Course Review: Upland Hills Country Club

As I continue to slowly but surely work my way back through some of the local courses that I have never reviewed here, I am driven by deals. Fortunately, a majority of my list is lower-end tracks (a lot of county and muni courses), so I’m able to look for a really good price and that helps determine where I’ll play each week.

In the middle of the week, good deals are easy to find. I had plenty to choose from, but ultimately decided to revisit Upland Hills Country Club yesterday. They had an 11:52 time available on TeeOff.com for $22. However, there was also a promo code for $10 off. With the discount and booking fee, all told it was just $13.99 to play.

A friend joined me for the round and we met up at the course quite early. We saw there were a lot of open tee times online, so we figured we’d get out ahead of our time. We had to wait a little bit because they wouldn’t let us check in until an hour before our time (something with their computer system). It was kind of a tease because the first tee was open the entire time we waited. By the time we checked in closer to 11:00, a couple other groups were heading out to the first tee to play.

A single joined us and we went off right behind another threesome. Things moved along okay for most of the front nine, but we ultimately caught all the groups ahead. They were member groups comprised of some older guys seemingly moving in slow motion. We could see it was stacked for at least a few holes ahead. At the turn, several groups were waiting to go on the 10th tee. We decided to get creative and drive around in search of some open holes ahead of these member groups. We found a huge gap with nobody on holes 13-17, so we restarted there. By the time we came back around to 10, it wasn’t quite as bad so we played our remaining three holes.

I don’t like jumping around, but sometimes it pays off. Those old guys were really clogging up the entire course and it seemed to be getting worse with each hole. It saved us a ton of time and made the back nine much more enjoyable as we finished with a total 3.5-hour pace instead of what would have easily been over 5 hours if we stayed in line.

I only played Upland Hills once many years ago. I remembered not particularly loving it, but also not hating it as much as some people seem to. I remembered it being rather short, but tight with a lot of houses in play. I remembered it being kind of mediocre in terms of conditions and amenities. All these memories held pretty much true.

From the blue tees, Upland Hills tops out at 5,902 yards. It is definitely quite short by today’s standards. That said, it is just a par-70 and there are only two par-5s on the course, so that total yardage is distorted some. It plays a little longer than you might think it will, but is still fairly short with plenty of scoring opportunities.

The key here is keeping your tee shot safe. Quite a few of the tee shots are a little awkward, especially for anyone like me who plays a left-to-right shot shape. A lot of big trees hang over the left side just enough to get in your head a bit. Most holes still have some bail-out room to the right, but if you push it too far you will find trouble. Those who play a dead straight ball or can work it right-to-left should have a field day here. Bigger hitters may not use their drivers much at all on this course.

Upland Hills plays through a neighborhood and houses line almost every hole. The homes, trees and several small water hazards are all very much in play. The greens are easy to get at, though. So like I said, if you get your tee shot out there safely, you should have an enticing approach to a welcoming green.

I was expecting poor conditions. Things weren’t great at Upland Hills yesterday, but really no worse than most low-end SoCal courses this winter. Even a lot of the more expensive courses are pretty mediocre right now. On the positive side, the greens and bunkers were very good here. The greens were in excellent shape. They were a bit slow, but soft and rolling smooth. From tee to green, the course left a lot to be desired, though. The tee boxes were generally beat-up. The fairways were thin and inconsistent. The rough was very inconsistent with a bit of everything to deal with, so you never knew what kind of lie you’d get.

I think I liked Upland Hills this time a little more than I remember. It’s a fun enough layout for a shorter course, and it’s a confidence booster when you have a few more birdie opportunities than usual. At the same time, bad shots really get punished and I had a few blow-up holes during the round, as well. It isn’t anything too exciting or amazing, and I won’t be in any huge rush to play it again now that I’ve reviewed it. However, it’s easy to find good deals there and it was well worth what we paid yesterday.

Some pictures from Upland Hills Country Club (2/10/16):

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