Coyote Hills Golf Course

By Kelly A. Saul, Contributor

FULLERTON, CA - When traveling to a new golf course, one can almost always expect to see grass, hopefully some water and trees and unfortunately some sand ... but oil? Those who have never embarked on the pleasures at Coyote Hills Golf Course can look forward to one of the most unique courses in Southern California.

Yup, there's oil in them there hills.

Designer Cal Olson and consultant, the late PGA Tour star Payne Stewart, constructed a golf course on property owned by Unocal Oil - land consisting of more than 50 oil pumps. After the course opened in May of 1996, only 21 pumps remained, but in their place was a golfers dream.

"People think the course has a lot of character," says Golf Professional Brian Shearan. "The oil pumps really add to the ambiance."

The fenced off pumps usually stay unmarked from any ball, except in those rare cases we all love to forget. The pumps, scattered throughout the course, are quiet and un-distracting. Each one is also given a hole number quite different from any other on the course, such as Hole Number 54, located just right of hole nine.

The plush course, rich in color, is built right into the mountains, shaping many elevation changes, capturing picturesque views of southern Orange County. Shearan says what gets people coming back is the topography of the Course. "The front nine is very elevated, has a target golf feel," he says. The back nine is flatter with lots more water. "It doesn't seem like you're in Fullerton."

The crafty layout is extremely fun to play for both women and men. The Par 70 course starts climbing the hillside after hole two and continues changing elevations dramatically, so players never know what excitement lurks around the corner. Each hole is unique and no yardage unbearable.

What Shearan loves about the 250-acre layout is that almost no hole smothers any other. Since the course is elevated and very spread out, many days players feel like they have the course all to themselves. The drawback of having such a layout is that there is no option for golfers to walk the course. However, this rule makes no difference in the slightest for those, like me, who feel that carts are the only way to travel.

The back sets of tees, Coyote, are 6,510 yards with a rating of 71.1 and a slope of 128. The course is not extremely long but becomes as challenging as desired when given five tee boxes. Many creeks slither at the base of the greens and rocky arroyos await players off the tee box, so those playing from the tips will never be free from danger.

Coyote Hills was rated one of the Top 100 Women Friendly Courses by Fairways magazine in 1998, and ranked in the top 50 by Golf for Women. The forward tees are colored green, unlike the traditional red which Shearan says helps un-intimidate golfers 100 percent. "Different colors make our tee boxes less segregated, and are set up for everyone from tee box to fairway."

The forward tees have a rating of 65 and slope of 115. Since the course is built into the mountainside, forward players are given a very generous advancement on almost every hole, so to avoid the initial threat of several dense, brush-covered cliffs.

A wonderful luxury provided on the carts is a computerized yardage system. It will give golfers tips, calculate yardages and even tell how long a round is going so people know if they can take their time or need to start catching up with the group in front.

On hole number nine, before teeing off high above the fairway to approach a green wrapped in beautiful water hazards, a phone is provided for hungry golfers to order food from the clubhouse. This keeps the pace of play moving and lets players enjoy everything from cold sandwiches to food hot off the grill.

According to Shearan, close to 80 percent of Coyote Hills players are corporate golfers, many from Orange County, attending the Anaheim Convention Center. The course is very accessible to people on business staying nearby since Fullerton is close to the I-10, and 57 and 210 freeways.

The course has a beautiful clubhouse complete with pro shop, restaurant, locker rooms and event facilities. The elegant 22,000 sq ft clubhouse is used very commonly for wedding receptions and can accommodate functions from 20 to 210 guests. The unique banquet room has a panoramic view overlooking the waterfalls that backdrop the 18th green.

The restaurant on the second floor offers full service casual dining for breakfast and lunch, accompanied with a phenomenal view of the course. There is a limited menu throughout the evening with a full appetizer menu.

Shearan says that Coyote Hills prides itself on service. Besides the friendly staff, guests get the ultimate service when discovering the lighted driving range on site, along with two large bent putting greens and practice bunkers.

Coyote Hills Golf Course
1440 E. Bastanchury Road
Fullerton, CA 92835

To get to the course from Ventura County, take the 134 East until it turns into the 210. Take the 210 East until it merges with the 57 South. Exit Yorba Linda Blvd. And turn right. Turn right on State College, left on Bastanchury and left on Payne Stewart Drive. From Anaheim take the 57 North to Yorba Linda Blvd. And turn left.

Green Fees:
Before 7 am 7-3 After 3 pm
M - Thur. $56 $86 $46
F - Sun. $76 $106 $56


Clubhouse: A
Condition: B
Layout: A
Pace of Play: A
Value: B
Overall: B+

Kelly A. Saul, Contributor

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