On the Trail Of Success
New course construction and revitalization has made
Kentucky a prime destination for golfers
It’s been an
impressive few years of course construction and golf revitalization in
Kentucky. Existing courses have worked hard to improve their
properties and the State Park has done a nice job of creating the
“Kentucky Golf Trail” which now includes 13 18- hole courses. Within
those 13 courses are the “Signature Series” which includes four newer
courses: Dale Hollow, Mineral Mound, Eagle Ridge and Hidden Cove,
joining Wasioto Winds and Kentucky Dam Village to round out the
Hurdzan-designed Wasioto Winds provided a sneak peek at where the
state was going with the Kentucky Golf Trail back in the early 2000s.
Wasioto Winds means “Valley of the Deer.” The valley lay at the foot
of the “Log Mountains” in the Pine Mountain State Resort Park. The
course wanders through the flatlands of the valley incorporating
creeks, ponds and mature trees into the design. Hiring Hurdzan to
design Wasioto Winds was the first indication that the state park
system was getting serious about being in the golf course business.
The courses at
Dale Hollow and Grayson Lake, designed by Ault, Clarke and Associates,
are both serene and full of nature. Both courses offer a challenge to
any and all skill levels. The courses are cut through mature forest
covering a vast amount of land where nature abounds. The architects
had a lot of terrain to work with and accomplished nice layouts with
beautiful views in both cases. You’ll find a little more elevation
change at Dale Hollow, like the beautiful risk/reward tee shot at the
530-yard, par-5 14th hole or the downhill approach over water to the
Hidden Cove has
its share of challenge in the form of 7,173 yards of rolling bent
fairways, including the 647-yard par-5 16th hole. The tee
shot at the 545-yard par-5 fifth is downhill, but the next two shots
are uphill, blind shots. You might feel the sphincter tighten when
you tee it up at the 538-yard, dogleg left, par-5 12th.
It’s a visually intimidating tee shot where going left probably means
a lost ball all the way to the green.
Mineral Mound should prompt demands course management from the tee,
but it’s not obvious from the yardages on the score card. The
elevation changes play a big part in club selection and this is one
that you will score much better on the second time around. There is a
lot of rolling terrain with Lake Barkley providing a backdrop on a few
holes, so just like the others along the Kentucky Golf Trail you get a
peaceful, nature filled golf experience.
Eagle Ridge is a
“don’t miss” course just on stunning views alone, especially on the
par-4 13th where golfers fire balls over 300 yards down a
200 foot drop to the green. This course also offers a big dose of
If budget is an
issue, keep in mind that Kentucky is a very affordable option. Within
the www.golfkentuckylinks.com Top 18 list, not a single course is over
$50. Kentucky also has numerous very nice, privately owned public
courses with affordable fees. Some are not too far off the State
Park’s golf trail and are well worth a visit. A few of these include
Stone Crest which is south of Eagle Ridge and Old Silo and Eagle Trace
along I-64, west of Hidden Cove. Lafayette is located next to Rough
River State Park and The Summit near Ben Hawes State Park both offers
an enjoyable round of golf.
With the truly
fine addition of the six signature series courses, the upgrades to
existing park courses and the numerous privately owned affordable
courses “the State of Kentucky Golf” is looking like a nice trail to
ride at a great value.
Ron Waterson lives in Spencer County, Ky. Along with business partner
Moe Miller they own, operate and write for MOERON Publishing, LLC.
For more information on Kentucky golf visit their website at