Billionaire investment banker, Warren Stephens, had a golf dream and his realisation, costing a cool $18m, is the Alotian Club.
In 2001, Stephens and Tom Fazio fell head over heels in love with the undulating, sometimes hilly, Arkansas property and three years later the golf course near Little Rock opened for play.
When we say opened for play, we mean opened for private play, because this is a high-end, ultra-exclusive golf club, where you’ll need to befriend a rare Alotian member to get a game. Stick to the six degrees of separation idea and you could get lucky.
Overlooking Lake Maumelle, Tom Fazio boldly routed the nattily named Alotian course over 300 acres of steep, pine-flanked ground. The earth certainly moved here. According to reports, Stephens bought an adjoining 300-acre farm simply for the topsoil. Couple this level of investment alongside underground cooling and heating systems for the bent grass greens, with fans that keep them cool during hot weather and you know this banker is deadly serious about his golf course.
The Alotian has been open for seven years, but accolades have been slow to arrive. The reason, we think, is that Tom Fazio’s designs are not in vogue with the rating aficionados. Some think his designs are rather predictable, others prefer a lighter design style. However, if you’ve played the Alotian, you might be impressed.
Measuring a hefty 7,405 yards from the back tees (there five separate teeing areas on some tees) and featuring 100-foot elevation changes, this is a course and property to rival Augusta. Ironically Stephens is a member at the famous Augusta National and we suspect Alotian is his Arkansan nod to the most famous course in America.
Little Rock is the name of the signature hole at Alotian Club. The 6th is distinctly reminiscent of Juniper (Augusta’s par three 6th). Little Rock measures 210 yards from the back plate and the tee shot must carry across a rock-strewn valley to an offset green that is cut into the hillside some 60 feet below the tee box. It’s a cracker.
Pros: Amazing aesthetics and wow factor, near perfect conditions, an unbelievable experience, and a very memorable clubhouse.
Cons: Lacking strategy off the tee, many of the holes feel similar, and the design elements are very predictable.
Overall, I recommend that anyone take an invite to The Alotian Club. Immediately. It rightly deserves it's place in Golf Digest's list of Top 20 Most Beautiful Courses. The experience is second to none. But, as I have read before, this course could have been REALLY special given the property. The greens are fast and challenging, so having a proper angle into some of the longer holes is important. The issue is that there are just too few holes that offer big risk-reward opportunities to qualify the course for perfection.
Overrated a typical Fazio design. The service was good but the course is average at best. It’s a typical Fazio course and as a previous review said don’t loose sleep over not playing here because it’s overrated. Should not be a top 100 course. Exclusivity does not mean it’s a great course if anything I was let down and highly disappointed when I played the Alotian. It’s remincent of Dallas National, Sage Valley, etc so nothing special just another over priced overrated Fazio design paid for by a wealthy individual that attempts to make up for the courses poor design with exclusivity. Disliked it so much I recently turned down another round here opting to work instead.
Lets get one thing right out the way for this course.
It is not very easily walkable..BUT..never was it meant to be and as such I do feel that as a reason to knock the course is a little harsh, but that is certainly the number one critisism about the place from we that review courses and give our opinions.
It is very upscale just as Mr Stephens wanted it to be.
Nothing regarding service is neglected everything is 100% impressive in that regard.
Wonderful greeting staff, charming folks inside the clubhouse and as an experience of how perhaps the other half live this is second to none.
the practice facility is superb and capped with a choice of balls you would like to hit, it is all very top notch.
The course conditioning matches the service in the clubhouse, immaculate to the extreme but not at the xpense of looking fake or over manicured.
The course as the first rater said is a Tom Fazio and yes it does look and play like many Fazio courses, with wide landing areas and large putting surfaces with the usual Fazio undulations and slopes.
The land flow of the course is spectacular with wonderful elevation changes and spectacular views of Lake Maumelle.
The flow of the holes is very impressive with a marvelous blend of hole lengths and looks through out, a very playable course for all abilities, everything about the course is exactly the way the opwner wanted it to be, so from that perspective it is wonderful.
I agree 100% this marvelous piece of property in the hands of somebody else, somebody less predictable could have been one of "those" courses that everybody talks about....as it is ..It is one of those Club EXPERIENCES everybody talks about because that part of a visit here is mind blowing. So the number of balls checked below is for the entire experience knock one and a half off for the course alone.
Numerous challenging elevated tee shot to an up-sloping fairway with an uphill approach to an elevated green with a false front. Conditioning is excellent along with the high standards. One of the country’s most exclusive clubs with world class service and a famous caddymaster.