Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Conquer nine courses at America’s largest gated community
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An elevated approach shot to a green surrounded by bunkers. Now that's good golf.
When American history is discussed, those early Spanish and Portuguese explorers don't enter the conversation very much, so it might come as a surprise to some readers that, unlike Columbus who never stepped foot in what's U.S. soil today, many Iberians did. In particular, a conquistador in a shiny helmet named Hernando de Soto who searched for gold in today's southern states. He didn't find any, but nearly 500 years later, there's another kind of jewel in the region: golf.
Located 55 miles southwest of Little Rock, Hot Springs Village is America's largest gated community and boasts nine golf courses, each with a name that conjures up images of early European exploration. Three are ranked in the state's top-10 list, and what's even better is that the private community has recently opened its doors to the public. And there are numerous specials designed to entice a new crop of golfers. So go on, conquer the south.
The 7th hole on DeSoto is the number-one handicap hole.
All nine of Hot Springs Village's courses were designed by Tom Clark with the most recent, Isabella, completed in 2006. Golf Digest ranked three (Diamante, Isabella and Granada) in Arkansas' Top 10. Granada is the most scenic track, while Diamante hosted a Nationwide Tour event for four consecutive years. New to the game? Try the executive-length Coronado. Measuring just 3,902 yards, this bunkerless course is fun for newbies and anyone who needs to hone his or her short game.
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