Spirit Hollow Golf Course
|White (W)||72||6010 yards||71.5||120|
|Red (W)||72||5053 yards||70.3||116|
|Gold M: 74.8/134||426||607||183||607||468||445||165||431||410||3742||575||352||210||480||467||215||434||496||579||3808||7550|
|Black M: 71.4/124||391||507||148||532||384||408||154||383||365||3272||502||338||186||409||393||145||378||445||521||3317||6589|
|White M: 69.0/117 W: 71.5/120||376||452||134||501||361||365||136||365||323||3013||457||305||163||389||370||132||331||397||483||3027||6040|
|Red W: 70.3/116||299||390||100||439||273||303||108||332||266||2510||394||252||120||298||328||105||282||341||423||2543||5053|
I've lived in Iowa for almost 16 years. I live 2 hours from Spirit Hollow and have heard nothing but wonderful reviews for 16 years. I finally got to play it and I wasn't disappointed.
I have been reading a lot on course architecture lately, and from what I've been reading, Spirit Hollow passes all the tests for great architecture. It's a wonderful routing with a great variety of holes.
The condition was immaculate. The greens were true and fast, but not too fast, so I could still be aggressive. The fairways and bunkers were well maintained. I was surprised to find sprinklers in the rough, which mean the rough was thick and penal.
Overall, Spirit Hollow is worth the trip if you're in the area. I've played a lot of courses in the Midwest and this ranks up there with the finest I've played.
Great afternoon of golf
So, I’m going to start with something completely non-golf (because I’m afraid I’ll forget it). As you play down through the green on the first hole, don’t forget to look back and take in the old cabin on the hill on the right as you look back… it’s pretty cool (pic included in this review).
Spirit Hollow was a slightly different experience for me (especially on this trip). I almost always set my tee times for early in the morning (first out as often as possible), I really like getting first tracks when I can. However, do to scheduling I wound up going out as a single at 3:00pm. This put me behind several larger groups so the play was a bit slower than I’m used to; however, this gave me a chance to really take in the course as I went. Something my typical three hour rounds don’t always allow me to do.
Spirit is a nice course that can play quite long. The blacks I played were a rather pedestrian 6589 when compared to the gold tees in back at 7550(!). In my entire deck of 39 cards from this trip, there is not a single course that opens up this much between the back two tees. I like a good challenge, but that one was enough that I left it for next time.
The course features a decent amount of elevation change but as I recall mostly plays downhill with lots of cart paths taking you back up. This provides for plenty of great vista’s from the tee boxes. The most fun I had was on the par 5 18th hole where the two groups in front of me got backed up on the green and layup area, leaving the entire fairway landing area free for me. I took advantage of this and let a few balls fly after putting my first drive safely on the deck. You shoot over a creek that runs at an angle away from you, so it’s a “bite off as much as you think you can chew” tee shot. Having placed one safely on the fairway and having nothing to do while I waited… I got to test out “my appetite” (turns out my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I just lost a few balls… but I had some good fun).
The golf, in general, was good. This track offers something for everyone including a fun risk/reward poke over some (pretty tall) trees on the dogleg left 14th hole. I took that rout successfully with a 3 wood and was rewarded with just a wedge into the green and my only birdie on the day (there were other scoring opportunities, but I strained my oblique on the first hole and had trouble with my swing most of the way).
With the exception of one hole that is undergoing a major renovation (obviously not a neglect issue), the course was in very good condition, which was impressive given the number people that had gone through the course before we did. The staff was friendly and engaging and seemed genuinely interested in our trip and helping in any way they could. Other than one group (which, thankfully, only played 9 holes) the pace of play and the other players were friendly and a pleasure to chat with as well.
I’d certainly play Spirit Hollow again if I were in the area.
Spirit Hollow Review
What a great golf course...be sure to select the correct tees depending on your skill level...Spirit can stretch to around 7300 yards but they have several options that are shorter that make it very player friendly...there are some hole that are both beautiful and challenging at the same time...and they have stay and play packages available right on sight. I would recommend a trip and play Spirit Hollow to any golfer at any skill level...you will find it an enjoyable day!!
Top 10 Course in Iowa
If you're within a couple-hour drive, it's worth the trip. If you live within an hour, you'll end up playing here a few times a year. I've played here approximately 50 times (live about 45 min away & had college practice here), and it's still one of my favorite courses. Both nines are fantastic, but I think most will agree the back is a bit better and more challenging. No. 13 and No. 14 is a brutal stretch. Three of the four par 5s (No. 2, No. 10, No. 18) are very fun and risk-rewarding. I played a best-shot tournament here recently, which was really fun with these holes. If you hit it in the fescue from June - August, good luck finding your ball, let alone hitting it out. As long as you keep pace of play up (or you're waiting to hit) you can find a lot of balls in the fescue. The greens are a good test, but they aren't incredibly challenging. Conditions of the course are usually fantastic. Bent grass fairways are awesome. The rough is a tough test when playing the ball down. The sand quality in the traps is average, and some of the traps at the low points on the course do not drain well. Speaking of which, some of the holes that are at low points on the course do not drain well. Basically, if you play the day after rain, you can expect cart paths only, which if you go on a weekend can lead closer to a five-hour round. Weekdays you can usually fly around the course, and the twilight deal (weekday and weekend) is the way to go from a price and pace of play standpoint. The last two times I've played here they haven't had drinking water on the course. They used to have water at No. 4, No. 7 and No. 13/No. 16, but the coolers were no longer there. Maybe it was just bad timing, but it was a really hot day out and hopefully this isn't a method to get golfers to constantly buy bottled water from the beverage cart. Also, this course no longer has GPS in their carts, which obviously isn't a huge deal, but the computer system they had before was awesome and unique. Anyways, I still highly recommend this course. It's a perfect place for outings, and there are plenty of tee boxes for all skill levels. However, if you are a double-digit handicap, bring plenty of golf balls.
First time for Spirit Hollow...was really looking forward having wanted to play it for years...it did not disappoint...however I was disappointed with the following: 1) there was NO water on a 95 deg day with zero wind...by 14 my partner and myself were completely dehydrated. We saw our first cart girl at 17. The excuse was they were litigated as someone claimed to have gotten sick from the drinking water previously so they removed access. As LAME as that is, how about letting us know right up front and providing a free bottle of water? A little class and getting ahead of a potential bad writeup or ill feelings? Doesn't seem worth the backlash. 2) I'm a pretty darn good player....the rough was so long that we lost balls in it...cut it down!
3) we were first out...the course is in impeccable shape...however for cryin out loud with as many maintenance workers strolling the course and especially near the clubhouse...how about someone checking to see if the flag on 18 was in the hole? It wasn't...geesh
Other than that, we will be back as it's the best track I've every played in my home state of Iowa...however SH forced our hand and we will be providing our own beverages next time