Lincoln Hills Golf Club: Del Webb takes Sacramento by storm

By Jeffrey Weidel, Contributor

The fairways are invitingly wide and well manicured, the greens are sizable, the rough isn't very rough and potential trouble is kept to a minimum.

One more thing about The Lincoln Hills Club, located at the new Del Webb facility off Highway 65 at the Sterling Parkway exit near Sacramento: If the friendly new golf course doesn't treat you well, rest assured the concierge service will. The staff does everything but hit your golf ball straight.

"We not only clean your clubs three times (during the round), we'll be doing some other little things you might not notice, like sharpening your scorecard pencil," said Craig Sloan, Lincoln Hills' director of golf. Lincoln Hills becomes the third choice in a small pocket of Lincoln, joining neighboring clubs at Twelve Bridges and Turkey Creek.

There's no doubt whichis the easier track. The errant shot is much more tolerated at Lincoln Hills, where the course's numerous sand traps don't always come into play. There are also four lakes and five waterfalls on the course, which is situated on 240 acres, the largest of Del Webb's 13 courses nationwide.

From a distance of 6,001 yards, the white tees have a slope rating of 118. That number increases to a moderate120 from the blues (6,464 yards), still a friendly distance for the average golfer. The real test comes from the back tees, which go 6,985 yards.

"We don't want golfers walking away from here beat up," Sloan said. "We want this to be a pleasant experience. It's a good course for the average player and real good players will have a nice test of golf from the back tees." Golfers can get lulled into a false sense of security on the front side, where the yardage is approximately 300 yards less than the back nine. Several of the par 4s from the white and blue tees can almost be reached with a big-time drive.

Yet beware of the wind, which seems to kick up frequently on a course that features only young trees. That's especially evident on several par 4s off the backside. The wind makes these holes tough to reach without two solid pokes. That was the opinion of Brian Crawford, who played the course in mid-March.

"I'm having a tough time with the wind," Crawford said. "But I like the layout and the course is in great shape. You get a lot of roll on these fairways, which are real wide. It helps make you more confident off the tee."

Designed by Billy Casper and Greg Nash, who also collaborated on the nearby Sun City Roseville course, Lincoln Hills attempts to get golfers off with an easy, downhill par 4 at No. 1. It can be a birdie hole with the distance a mere 335 from the back tees and 306 from the blues. An uphill par 5 follows, another possible birdie hole that measures 491 yards from the blues. There is water carry off the tee and it continues along the right-hand side. And beware of the trap toward the back of the green.

The young greens are hard, making long and short approach shots frequently run past the flag and off the green, turning a birdie attempt into a bogey. Take it easy putting as well, the greens run quickly. "It's a very user-friendly golf course, but you do have to know where you're going and where to be on the greens," said Jim Carra, the head pro at Sun City Roseville.

The back nine features the signature hole at No. 11, a sizable par 5 that goes 567 yards from the blues. An 80-foot elevated tee box offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the Sierra mountain range and surrounding foothills. Up next is a long carry over wetlands at No. 13, followed by several demanding, uphill par 4s. Get your birdies early; they are tougher to locate traveling the backside.

The course should flatter your game and most golfers also won't be put off by the price, $50 any day of the week. The cost includes cart, shoe cleaning (before and after), unlimited range balls, sleeve of balls and fruit at the first tee.

"We want to treat you like you're at a private club," said Gabe Bryant, one of the hosts at Lincoln Hills. Lincoln Hills residents can make tee times 14 days in advance. It's 11 days for club members and 10 days for the general public. For more information on The Lincoln Hills Club, call (916) 434-7450.

Jeffrey WeidelJeffrey Weidel, Contributor

Jeffrey Weidel has been working in the Sacramento area as a sportswriter since 1981. An avid golfer with a 10.6 index, he is currently the Assistant Sports Editor of The Press-Tribune, a three-day a week paper in Roseville.

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