EDITOR’S NOTE — This is the first of a series on central Douglas County’s golf courses.
SUTHERLIN — More attractive? Looks like it.
More challenging course to play? Another yes, the golfers say.
Since L&H Lumber purchased Umpqua Golf Resort in 1998, the 18-hole public course has been on the upswing through improvements.
“We’ve rebuilt the green and tee complexes, and added a lot of sand,” said Scott Simpson, the club’s head golf professional. “We’re drivable year-round with golf carts with the exception of a few days, which is probably the biggest improvement around here with the Oregon weather.
“The maintenance budget has increased, which has allowed us to do a little more. The housing that was added was good and bad for the course. Having houses in the middle of the course isn’t always the best thing, but it did bring a lot of money to the area. The landscaping improved, and the vegetation and housing make it popular from the freeway if you’re driving by.”
The course, then known as Sutherlin Knolls, opened in June 1970 as a nine-hole facility and a second nine was later added.
Marty Hilgers, 83, of Roseburg, has been a member of the course since its inception. He appreciates the improvements that have been made.
“I like it. It’s a real challenge, but a fun course,” he said. “It’s got some visual challenges with the elevated greens.
“I like its condition. The greens are all good. It’s well kept up and the grounds crew is top-notch, and everything is mowed all the time. I consider it a good value.”
Rob Perkins, 60, of Sutherlin, has been a member of the club for 30 years. The retired educator has a home on the course.
“You’ve got to mention (course superintendent) Scott Zielinski,” said Perkins. “He’s done a remarkable job of getting the greens and fairways in top shape. The course is in great shape right now. Personally, I think it’s the best course in Douglas County.”
Simpson — who played golf for Roseburg High School and graduated from there in 1990 and coached the Sutherlin boys golf team for three years — says the No. 7 and No. 11 holes were rebuilt and the green was redone on No. 8.
The course features five par-5s and five par-3s, the longest hole being the 578-yard No. 17. Par is 72.
“It’s a links-style course instead of a target golf course,” Simpson said. “Guys that can play bump-and-run are senior golfers who don’t elevate the golf ball, but can score on our course. Hitting the ball short and letting it feed on to the greens.”
Simpson agrees the course plays tougher now.
“Four to five shots is what we hear from most golfers,” he said. “In an OGA event we had, we brought in some scratch golfers to rate the course. Two zeroes, a three and five handicap and not one of them broke 80. The last time they were down here, there were some 75s.
“We’ve seen handicaps go up as well with most of our scratch golfers. A good score used to be 69-68, but now we’re seeing 74s-73s.”
Regarding the par-5s, Simpson says Nos. 17 and 18 are three-shots-to-the-green holes.
“You can play No. 5 and No. 9 very easy if you can keep the ball in play,” he said. “Rarely can anybody get on in two on those (Nos. 17 and 18), and same with No. 15. We added 60 yards to each one of them and they’re true par-5s.”
The toughest hole in his opinion? The par-3 No. 8, which is 177 yards with the black tees.
“Technically it’s an island green,” he said. “Water on the right, water in the front and environmental areas all down the left side. It’s kind of a blind tee shot from the back of the box into the wind, and usually is a high-scoring hole in tournaments.”
Perkins calls UGR “a risk or reward type of course.”
“It’s a tough course. Relatively tight, but fair,” he said. “I love it. The toughest hole to me is No. 13 (a par-3). It can play up to 180 yards and the green is sometimes hard to hit. If you get in the wrong spot, you’re looking bogey or double-bogey.”
Umpqua Golf Resort is owned by David Leiken. L&H Lumber signed a contract with the City of Roseburg last year to run Stewart Park Golf Course, a nine-hole public course.
WHAT: Umpqua Golf Resort.
WHERE: 1919 Recreation Lane, Sutherlin.
PREVIOUS NAMES: Sutherlin Knolls, The Club at Sutherlin, Oak Hills Golf Club.
SLOPE RATING: 140 (black tees).
USGA RATING: 73.
YARDS: 6,614 (black tees).
FEES: $35 on weekdays and $40 on weekends for 18 holes; $20 and $25 for nine holes; $30 and $35 (18 holes) and $20 and $25 (nine holes) for military/seniors 62-and-over; $20 and $25 (18 holes) and $15 and $20 (nine holes) for juniors; $20 twilight play (after 2 p.m.) all week.
INFORMATION: 541-459-4422, or online at www.umpquagolf.com.
It’s a risk or reward type of course. Relatively tight,