Desert Hills Golf Course was named “Arizona’s Best Municipal Golf Course” by Golf Digest in 1994 and is consistently rated as the “Best Course in Yuma” by the local Yuma newspaper. The course opened in 1973 and it is a fairly traditional 18 holes with three sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 5694 to 6800 yards. With a rating of 69.4 to 71.8 and a slope of 116 to 119, Desert Hill Golf Course is suitable for all levels of play and it’s a course that is a tad challenging but fair.
Desert Hills has a little bit of everything – some surprising elevation changes, water on five holes, several uphill and downhill shots, blind shots, some tight approaches, and a couple risk reward opportunities. Normally the wind will be working against you and you'll need to manage it as well as club selection. During your round you’ll find some fun holes like:
#3 a short (373 yards) but challenging downhill dog leg left par 4 that requires accuracy off the tee box to make the turn and avoid driving into the lake – then it’s a slight uphill shot along a narrow fairway or most likely a carry over the lake
#5 is a long 426 yard uphill climb all the way to the cup – pull out the big dog and let ‘er rip
Get ready to go diving if you can’t carry the pond, avoid the trap, and stay away from the slope back to the water on this good looking 186 yard par 3
#18 is a great finishing hole with a carry over a pond uphill to a dog leg left green – a good risk reward opportunity to fly the pond and some trees on the left to shorten the hole for a potential birdie
The fairways are a tad narrow but there is plenty of playable rough if you miss them and a few holes are side by side and if you really spray the ball you’ll most likely still have a shot back toward the pin from the other fairway. One fairway has homes on one side but the rest have a scattering of trees, lots of tall skinny palms, and a few bushes that you’ll need to avoid. The fairways were firm and in very good condition and the rough was patchy in spots with a mixture of grass and dirt.
The greens are about average size, mostly oval, and the majority of them have some pretty severe slope, generally from back to front. A few are pretty challenging with slope, tiers, and undulation. The Dessert Hill's greens were in very good condition, ran true, and held the ball pretty well.
We played in the early morning after the course had been watered and the greens were running a little slower than normal (around a 8) and the bunkers were wet, which made the sand very heavy. We were told that normally the sand is thick and fluffy and a bit gritty. Most of the bunkers are flat faced but a few are a couple feet deep and steep.
If you’re visiting Yuma, than Desert Hills is a must play – good conditions, pretty good value, fun, and fair. Beware, during the season (October to April) Desert Hills stays very busy and the pace of play can be excruciatingly slow thanks to snowbirds, walkers, retirees, and fivesomes. Desert Hills Golf Course also has a 9 hole par 27 course that we hear normally in very good condition.
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