A Carefully Crafted Golf Course
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Craftsmanship represents the past and future of Hickory, North Carolina. Priding itself to draw people with an eye for detail there is passion for making something special for themselves and others. To most visitors to North Carolina, Hickory is synonymous with their craftsmanship in the furniture industry. On our visit to the Catawba Springs Golf Course, we find the same level of craftsmanship and eye for detail on the golf course. The 27-hole course designed by Willard Byrd is scenic, challenging and definitely demonstrates an “eye for detail.”
Part of the Lake Hickory Country Club, the Catawba Springs Golf Course is located in the Catawba Springs development. On a beautiful Tuesday we arrive at the Clubhouse to find it offers golf, fitness and dining. Golfers can hone their skills from the long driving range to the large putting green to a chipping green to a practice bunker. Golfers of all skill levels have a great facility to work on each part of their game. We start our visit with a tasty lunch at the Springs Tavern to prepare us for an afternoon of golf.
After warming up on the practice range and putting green, we prepare to tackle the Fox Run and Sulphur Springs Courses. With four sets of tees this gives a par 72 of 6610 yard course from the blue tees. Selecting the best tees for our handicap, we tee it up under beautiful Carolina “blue skies.” Quickly we find that paying attention to the GPS in the golf cart is critical. As we approach Fox Run No.1 a Par-5 the GPS display warns “blind shot.” Not only is it a blind shot but it is downhill dogleg with a creek to carry on the second shot. As we wind our way around the nine of Fox Run we find plenty of challenges. The GPS continues to alert us to “blind shots” from uphill fairways to downhill fairways. Catawba Springs takes full advantage of being on the edge of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here we easily see how Willard Bryd’s “eye for detail” worked unique and intriguing creeks, lakes, terrain and bunkers into a most stimulating golf course. The fairways, greens and tee boxes are in very good condition with thick grass. So much better than some of the grasses we find on our Florida courses. On No. 4 a par-3 it is all uphill to a huge green framed in the background by a barrier of blooming Crepe Myrtles. I am happy with my par on this hole. Paying attention to club selection is a must on these elevations. While it is not a mountain course it still takes a different club selection for uphill and downhill terrain. The greens are fast and have just enough undulation to throw off putts. Plus some of the greens are huge. Richard is having great success parring the par-5s and par-4s while my strength on Fox Run is the par-3s. On No. 8 a par-5 we are both thrilled to be putting for pars but alas the tricky greens catch us again, resulting in bogeys.
Making the turn, we find new tests of our skill on Sulphur Springs course. Again the GPS warns us of “blind shot” on No. 1 a par-4. The graphic shows a dogleg and hazards to carry before reaching the green. I’m excited with my par. On No. 4 a par-4 with a blind uphill shot, at the top of the fairway we see a beautiful green below with a scenic lake in the background. The second shot is critical to either reach the green or not overshoot this downhill approach. Challenges continue on these hills and dales. To us No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 is like playing “Amen Corner” at Augusta National. No. 6 is a par-5 with a lake coming into play and a narrow entryway to the green. Richard plays it perfectly for his par. Arriving a No. 7 it is a long par-3 over a water hazard and ALL uphill. Then No. 8 a par-4 is another “blind shot” uphill (even the graphic doesn’t give us a real vision of what is ahead). Driving up to see the hole we find after the drive it is all downhill to a tiny flat area (for those who can’t carry the water on a second shot, i.e. ladies or men who were short on their drive) before the water protecting the green. HURRAH! We both par it! Thank goodness we checked it out after our drives to see what was really ahead. Parring No. 9 has us both excited about this enjoyable day of golf.
As we all say “any day of golf is a great day.” It was definitely a great day of golf at playing Catawba Springs Golf Course. The course had plenty of challenges, excitement and demonstrates the “eye for detail” in its design as it winds through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
If you go:
Lake Hickory Country Club is a premier private Club in Hickory, NC that has served the area since 1923. The Club offers its members golf, tennis, fitness, dining and social amenities. The Town Club Golf Course is a 9-hole executive practice facility. Its new Multi-use Practice facility features a driving range with target greens, extended chipping/short range practice area. Plus members can play at the Catawba Springs course with its challenging 27 holes. A variety of memberships are available for Lake Hickory Country Club Town Club Memberships which includes Catawba Springs Golf Course to Catawba Springs only memberships.
Catawba Springs Country Club, 3820 Wondering Lane, Hickory, NC 38601
Lake Hickory Country Club, 430 17th Avenue NW, Hickory, NC 28601