Former tournament venue for golfers on the Hooters Tour and Heartland Senior Tour, the public facility at Thunder Bayou Golf Links has water hazards in play at seven of its holes.
Water isn’t the only hazard to be avoided here as there are more than eighty bunkers in play on a layout that features Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens.
Stretching to 7,232 yards from the back markers, the course at Thunder Bayou can certainly play long and tough, but there are four shorter tees available on every hole.
The four par threes are a varied bunch of one-shot holes (measuring between 169 yards on the 3rd to 230 yards on the 16th) and beware of the tough par four 17th, rated stroke index 1.
Thunder Bayou is very flat. Yes, there are several holes with water hazards to deal with. Overall, the course is wide open. The first hole is welcoming, although there are three greenside bunkers front left. The 2nd a little more interesting, a par five that will be tough to get home in two, especially as the green is tucked behind a water hazard. The 3rd is a Florida par three. I am surprised that a 169 yard hole is the number ten handicap. The 4th has a split fairway. The hole plays shorter from the right, but you are bringing a water carry into play. The fifth is a long par five, but it is straight away. The 7th is a ho-hum par three. The front closes with two tough holes. The 8th is a dogleg left around a water hazard and the 9th is a long par four with the fairway hourglassed with fairway bunkers.
The back opens with a straight away par four. The 11th is the shortest par five. It bends left about 125 yards out with a large bunker on the inside elbow. The 12th is a par four that bends right. However, the landing area is compressed with water right and fairway bunkers left. The 13th is a tough hole. A long dogleg left with bunkers on the inside elbow. The 14th is a short par three with water right. The 15th is a short S shaped par four. Tight landing area, consider laying up. The 16th is the longest par three and I felt no shame hitting driver. The track finishes with the 469 yard par 4 17th and the 610 yard par five.
Not my favorite track.
How were conditions and what time of year did you play? I've been wanting to day trip down there to check off Arkansas but I feel like it'd be squishy.
You raise a good point, I am pretty sure it was in Feb or march. It was cold and wet. Thus, I may have been a little harsh. Also, if I remember correctly, driving in you go past an old muny and your expectations plummet. I was happy that was not Thunder Bayou, but I certainly would not go back. Hope that helps