Formed in 1898, Hot Springs Country Club offers its members two well-established 18-hole golf layouts. The Park (formerly known as the Majestic) was first to appear in 1920 and it’s a solid Willie Park Jnr course which is not short of admirers.
The Arlington debuted a decade later, designed by William Diddel, and it’s laid out on more undulating terrain to the north of the property. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw extensively renovated the course in the mid-1990s.
Don’t expect an easy start on the Arlington as it begins with a left doglegged par four rated stroke index 1 on the scorecard. The 175-yard 8th is another tough hole on the front nine, played to a putting surface that’s threatened by water to the front and right of the green.
Back-to-back par fives feature around the turn at the 9th and 10th, and these holes precede an inward half that includes well-bunkered par threes at the 180-yard 11th and 149-yard 17th, before the round ends with an eminently birdieable par five finishing hole at the 520-yard 18th.
Dave Axland, design associate at Coore & Crensahw provided this exclusive quote:
I managed the Hot Springs Arlington project when we carried out what might be described as a sympathetic restoration. We used old drawings to restore certain features and bring greens back to their original size and location. Yet we were not locked into that: on occasion we would add and refine to modern standards, especially as a) distances achieved with high tech clubs mandated some shifting of tees and bunkers and b) faster green speeds meant softening some greens slopes.
The second course at Hot Springs CC was built in 1927 by William Diddel and renovated by Coore and Crenshawin the 1990s. Arlington does not follow the Donald Ross mantra of having the first hole invite you to play. It is a mcgilla, par 4 dogleg left and is the number 1 handicap hole. One interesting feature, both the 9th and 10th are par 5s. The 18th is good finishing a birdieable par 5.
It's more than likely that many people will not be venturing to Arkansas to play golf simply because the State is often overlooked for other locations in the southeast USA. That's unfortunate because there are a few courses of note.
The Arlington Course at Hot Springs CC is a fine layout -- a gem design by William H. Diddel, which was updated and restored by the talented duo of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in the mid-1990's. The terrain is simply a joy to behold. Rolling certainly but not severe as to distort shots or become a chore to walk. Being able to work the ball is an element the Arlington calls upon time after time. The layout provides sufficient challenge without becoming an overly long slog. Total length from the tips is just over 6,700 yards and with the terrain movement can prove testing with plenty of different lies to contend with throughout the round.
As has been mentioned the par-3 8th and 11 holes are quite good. I really enjoyed the downhill swinging left par-4 3rd hole. Just 371 yards the hole is a classic example in requiring solid shotmaking. The uphill 4th is a solid counterpoint. The range of holes is always changing -- so constant adjustments need to be made when playing. I too enjoyed the varied par-4's one plays from the 12th to 16th holes.
I have often stated that land is the first among equals for me when rating courses. The Arlington Course is blessed with fine topography and the recent refinements made provide for an entertaining round of golf.
The Hot Springs area has a wide array of different courses but many are merely pedestrian in their overall presentation. The Arlington is certainly one worth checking out when in the area. The community is also a fun place to explore given its rich history.
by M. James Ward
I have been playing tournament at Hot Springs CC for twenty years now, as the club have always encouraged competition availabililty at their club , something that is a constant battle for the ASGA and aquiring event venues.
Recently the club staged the State Amateur Championship and as usual was in super condition for the event.
It is always a delight to play the Arlington course and its sister course the Park so named for architect Wille Park.
The Arlington is a great course for a State Am as its length ensures all players can be in the hunt, not a bombers course but the long STRAIGHT hitter has advantages as they should.
A wonderful old school routing, very walkable and a set of marvelous par threes and wonderful par 4.5 par fives especially for the longer hitters...of which I am not one.
But certainly the emphasis is keeping the ball in play and accuracy with a number of tight shortish par fours.
Stand out holes are the par three 8th and 11 th holes and the set og four pars from 12 to16 which is a wonderful stretch of holes mixing up length to perfection
If in the area a must play with a very accomodating staff and guest policy
Eating...Mclards Barbeque..as good as it gets!!!!!