The Country Club (Salt Lake)Golf Course Review by: Bill Satterfield
Designer: Ralph Plummer in 1960 (Hal Lamb in 1899, William Watson in 1920, and John Harbottle in 2007)
Phone Number: (801) 487-7569
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Salt Lake Country Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 2400 Country Club Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Accolades: Ranked 8th in Utah on Golf Digest’s 2015-16 Best in State list.
Signature Hole: 10th - 254 Yard Par 3 - This is one of the most dramatic and memorable holes in the Beehive State. Playing from a bluff 75 - 100 feet above the green, this downhill stunner will still require a fairway wood for many players to cover the 250+ yards to the middle of the green that is protected by large bunkers on the left and right. The weary may elect to layup short of the green and leave themselves a straight forward up and down . . . but what fun is that? Bottom line, this hole is a ton of fun and shows off the most spectacular elevation change on the property.
What to Expect: Officially known as The Country Club, but most often referred to as Salt Lake Country Club, is arguably Utah’s most exclusive club and certainly the most prestigious outside of Park City. Located just north of I-80 on the way to/from Parley’s Canyon and Park City, The Country Club enjoys dramatic terrain mixed in with mature trees, a river, and stunning mountain views. In 2007 the course underwent a $3.5 million renovation performed by John Harbottle which brought new life to the bunkers, greens, and strategy of the 50 year old layout. The course conditions could be used as the model by which all other country clubs in the area aspire to with posh fairways and beautifully rolling greens. The 80,000 square foot clubhouse is a throwback to the original 1924 building that adorned the property nearly 100 years ago. The front nine sits on sloped terrain and features holes that play directly uphill, straight downhill, and some along the slope before culminating at one of the best holes in the state; the downhill par five 9th. The back nine takes a dramatic drop to the lowlands of the property and plays along the river before climbing back uphill towards the clubhouse. This walkable track has water come into play on the vivid back nine but is absent of that feature on the front. All in all, Salt Lake Country Club is blessed with one of best pieces of ground for a golf course in the state and should comfortably remain in Utah’s top 10 best courses for years to come.
By the Numbers:
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: 12th - 187 Yards - This attractive one-shotter plays over and along a stream with the green running from front right to back left thus effectively bringing the water further into play the deeper the pin is. A pair of bunkers on the left side of the green can actually be a great place to be since the alternative is the water babbling by on that side of the hole. The holes along the stream on the back nine represent some of the best holes on the course and a feeling of seclusion.
Best Par 4: 18th - 461 Yards - The finishing hole is a presents an interesting challenge particularly if you aren't familiar with the course. Players who hit driver off the tee better have a draw in their bag because a hidden lake is found beyond the fairway for players that hit their drive straight down the middle. Players that hit short of the lake or manage to draw off of it are faced with an uphill approach shot to a heavily bunkered green with an impressive mountain backdrop. There is no slacking on the final hole and that is just how it should be.
Best Par 5: 9th - 554 Yards - I absolutely love this hole and it stands as one of my all time favorite par fives. The hole plays downhill towards the clubhouse with a steep bluff forming the left boundary of the hole. A wide fairway is afforded off the tee but a long enough bomb down the right side of the hole could result if your ball tumbling into a ravine. Players that go down the left side have more room off the tee but then also commit themselves to the longest carry over the ravine fronting the green. The fairway wraps around a large tree on the right side of the hole and affords plenty of area to layup to on the second shot but a potentially longer shot into the green if trying to reach it in two. The green is well bunkered and anything long or left of the green will likely fall down the ravine abyss that claims balls on a daily basis. The number of options and range of scores possible on this hole make it one that I never tire playing.
Birdie Time: 3rd - 511 Yard Par 5 - This short par five is very reachable especially since it plays well downhill; particularly on the second shot. The thin Salt Lake air will help you bomb your drive down the fairway and potentially leave yourself just an iron shot into the green. Players looking to layup should keep their second shot up the left side of the fairway to ensure the best angle and opening into the green. I've played several par fours longer than this par five, and they didn't play downhill so take advantage of this scoring opportunity.
Bogey Beware: 11th - 467 Yard Par 4 - The 11th hole at The Country Club in Salt Lake is truly one of the finest holes and tests in the state. A stream runs up the left side of this dogleg left hole before cutting across the fairway in front of the green. Players that safely play out to the right will be left with an intimidating and long approach shot to a slightly elevated green fronted by water. Players that successfully challenge the dogleg are left with a less intimidating approach shot but still challenging. With so much water and length to deal with on this hole, pars are a rare occurrence indeed.
Final Cut: The Country Club in Salt Lake City is Utah's most historic club and features its most revered membership. Course conditions are always top notch and the bunkering is fantastic thanks to John Harbottle's work in 2006-07. The first eight holes are solid but it is the final ten holes that set SLCC apart from other courses in the area including a couple of holes that are as fine as any in the state. Each time I play SLCC it grows on me a little more and I gain further appreciation for the great layout and club that it is. If you are given an invitation to play this club located on the southeast side of Salt Lake then you should absolutely take advantage of it given that this is the best course in Utah outside of Park City and St. George. Grade B+