A few years ago when plans were first announced for a golf course to be built on swampy, salty, treeless land right next to the airport, a lot of folks were skeptical, to say the least.
Not only would there be noisy jets flying by every few minutes, but what about all the bugs and the wind and the lack of shade . . .But just in its second year, the Wingpointe Golf Course is already confounding many of the skeptics. Sure there are jets nearby and a few swarms of gnats and the wind does kick up on occasion. But Wingpointe is what it purports to be - a championship-caliber golf course for the excellent golfers, but one that the average golfer can also enjoy.
Not even two years old yet, the course is in terrific shape, enough that it is already holding tournaments on a regular basis. Tomorrow, one of the five qualifyings for the State Amateur will be played at Wingpointe. Saturday is the Wingpointe 4-Ball. In two weeks the USGA Public Links Qualifying will be held there. The Wingpointe Amateur is in mid-August and in September, the UGA 4-Ball Championship will be at Wingpointe.
It took a while for the public to warm up to the course. It opened in mid-summer 1990, but it wasn't until late last summer that the course began filling up daily. Now it's just as difficult to get a tee time as the other city courses. "Things really picked up late last year and we've been busy ever since," said assistant pro Wayne Fisher.
Part of the lack of excitement over the course may have been because of a perception that the course wasn't done yet. It's true that two fairways, 14 and 15 on the western end of the course, had problems with bad soil and a high water table. But those problems are improving and the 15th fairway is finally rounding into shape with just a few yellow patches.
Another misconception is that the course is too difficult. It is very difficult from the black (championship) tees, measuring 7,101 yards with several long carries over water. But the blues aren't bad at 6,586, while the white tees are a very playable 6,049 yards. They don't play too much differently either. I played the whites on the front nine and the blues on the back and shot the same score on each nine.
As for the jets, you might notice them on the first couple of holes, which are closest to the airport and flight paths, but after you're out there a few minutes, you become oblivious to the airplanes. Because of the prevailing wind, most of the time the planes are landing rather than taking off, which means less noise.
Some might argue with our 4 rating in the layout/scenery department. The high mark is mostly for the Arthur Hills design, which has a variety of striking holes that are challenging, yet fair.
And it is a pretty nice setting when you're out on the middle of the course and you have a beautiful view of the skyline of downtown Salt Lake to the east and the Wasatch mountains all around. Both the 9th and 18th holes feature direct views of downtown Salt Lake. With several lakes on the course, there are ducks, seagulls and an array of other birds to look for.
As for rumors of no trees, well, there is one. You won't find it, though, until the last hole, just off to the right of the 18th tee.
Wingpointe Golf Course
HOLE PAR YARDS*
1 4 315
2 4 271
3 4 363
4 3 147
5 5 534
6 4 366
7 5 444
8 3 143
9 4 399
OUT 36 2,982
10 4 354
11 3 166
12 4 347
13 4 404
14 4 309
15 5 495
16 5 519
17 3 141
18 4 399
IN 36 3,067
TOTAL 72 6,049
DIFFICULTY (4 golf balls)
LAYOUT/SCENERY (4 golf balls)
ENJOYABILITY INDEX (4 golf balls)
(5=highest rating, 0=lowest)
Location: 3602 W. 100 North, SLC
Head Professional: Ron Branca
Designer/Yr. Opened: Arthur Hills, 1990
Cost: $6/$12, $7/$14 carts, $1.50/$3 range
Reservations: 575-2345, Mon for Tue-Wed, Wed for Thu-Fri, Thu for Sat-Sun-Mon
Easiest Time to Get On: Monday or Tuesday, Midday Course Record: Kurt Bosen 67, Competitive