When you are on a golfing vacation do you wonder what it would be like to live in the area you are visiting and play golf on the area’s courses?
In 2012, while on my 50-week, 50-state driving golf tour of the U.S., I continually evaluated areas of the country as to livability and the number and quality of golf courses available in the area.
Although I had no plans on moving from my home in Vista, California, some thirty five miles north of San Diego, when I discovered Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, a gated community one hour West of Little Rock with nine golf courses and only 14,000 residents, it perked my interest.
I was interested because it met my definition of a golfer’s paradise…year-round golf, low cost of living, friendly residents and plenty to do when not golfing.
I was intrigued by Arkansas and Hot Springs Village. Having lived my entire life in heavily populated areas around San Diego and San Francisco, I wanted to learn more about living in small rural community and wanted to experience a four season climate.
During two return trips to the village in order to check out its four seasons and to learn more the community, I learned that by my definition, Hot Springs Village was truly a golfer’s paradise. I decided to make a major change in my life and I moved to Hot Springs Village.
All nine courses in the village are no more than twenty minutes from each other, and less than one-half hour from anywhere in the village. All are in the village’s 26,000-acre forest of hardwoods and pines in the rolling hills of the Quachita mountain range.
Three of the courses, including the privately owned Diamante Country Club, are rated in the top ten in the state. All of the nine courses listed below, offer fun yet challenging golf for golfers of all skill levels.
Hot Springs Village courses…
Balboa – 18-hole championship length with five sets of tees ranging from 5362 to 6725 yards. Walker-friendly with wider fairways and fewer elevation changes than other courses in the village, Balboa is rated among the state’s top ten layouts.
Coronado – 18-hole executive length. A great course for beginners or for veteran golfers wanting to perfect their short game. Coronado has two sets of tees, White at 3902 yards and Gold at 3343 yards and…no sand bunkers to worry about.
Cortez – 18-hole championship length with numerous water hazards and elevation changes. It is a beautiful course that winds its way through a forest of pine, oak and hickory trees. You needn’t be long, but you need to be accurate. It has five sets of tees ranging from 5080 yards to 6672 yards.
DeSoto – 18-hole championship length that features Bermuda Greens. Opened in 1972, it was the first course in Hot Springs Village. Besides its sloping fairways and greens, it is known for its three finishing holes, the Par 5 16th, the Par 4 17th and the Par 5 18th. Its five sets of tees range from 4635 to 6687 yards.
Diamante – A private 18-hole championship length course. It was the site for four years of various PGA Tour satellite tournaments including several Nationwide tournaments. Opened in 1995, it was ranked by Golf Digest as the No. 1 golf course in Arkansas for four years running. It stretches out to 7560 yards from the longest of its seven tees.
Granada– 18-hole championship length with five sets of tees ranging from 5014 to 7115 yards. It is noted as a scenic course with impressive views. The Par 4 18th hole, which has a meandering waterfall that flows the length of the fairway from green to tee, is the course’s signature hole.
Isabella – A 27-hole championship length layout with three nine-hole rotations, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Opened in 2000, it was ranked the No. 1 course in Arkansas from 2002-2006 by Golf Digest and the Arkansas Business Journal.
Magellan – At 4877 to 6494 yards, Magellan is the shortest of the eight 18-hole championship length courses in Hot Springs Village. Like DeSoto, it is known for its fast but true Bermuda Greens. Opened originally as a three-hole golf school, it is considered to have one of the best practice facilities in the community with a large driving range, extensive putting green and several areas for short game and sand bunker practice.
Ponce de Leon– On its opening day in 1991, PGA Pro John Daly boomed his drives long and straight on this 18-hole championship length course. Ponce as it is known, has numerous dog legs, elevated greens, and great pizza served in Mulligans, its casual restaurant. Ponce is a favorite of both low and high handicap golfers.
Other than the excellent courses, additional things that add to the feeling that Hot Springs Village is “A Golfer’s Paradise” are:
Extremely reasonable golf and rental housing, and a variety of homes with forest, lake or golf course views at prices that are considerably under similar homes in other areas of the country.
Activities a-plenty in addition to golf. Hot Springs Village has over 160 clubs and organizations that offer a myriad of things to do no matter what a person’s interest and/or hobbies might be.
Recreational opportunities for non-golfing days. Eleven lakes for boating, kayaking, swimming and fishing. Three beaches; over 20 miles of natural trails for hiking and bicycling; tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, lawn bowling and basketball courts; a large fitness center with an in-door pool; and a 654-seat state-of-the-art auditorium where Broadway-quality plays and concerts are enjoyed at very inexpensive ticket prices.
Restaurants offering both casual and white table cloth dining.
Friendly residents from all fifty states and several foreign countries. All its residents have moved to Hot Springs Village because they wanted to enjoy the village’s relaxed yet active lifestyle.
If you are interested in playing golf on one or all of Hot Springs Village’s excellent golf courses, or are interested in finding an area for a great golf vacation, or are looking for a community to move to, plan a visit to Hot Springs Village.
If I sound like a sales agent for the village, let me assure you I am not. I just love living and playing golf in what I and many others consider “A Golfer’s Paradise”.
For information and videos about golf and activities in Hot Springs Village, visit www.HSVPOA.org, and www.explorethevillage.com. To speak with someone at the Hot Springs Village Visitor’s Center about the village, call the center toll free at 866-984-9963.
Story by Chuck -The Traveling Guy- Miller
Photography by Renee Steinpreis