In 1902, the Country Club of Little Rock was founded in Pulaski Heights, one of the more affluent neighbourhoods in Little Rock. The original course is said to have been no more than an elementary 6-hole layout with sandy putting surfaces but that all changed with the appointment of Herman “Hack” Hackbarth as professional and greenkeeper in 1907.
In a 50-year association with the club, Hackbarth oversaw the enlargement and remodeling of the course into one of the best in the state. Not only did he develop his home course, he was also involved in the construction or redesign of more than forty courses within the Natural State and he introduced bentgrass greens to Little Rock in 1939.
The course has been altered a number of times since then. Ed Ault added three new holes in 1968 then he and partner Tom Clark remodeled all the greens and some tees and bunkers in 1980. Tom told us: “I rode around with Bill Clinton (who was a member and Governor of Arkansas) and I thought he was the assistant golf pro as he seemed to have an answer for all my questions!”
Tom returned at the start of the new millennium to add three new holes, rebuild the greens with a new type of turf, develop a new practice area and putting green and clear the perimeter of the course to open out views of downtown Little Rock and the Ozarks. Keith Foster has since carried out further upgrade work.
Keith Foster kindly provided us with the following comments:
I was hired back in 2010 and worked at the club in 2012.
The program’s vision was to return the course to its more classic origins.
To do so, we opened up the course with selected tree removal, we widened the fairways and repositioned tees back to the ideal lines of play.
Bunkering throughout the course was repositioned and hand-shaped, consistent with the club’s pedigree.
Greens and surrounds were rebuilt and re-grassed and additional drainage was added where needed.
Lastly, holes 15 and 16 (added to the course twenty years before) were not consistent with the level of the club so both were altered to reflect an older, more classical feel.
Wonderful throwback course. It not only has a wonderful view of downtown Little Rock, but also the Arkansas River Valley, cliffs and river. Par 71, slick greens and well worth your time. Highlights include the par 4 13th with an impressive water hazard. The 160+ yard par 3 16th I think is the signature hole, you have to carry some gunch but the green is set back in a bowl surrounded by a cliff. Fun course