountain route at Wasatch Mountain is considered the more gentle loop at this park.
Much of this is due to the lack of water hazards on the Mountain side, compared to Lake. That said, don’t underestimate the distance on the Mountain scorecard: Although it comes in significantly shorter than the Lake, part of this is because the route features six par threes. There are also five par fives, and No. 12 rules over all of them: At 635 yards, this long hole requires three stiff shots to reach, even in the mountain air.
Wasatch Mountain is a 36-hole complex, one of two in the Wasatch Mountain State Park. I’ll avoid repeating too much from my Lake Course review, so suffice to say, I was looking forward to seeing how much better the Mountain Course was. The newer of the two layouts, it lives up to its name: with crazy rises and drops along with heavy forestation anywhere besides the holes. It is just straight-up a joy to play.
The course starts similarly to the Lake course, with two flat holes and a demanding waterlogged par 3 being one of them. Then it starts showing its true character with its mountainous side. The front 9 shows more the uphill side, and once it reaches the middle 9, it starts playing more downhill. But throughout, it delivers fun holes with sometimes demanding but mostly wide-open holes to get to the green. This is Mountain golf at their most fun and picturesque. The only critique I can give is that the course gives little room for creative play, as it’s almost always just going straight for or towards the hole and little else.
6: A moderately long par 4, what it lacks in length it makes up for by being insanely demanding with accuracy. Any nasty hooks or slices will be swallowed by the forests, so keep it straight.
7: An uphill par 3 with two bunkers guarding left and right, do your best to get on the green but there’s room for error.
11: The shortest par 4 by far, it’s an easily driveable par 4, but with the most demanding drive from the back tees, with a long uphill shot across the ravine.
12: The longest par 5 of the course, but it’s also the most consistently downhill. Mishits will be amplified as a result, but you may be able to reach the green in two with good shots.
14: A short par 5 with a downhill drive. Hit a good and accurate drive and it’s an easy 2-shot to the green.
17: A long downhill par 3 heavily guarded by bunkers and a water hazard. It will mercilessly penalize any mishits.
I can confidently say this satisfied and exceeded my expectations. For the hardcore challenge seeker and those who like their golf with room for creative shot choices, this might not be for you. But those who are in it for views and fun mountain course designs, this will not disappoint. So, while not quite in the top echelon of Northern Utah courses in my opinion, I can confidently say it’s a worthwhile round visitors to the area, especially for its price.
Wasatch Mountain has two excellent golf courses. Mountain and Lake. We will be reviewing Mountain. Unfortunately, it is a riding only course.
The first hole is a short welcoming par 4. It lists right so favor left of center off the tee. The first par 3 is relatively short and what you see is what you get, bunker right and left. The 3rd hole is more demanding than it appears. The hole tilts right and the fairway ends about 125 yards out. Favor the left off the tee as the contour also goes right and right of the cart path is bogey at best. Four thru eight are your scoring holes. Four is a short par four, favor the left off the tee to set up your attack wedge. The 5th is another relatively short par 3 with the only challenge front bunker right. I was forewarned about the 6th being tough and that is probably true if you are not in play off the tee. (of course, that applies to just about every hole.) It is straight and uphill with woods left and right, however, the contours on either side of the fairway are much like bowling gutter bumpers. If you are slightly off kilter, the bumper will kick you back. The 7this another short par three and at least this one has a nice view. The 8th is a 591 yard par 5 and it is reachable as it is downhill. Favor left of center to give you the best greenlight. The 9th is also a par 5, this time straight up the hill.
The back starts with the shortest hole on the course and is followed by the shortest par 4. While the 11th is uphill, a monster drive can get there. The hole lists to the right and you need to get your drive up quickly to clear the trees. There are front greenside bunkers right and left. Also, this is a crowned green front/back. The 12th is the longest hole, bends right, but left is death. Favor left of center off the tee, the left fairway bunker is a good alignment point and play it as a 3 shotter. The 13th is a long par 3 with a bunker front left. The 14th is a reachable par 5, favor the right off the tee and take at least ½ an extra club on the approach to the elevated green. The 15th should be an easy hole, but I mucked it up. Do not hit a duck hook off the tee, you will be in jail. The shortest par four on the back, pay attention to pin location. There is a natural backstop about 2/3 of the way back. The 16th is another reachable par five. Favor the right off the tee. There are a couple of bunkers front left, but this green has a ledge running across it about halfway deep. The 17th is a tight downhill long par 3 with a stream in front. The 18th requires a little finesse. A driver will probably go thru the fairway. The hole goes left and even a high draw may end up in the hazard. Best to lay up on this hole.
A good course with nice views and a great value.