“It is gently rolling terrain covered with pine, oak, maple, and hickory,” said Freeland. “It’s bisected by Beaver Creek with about nine holes to the north and nine to the south of the creek. For about half the holes, we didn’t have to move any earth at all; the holes just set down into their site naturally.”
Many other creeks, tributaries of Beaver Creek, trickle through the property, and Freeland incorporated them into the design of his holes. Where housing sites are located, they lie toward the high side of the fairways to make it more comfortable for golfers.
You will find our fairways very wide and open, but also mounded on the sides so balls will bounce back toward the middle. But you can also use those mounds to get a forward bounce if you’re a skillful player.
“Every hole is bunkered on this course, but the course is not overly bunkered,” said Steve Clark, the director of operations for Old Hickory. “We are known for our fast greens at Raspberry Falls, and the greens at Old Hickory will be just as fast. The grass on our greens is A4 bent grass, known for creating fast greens.”
There are four sets of tees here and tee boxes are generally elevated. You will always know where the challenges are and what trouble lies ahead for your ball.
Your round will start on a 380-yard par-4 with a lake to the right. You’ll also find the fairway is heavily bunkered on the left side and next to the green.
The No. 2 hole is a 400-yard par-4. On this unique hole, waterfalls start to the left of the elevated tee area and run down under the tees and into the lake.
The unique par-5 at No. 3 actually will allow you to reach the heavily bunkered green in two shots. But as you approach the green, you’ll see that there is a split fairway here with left and right landing areas next to the central bunker area. You have a risk-reward shot as you approach the green. You can risk going over the bunkers and making the green in two or taking a safer route to the right or left. If you attempt to fly over the bunkers, accuracy is paramount.
No. 6 is a strategic par-5 (530 yards from the back tees) that requires three shots to get to the green. You can’t cut take any shortcuts here. You also need to be sure of the accuracy of your second shot as the fairway turns to the right and the green is slightly to the right. You will need a very long tapered shot on this hole. There is also a false front to the green so be careful about placement or your ball could roll back down that front.
Your first shot on No. 8, a par-4 that is 420 yards from the back tees, will be made from an elevated tee box. You’re firing downhill to a fairway with bunkers on the right and left. In the fall, the hardwood trees along this hole will create a fabulous display of red and yellow.
No. 9 is a very long par 4 that plays at up to 490 yards from the back tees and 320 yards from the forward tees. Your tee shot requires maneuvering around a tree; you will also have to guard against the slope on the right. When you approach the green, you’ll find it well-protected with bunkers.
Architect Tim Freeland told us that the par-3 No. 13, 180 yards from the back tees, is one of his favorites. “It’s very dramatic with huge bunkers surrounding an elevated green,” he said. “From the tee, you’re shooting downhill to the fairway and then back up again to the green.”
You’ll need a long tee shot to carry a ravine off the tee at No. 14, a great par-5 that plays at 550 yards from the back tees, according to Steve Clark. But your next shot needs more precision than length due to the great number of quartz boulders left on this hole. You’ll find the green sitting on a ledge with rock outcroppings on the left. The green is heavily bunkered as well. You have to fly the ball to the green, but it is possible to reach this green in two shots and have a try for an eagle or a birdie.
You finish your round with a tough, long par-5 – 620 yards from the back tees. “There’s a natural waste area to the left and then you have to hit your ball over a ravine to reach the green,” said Steve Clark. “It’s a long, undulating hole that’s smartly bunkered. With three quality shots to the green, you should make par.”