The Hills Course at Red Hawk – Great golf, Great Vistas

If you have played both courses at the Red Hawk Golf and Resort, you know the differences between the Lakes and Hills courses.

The Lakes course has no altitude changes and as the name implies, a load of water to contend with throughout the course.

The Hills, as the name also suggests, features elevation changes throughout the track, offering spectacular views of the surrounding areas.

The Hills

During your round you will feel like you are climbing to the top of a mountain and then working your way back down to the base camp.

The first thing I noticed on the way to the opening tee at the Hills course was that the golfer is allotted 15 more minutes to play the course than the Lakes, which is a true indicator as a tougher test of golf awaits.

The courses are comparable in rating (69.2 (Lakes) to 69.1), slope (121/124), and yardage from the blue tees (6,244/6,278) but that is where any similarities stop.

The Hale Irwin design on the Hills features undulating fairways, small greens, dramatic elevation changes, and deep bunkers.

You get a feeling for the bunkers right out of the gate as the opening hole, a 490-yard par 5, is wide open off the tee, but has 5-6 bunkers that come into play around the green.

No. 2 is a 386-yard, par 4 that has an elevated tee, hitting into a huge driving area. In fact, the third and fourth holes also have elevated tees with driving areas that seem like you could land a plane on, as you start to work your way up the surrounding hills.

The fifth is the first par 3 and is 132 yards, all carry over water. There is a bailout area left, and the hole offers a bit of a break before No. 6, the No. 1 handicap hole on the course.

At 456-yards the par 4 is uphill and all you can ask for.  The fairways are undulating and are no bargain.

After a slightly downhill par 3, you begin the ascent to the highest point on the course. An uphill par 5 at 481 yards with bunkers on the left, is followed by an uphill par 4 that is only 298 but the fairways are narrow and the green a small one.

That completes the front nine and brings you up to the signature hole on the course – a hole known on the scorecard as – The Beast.

It is the highest point of the course with spectacular views of the surrounding Spanish Springs Valley.

From the tips the hole stretches out to 700 yards, and even from the blue tee boxes it is still 586 yards. It is a wide-open fairway and downhill, but there is trouble down the left side.

It seems like there is not a level lie on the fairway you’ll be facing with your second shot and it’s a tough one all the way through hole. Fun to be sure, but a demanding hole and one you will remember.

Every time I play that a hole, I end with a smile and a sigh of relief.

11th hole

No. 11 is another downhill hole, this one a 200-yard par 3 with a bunker guarding the front in case you get any ideas about running your shot up.

Following a non-descript par 4, you get another par 3 that plays only 125 but it’s all carry over trouble.

Even though you have come down from the summit you still have a pair of uphill par 4’s to deal with and neither is a bargain, with either bunkers or narrow fairways to deal with.

By the time you get to the tee on No. 16, you will be happy to see a big 440-yard par 4 where you have a wide-open landing area.

The penultimate hole is another downhill par 4 that plays 407 yards.

The 18th I thought was a tremendous closing hole. There is a big water hazard on the entire left side of the hole. When the tees are back, you are playing it 429 yards and out of what seems like a chute.

To me a great closing hole has a good chance to swing a match and this one certainly fits the bill.

By the time the handshakes are completed on the green and everyone heads back to have a well-earned adult beverage, you’ll do so with a smile on your face from a great round of golf on a great course.

By Dennis Miller