Course Review: Hidden Springs by Mike Innis

The Hidden Springs Golf Experience


I’ve played Hidden Springs Golf Course several times and over the last year or so, it has been added to my small list of “must do” courses. I like “The Springs” for several, entirely different reasons. Most importantly is that the golf course is, to say the least, challenging. Yes, it is carved out of a perfectly beautiful, natural, Hill Country Classic setting. Limestone bluffs and outcroppings abound, with crystal clear, golf ball attracting streams and ponds running along and across many of the fairways. And, yes, the architect of the golf course must have been running low on gasoline for the tree pruners and chain saws that were required to clear many of the fairways of the troubling trees that reach out over the narrow fairways. These overlooked trees tend to catch and toss the golf balls you so carefully launch their way into the knee-high roughs. And, yes, the designer of this lovely golf link must have been blessed with X-Ray vision, because on many of the holes, the golfer cannot see the target green from the tee box, and on many holes, he or she cannot see it from the position of their second shot!


Add all these factors together, and you’ll probably reach the same conclusion that I did: Hidden Springs is the Thinking Golfer’s Golf Course. If your game is “spray and pray,” or “bang ‘em hard and find ‘em later,” The Springs will break your heart. It will relieve you of a sleeve or two of golf balls. It will test your patience. It will challenge your ability to hit accurate shots. And, most of all, it will get you to thinking that the concept of “course management” is a lot more than just a concept.It’s a short course by many of today’s standards, weighing in at only 6170 yards from the Blue Tees. There are 4 par 5’s, of which 3 are over 500 yards; 10 par 4’s, 4 of which are over 400 yards; and 5 par 3’s, only one of which is over 200 yards. The fairways, bunkers, sand traps and greens are impeccably maintained, and a driving range and large putting green are available for you to warm up and get the feel of the course before you embark on Hole #1. The fairways are tightly mowed and provide an excellent carpet that sets your ball up perfectly for the next stroke. The greens are firm and fast and true. If you can read a green, they’ll reward you; if you don’t know green reading from cottage cheese, your percentage of “one putts” will take a hit. The first cut around the greens is mild mannered and manageable; the second cut is deep and sometimes rather gnarly, requiring a delicate touch for a successful escape. When pitching to the green, “bump and run” is the shot of the day, with the “bump” occurring several feet short of the putting surface. Your pitch shot that flies onto the green will likely wind up 30-40 feet from the landing spot. I finally learned that a high, lofted shot that drops almost straight down onto the green and checks up quickly is the absolutely best (only?) way to keep the ball on the putting surface on approach shots. As I mentioned earlier in this article, I’ve played Hidden Springs several times, and each time I say to myself, “I can do better.” And, each time I return, I do, indeed play it a bit better, but only by a stroke or two! It will keep you coming back for more, I promise you.


The Double B Ranch is a lot more than challenging golf in a beautiful setting. If you’d like to make it a “golf weekend,” there is a lodge and some cabins for rent that will provide you comfortable places to rest up between rounds. If you have need for a place to conduct a retreat for your company that will provide true isolation from “the world” for a few days, HS can accommodate your needs. If you have need of a wonderful place in which to hold a family reunion, a high school or college class reunion, a wedding, or a chili cookoff, give the nice folks at HS a call and they’ll set you up. Beaux Hicky’s is a fabulous open-aired pavilion that you can rent for any event. Sited alongside a river, Hickey’s is equipped to cater to almost any sized group you’d care to gather together. From first hand experience, I can tell you that the staff at the Double B Ranch stand eager and ready to provide old fashioned customer service.

Book a tee time at Hidden Springs. (830-990-4122), then tour the property and talk to the people who run the place. You’ll be impressed with all you see and hear. The Golf Manager is Jack Russell; the Event Manager is Kelly Russell. Call them at 800-830-5008; visit their web site: www.hidden-springs-golf.com. Or drive out and just drop in on them; they’re 7 miles west of Harper, on Highway 783, off Interstate 10 at Kerrville.

 

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