Oquirrh Hills Golf Course History
Oquirrh Hills Now An 18-hole Championship Golf Course
On June 18 in 2007, Tooele City announced a new era of golf at the Oquirrh Hills golf course.
A grand opening ceremony ushed in the new, long awaited, back nine holes, which made Oquirrh Hills
an 18-hole championship facility.
Tooele City Mayor Patrick H. Dunlavy, Head Professional Christian Scott, Superintendent
Brian Roth, Course Architect Andy Johnson and the Tooele City Council unveiled the new back nine
at 8:30 a.m. on June 18th. The celebration was be held on the tenth tee box for the opening ceremony
with a few words from VIPs.
Many city dignitaries, past course champions, past high school state champions and even a few of the
“originals” from the front nine's construction were on hand to celebrate this big event in Tooele City
Home of the historic Western Amateur and many legendary Utah club professionals, Oquirrh Hills golf
course has a celebrated significance within the Utah golf scene. The new addition was designed to
blend seamlessly into the old course.
“My goal (for the back nine) ... was to create an old-school course with modern-day challenges,” said
architect Andy Johnson.
Oquirrh Hills became the home of Tooele High School's first golf team in the early 1960s and nurtured
two state championship teams in 1977 and 1998. Rob Jensen, the coach of the 1998 team, was a member of the
first White Buffaloes squad. Paul Griffith, who played for the 1977 team, died the year before his son,
Brock, helped Tooele win the 1998 title.
“It is so much fun playing a golfer-friendly layout like the original nine at Oquirrh Hills that I
wanted to continue that fun throughout the back nine,” said Johnson, an award-winning architect based in
the upscale Colorado mountain town of Edwards.
While the new nine, sitting under the “T” on the mountain, seems to have a links look, that's only
temporary. With the planting of 425 trees, the new nine “will age gracefully,” according to Johnson, as
the trees “grow to match the feel and strategy of the original nine.”
Many folks deserve credit for their role in the new nine's development, but as City Council member
John Hansen said, “Nothing happens unless the mayor starts the ball rolling. Finally, things seemed to
With pro Christian Scott, well trained by the likes of respected pros Reid Goodliffe, Ken Clark, and
Jeff Green directing an ambitious junior golf program, play at Oquirrh Hills has recently increased by
as much as 25 percent, officials say. The new nine should drive even more traffic to the golf course,
while distributing golfers enough to increase the pace of play.
Golf Course Timeline
1920s: Golf is first played in Tooele on a sand-greens course that would “die a natural death, because of the Depression,” according to a historian.
1949: Tooele Golf Course opens, thanks primarily to the efforts of the Lions Club and the Tooele Volunteer Fire Dept. Johnny Gergely is the course's first PGA professional.
1950: Ernie Schneiter Jr., now a member of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame, becomes the pro.
1956: The idea of adding nine more holes is initially discussed.
1960: The course hosts the Women's State Amateur, won in match play by Wendy Wangsgard.
1962: Tooele High School's first golf team is formed.
1972: A contest is staged to select a new name for the course: “Oquirrh Hills.”
1974: Kean Ridd, from one of Utah's most prominent golf families, becomes the pro.
1977: Tooele High wins the Class 3-A state championship.
1979: Doug Vilven, a recent winner of the Utah Section PGA's Gold Club Award, becomes the pro.
1990: Gary Mathie, who would retire in 2005 as the course's longest-tenured pro, takes the position.
1998: Tooele High wins another 3-A state championship.
2005: Christian Scott becomes the pro; construction begins on the new nine holes.
2007: The new nine opens; scorecards are printed with “1949” superimposed over the front nine and “2007” over the back nine.