In 2007, The Club at Old Hawthorne engaged Art Schaupeter, former lead architect with Keith Foster, to design this 18-hole layout as the centrepiece of a 630-acre residential development that lies halfway between Kansas City and St Louis.
Old Hawthorne was a well maintained newer style private residential type course. In my opinion the width and space between holes along with the housing takes away from what could have been a bit better experience. Although, I'm sure without the housing, the course wouldn't exist. You can definitely tell that a Keith Foster protege designed the course. There are some goofy holes. Number #14 was dreadful. I suppose you can carry all the bunkers which are throughout what should be the landing area, but it could lead to even more trouble. It's just a bad hole aesthetically in my opinion. The best holes are probably #9 and #18 both solid finishing holes. I would play Old Hawthorne again, it was certainly a fun golf course, but nothing that should be notable in the region.
Old Hawthorne is a well designed fun course with some neat risk/reward holes. Opened in 2007 I am not really sure how it is “old” and thus, while I have been called a curmudgeon, I must be ancient, archaic or prehistoric.
The first hole is a welcoming downhill par 4. There is a front to back crown about 1/3 of the way from the right side of the green and is well protected by a deep front right bunker. The 2nd is a long par 3 with a BAB front left of this redan green. The 3rd is a par 4 slight dogleg left. Playing left over the left fairway bunker will leave you with a shorter and easier approach. There is a fairway pot bunker about dead center of the fairway. Right of that will leave a longer approach with a greenside bunker right. The long uphill par 4 4th is the number one handicap hole. The green is protected by Grindstone Creek, short is NG. The 5th is a super risk/reward hole. A driveable dogleg left with a water hazard on the inside elbow. This is an appetite hole, where you can chew off as much as you want. Conversely, you can hit a weak drive right, decent wedge and sink the putt, like my playing partner. The first par 5 is well over 600 yards from the tips. The creek cuts the fairway at an angle with the right side being much closer off the tee. This is a 3 shot hole, favor left of center off the tee and hit your second over the the left fairway bunkers. There is water left greenside. The 7th is a 250+ yard par 3 with no hazards. Check your pride and hit driver. The 8th is another cool risk/reward par 4. The meddlesome creek also bisects this hole at an angle. The smart play is to hit an iron right off the tee and give yourself a flip wedge. Heroes can try to drive the green over the creek to a very tight landing area. If successful, you should have a great birdie oppty. We both went left to set up our 3 putt bogeys. The front closes with an uphill 3 shot par 5. A split fairway, left plays shorter and is much narrower. The right side is more generous, but has several bunkers. There is a hellacious pot bunker guarding the green front middle.
The back opens with a downhill par 5. Possible to get home in two, but danger is lurking. Favor the left side off the tee as the hole is sloped hard towards the water hazard on the right. Big hitters going for it will have to fly that irksome creek. Otherwise, a mid iron to the landing area to set up your wedge. If you are walking there is not bridge, you will be forced to backtrack to the cart path. The 11th is long par 4 with a pot bunker in the middle of the fairway. Right of that is best. The mid-length par 12th is slightly uphill and is guarded by 3 front bunkers. This is a two tiered green about 2/3 of the way back. The 13th is an uphill par 4. Favor the left off the tee to take the right fairway bunkers out of play. Definitely take an extra club on the approach, it is uphill and the bunkers you see left and right create an optical illusion that they are protecting the green. They are not. The dogleg right 14th is another excellent birdie oppty. The best line is to fly the three fairway bunkers. If you cannot do that right is tighter with less fairway and left longer, with more room. The par 5 15th is the number 2 handicap hole. That darn creek runs down the left side, forcing you right off the tee. Possible to get home in two, but the second shot is all carry over that annoying meandering creek to a green perched on stack rock. Smart money, plays it as a 3 shotter. The 16th is a fun hole even with the creek in front. A really short par 3, it is the largest green on the course with several dead elephants buried below. The 17th is another good birdie oppty. A downhill par 4 with plenty of bunkers right. The best line is just to the left of them and should set up a flip wedge. However, we go from the largest green to the smallest. The finishing hole also provides two paths of attack. Left is safer and will you leave you a mid-iron to an uphill green. If you go right you must carry the water hazard and several bunkers to a smaller landing zone.
A fun course, I would pay to play it again.
I considered joining Old Hawthorne under one of their national memberships (as it's less than 90 minutes drive) when the development was brand new and there was minimal housing on the course. The course looks fun for sure, but now, it appears that there are significantly more houses on the property. How obtrusive is it from the course?
I cannot speak to the amount of homes there previously. There are certainly plenty abutting the course. These homes may come into play for really bad wayward shots, but it is not claustrophobic like too many Florida courses