By Joe Perdue
PGA Professional / Owner
Hidden Meadows Golf Course
Yes and no is the answer to the question in the headline.
A month ago it looked like we were going to have one of the earliest opening days ever at Hidden Meadows. Then Mother Nature played the ‘ha ha ha, not yet’ game, hitting us with more polar weather during the month of March than we’d seen for most of the winter. Even though next week looks a little on the frigid side (this is possibly an understatement), we’ve got a decent chance of having the course open by Saturday, April 9th (no promises).
With that in mind, this seemed like a good time to catch everyone up on what’s been going on around here the past several months. However, when I started to write this article, I realized it was going to be too long. So I’ve decided to break it down into a couple of different parts. We’re going to start with something that Rob and I have been working towards ever since we bought the golf course back in 2010.
In the fall of 2010, when we started building the driving range, we also roughed out a new tee on #1 and a new tee on #3. The following season, we roughed out new senior tees on #’s 3, 6 and 7. We had the new senior tees open in 2013 and the other two new tees opened in 2014.
As most of you may know, we built seven more tees in 2015. We officially opened them towards the end of August, gave everyone a couple of months to use them, and then took an informal survey of how to integrate them with the existing tees. We received a lot of great feedback, combined some suggestions (thank you Ed Lucas!), and I am happy to announce that everyone will now be able to play Hidden Meadows as an 18-hole course, if they want to.
Here’s how it works:
If you are going to play 18-holes from the regular tees, you will play your ‘front 9’ from the green tees, and your ‘back 9’ from the white tees. The course measures 6,068 yards from this set up. If you are going to play 18-holes from the senior tees, you will play your front 9 from the white tees, and your back 9 from the gold tees. The course will play 5,458 yards from this set-up, which is roughly 90% of what the green/white combination is. If you are going to play from the ladies (or forward) tees, you will play the gold tees for your front 9, and from the red tees for your back 9. This set-up measures 4,915 yards, roughly 81% of what the green/white combination is. Par is 71 for all three of these tee combinations.
We are also in the process of adding two more complete sets of tees, which we should have in play by the end of April. Following the guidelines from U.S. Kids Golf, we have a Silver set of tees and an Orange set of tees. The Silver tee layout is 4,064 yards, the Orange tee layout is 3,000 yards (18-hole yardages). These are designed for younger and newer players that need a shorter route around the course, with the intention of making golf a little bit less intimidating, more manageable and more fun. This way, everyone can enjoy playing golf at Hidden Meadows.
These ‘tee’ areas will be designated by a round colored disc in each fairway. They will not interfere with regular play, and they are also set so our mowers can go right over the top of them. Randy Rand is providing the discs, paint and graphics.
We are also respectful to our loyal patrons that have been members at Hidden Meadows since it opened in 1997, and that they liked the course just the way it was. Please rest assured, we have not, and will not, take that away from anyone. We have set up our new scorecards with a panel called ‘The Legacy Course,’ which shows all of the tees and yardages for the original layout.
To make all of this work, we are in the process of making two more changes to the course this spring. We are building a new tee on #1. It will have gold markers on it, and will be a par 5 for people playing the Gold/Red combination, and a par 4 for people playing the White/Gold combination. We are also building a new tee on #8. It will have red markers on it, and will be a par 3 for people playing the Gold/Red combination.
To go along with the integration of the new tees, we have new scorecards and new tee signs on the way. The new scorecards are going into production on Monday (4-4), and we should have them in 2-3 weeks. The new tee signs are also going into production on Monday (4-4), and we should have those up in 2-3 weeks as well. Along with the new tee signs, we are in the process of renewing all of the existing tee sign sponsors. With the addition of the new tees, we have some opportunities for new sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring a tee sign, just let us know, and we’ll fill you in on all of the particulars. Below is a picture of the new scorecard, the new tee signs and the new sponsor signs.
I also want to give a big shout-out to Chad Armell, who has been the Greens Superintendent at Hidden Meadows ever since we bought the course. Chad started here in 2007 and stayed on during the ownership change. You may not know it, but he is an outstanding golfer and regularly shoots in the mid-to-high 70’s when he gets the chance to play.
Chad provided a lot of valuable input when we were deciding where to build all of the new tees. In addition to how a hole was going to play from a new location, we also had to consider how much sunlight a tee would get, how the air circulation was going to affect the grass, and we also had to figure out how to get irrigation to the new tees. So it’s a lot more than dumping a pile of dirt in a spot, making it level and throwing down some seed. Chad was instrumental in every phase of making these new tees part of the course. He made sure everything was done right, kept our mistakes to a minimum, and built these tees so that everyone would enjoy the result. Job well done Chad!
This is exciting for Rob and me. We’ve always wanted golfers to be able to have an 18-hole experience at Hidden Meadows. There is a big difference in the yardage for some of the new tees. For some of the other tees, they measure about the same or even a little bit shorter. But all of the new tees change how a person plays each hole, makes them consider using a different club off of the tee, or changes the length of the approach shot or angle to the green. Our goal was to make the course as challenging for a person as they want to be challenged, and making the course more interesting to play, while at the same time keeping the course fair and fun. I think we have accomplished that.
We’ve got some other changes in mind, and we’ve got a lot of other new things going on here this spring at Hidden Meadows. I’ll have another update for everyone sometime in the next few days.