One of nine courses to be found within a sprawling property owned by the Hot Springs Village gated community, the private 18-hole layout at Diamante Country Club is a very long, demanding test of golf.
Diamante is the only private membership golf club in the residential development, first opening for play in 1995, and it’s widely recognised as one of the most challenging golf courses ever built, stretching to an incredible 7,560 yards from the back tees.
Such are the massive yardages involved here, five of the par four holes play in excess of 470 yards and the shortest par five (at the uphill 18th) measures a total of 565 yards. Diamante was clearly built exclusively for big hitters.
The more memorable holes at Diamante include the water-laden par three 4th and the short par four 17th. Beware the trio of long par fours at 13 to 15 because this set of demanding holes, arriving so late in the round, has the potential to ruin any good score.
It's hard to imagine in a multi-course complex -- the bulk of which were created for retirees -- one finds such a mega-demanding layout with some serious teeth. Diamante is most certainly a course where you'd best be ready to play.
How demanding? Try over 7,500 yards from the tips -- 76.5 course rating and 140 slope. Given the fact there are a number of courses in the complex that are far less rigorous -- the inclusion of one that is clearly an amazing happening.
The property is quite large and even with the housing included there's little in terms of interference or clutter. The holes are sequestered from each other so that the overall experience is clearly free of holes stacked up against one another.
Interestingly, although the course maxes out at over 7,500 yards there's still inclusion of two fine short par-4's -- at the 6th and most notably at the 17th where water and some well-placed bunkers must be avoided.
The routing has a number of the holes turning in one direction or the other and it's imperative to drive well in order to have any possibility in being able to negotiate the unrelenting challenge.
While a number of the putting greens are done well -- the intricacies just off them can be rather pedestrian. That's not to day the green shapes are all vanilla. Quite the contrary, you have a number of greens where pins can be tucked and which call upon a high level of dexterity. The main ingredient missing is having a range of mid-length par-4s to compliment the longer ones and having a top tier risk/reward par-5 would have been certainly welcomed.
For those who happen to make it to Hot Springs Village I certainly recommend checking it out.
M. James Ward