Course Reviews Write your Own review
Great course, friendly staff!
Chipman Seale   (2009-07-23 13:42:10)
Tough when hungover and sleep deprived.
Jason Solomonson   (2004-06-21 11:50:57)
Jerry N. Slack & Associates, Inc. golf course designer of Shadow Valley Country Club, provides all phases of golf course planning and design from development land planning and golf course routing to the graphic articulation of grading concepts, drainage, individual green design, and on-site construction management. These finely detailed and high quality plans define concepts that incorporate environmentally sensitive design and playability with features that benefit maintenance and the economic effects of golf course operations. The culmination of vision, planning, drawing, and finally building, produces the typical Jerry Slack design - an efficient, quality product that enhances the natural beauty and aesthetics of the golf course site and its surroundings while providing an exceptional golf experience.

Mr. Slack has extensive design experience gathered over twenty-five years of consulting practice at all levels of design and development planning. His in-depth educational background - which includes a masters degree in Regional and City Planning - and professional experience and involvement, from architecture and site planning to large-scale land planning and urban design, has been tempered with significant emphasis on economics and the physical sciences, all key ingredients in the pursue of cost effectiveness and natural design. For the past fifteen years he has held responsible project management positions for over sixty-five golf course construction projects across the United States. As a "hands-on" architect he has become keenly aware of the impact of environmentally sensitive design on maintenance and the economics of golf course operations. He utilizes a three-dimensional sketching technique that greatly enhances the communication of his design concepts to golf course shapers. His exceptional skill in using this technique has high impact on the construction management phase of all projects. The innovative design approaches Mr. Slack brings to both new courses and emerging golf communities has earned him recognition on a national level.

Shadow Valley Country Club is located in the heart of Northwest Arkansas' prime residential growth area, the initial eighteen holes of Shadow Valley Country Club encompass some of the finest natural terrain for golf that can be found anywhere. This hot spot of golf and residential development lies between 1-540 and the new Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. The first phase of this golf and surrounding development surpasses by far the scope of any similar project in the region. In addition to the currently master planned community of Shadow Valley, a long range conceptual planning framework has been established for property that will eventually allow the golf course to expand to 36 holes and the master planned community to more than double in size.

As "golfing ground", the magnificent land available offers a wide variety of terrain for a rich variety of golf holes. The Osage Creek valley offers great views from the hilltop clubhouse site and from many golf holes. The clear stream, bluff, rock outcroppings, and variety of mature trees are an awesome asset to the golfing experience and also provide a permanent open space feature for the entire development. In addition, the many natural springs, babbling brooks, and waterfalls add tremendous quality to the golf ambiance as well as the general residential population. Furthermore, the beautiful tree lined valleys offer wonderful containment for the golf holes as well as make the significant elevation changes an integral part of the golf routing and layout. In addition, these valleys and topographical features make the creation of three major clear lakes a reality. These deep and beautiful water features are fed by springs, deep wells, and clear streams. Also, they are being utilized for irrigation, storm water detention, golf course features, and focal points for the residential development. The major waterfall and other drainage structures also provide further amenities of moving and failing water while servicing their more utilitarian functions.

In terms of overall routing, the golf course plays out of the centralized hilltop clubhouse location. This location also serves not only as a neighborhood focal point, but as a community center with many functions in addition to the golfing nerve center - a tennis center with both indoor and outdoor courts, a fitness center and a swim center with food and beverage service in the adjacent clubhouse. In addition to meeting rooms and other related facilities, the clubhouse and clubhouse area provide extensive golf practice and learning facilities geared for families and golfers of all types. A putting clock and complete short game facility with bunkers and a wide variety of chipping/pitching areas complement the range proper. The full range, mentioned above, features a breathtaking drop from the main tees at the clubhouse to a unique shallow lake and full size "green targets" located within and surrounding this lake. Naturally, a key feature of this facility will be to provide a fun practice session with realistic and instantaneous feedback. While it is easy to drive the picker through the asphalt lined bottom, the lake appears natural, deep, and will also provide for many ad hoc contests for players both before and after their rounds. Alternate downwind and teaching tees are being provided along Osage Creek to fully insure a quality practice experience at any time.

In general, the golf course itself will range from 5,244 yards to 7,086 yards in length. This variable range will be defined by the provision of five sets of tees suitable for any level of play. The fully sodded Zoysia fairways with fescue roughs will provide a well defined fairway cut line both winter and summer since the dormant Zoysia will highly contrast the green fescue during winter months. Further, the large greens are seeded with L-93, the most proven heat tolerant bentgrass available to date. While this bentgrass will provide the highest quality putting surfaces on a year-round basis, an additional feature of bentgrass tongues or run-up areas will be featured on each hole to facilitate the bump and run shot as well as different chipping, short game, and putting options.

As noted in the hole-by-hole descriptions to follow, the first hole plays away from the clubhouse in a well-contained valley to the east. The front nine routing is contained in the upland valleys, around the major lakes and winds back to the clubhouse areas through and across a series of tree-lined valleys. The par is 36 with 2 par 3's and 2 par 5's and a total length in excess of 3400 yards from the back markers. Although this length is a little shorter than normal, the holes are correspondingly somewhat tricky and tighter, which makes for balancing contrast to the longer and more open backside.

As also detailed in the hole-by-hole descriptions to follow, hole number 10 plays off the bluff from the clubhouse hill heading west. The back nine routing winds through the Osage Valley floodplain and spring fed creeks before heading up a series of valleys to the west. After a "surprise" lake hole and a difficult short par 4, the routing dramatically descends off the rocky bluffs to again meander along Osage Creek to the finishing and "punishing" par 4 eighteenth. This nine, also at par 36, plays to a back tee length of well over 3700 yards. In addition, the last six holes could be described as "very strong", a feature common to the finishing holes of most championship venues.

Overall, the routing provides a balance of holes featuring most elements of sound golf design principles. The holes play with the natural terrain and drainage patterns and match shot values and types with landing areas and subsequent targets. Panoramic and scenic tee alignments are mixed with natural backdrops to greensites for playability and pure enhancement of the golfing experience. Natural alignment and focal points are created by the use of specimen trees and other features such as rock walls, bunkers, and waterfalls, to enhance aesthetics and the natural rhythm and flow of the routing.

Further, a balancing of right-to-left, left-to-right, wind and sun orientation, and length, for all types of golf holes, is sought to further enhance the fun and challenge of the course. Such balance, when blended with the use of all types of available golfing terrain, has been achieved at Shadow Valley Country Club. The hole-by-hole narrative to follow more fully describes the details of this layout.

Hole No. 1 - Par 4 - 265 to 372 Yards

The opening dogleg left par 4 ranges in length from 300 yards on the forward tees to about 385 yards from the back. This medium length hole plays slightly downhill and along the right side of a valley that bends from right to left. The first shot, a driver or 3-wood should be directed to a generous landing area constructed on a benched shelf that slopes left to right and is highlighted by an "aiming bunker" cut into the hillside. From that point, a medium to short iron is required to a greensite benched into the left side of the valley and protected by a specimen oak on the front left and a sand bunker on the back right. The green slopes from left to right and is very receptive to shots from the left to right landing area. The green itself is plateaued on the right side and falls off into a gentle drainage swale that traverses the right side of the greensite. A par 4 will be easily attainable, but this medium sized green will not yield an abundance of birdies.

Hole No. 2 - Par 4 - 297 to 374 Yards

If the first hole lulls you to sleep, then this hole will provide an immediate wake up call. This visually stunning and scenic par 4 is a classic teaser in that it is quite drivable for an easy birdie or even an eagle, but with very high risk. Only after stepping up onto the tee will the full impact of this hole be realized. A direct route to the green is available to the very bold longer hitter, however, this requires a long carry from the elevated tees across a large lake to a greensite perched above a rock wall jutting out into the water, In addition, this short and rather sharp dogleg left around the lake is protected by an extensive "beach bunker" along and around the corner of the lake. Thus, you can bite off as much as you dare with corresponding high levels of risk and reward. Going for the green and bailing out will likely produce a second shot from bunkers with the rock wall and lake in the immediate background, while not clearing the hazards, will produce a sure bogey or "double". The safe shot to the generous straightaway landing area will yield a short iron shot to the green if the drive or lay-up is properly positioned. However, any deviation from that garden spot will require an increasingly difficult shot. The greensite is further framed by a specimen oak and waterfall immediately in the background.

Hole No. 3 - Par 5 - 366 to 502 Yards

This panoramic par 5 plays downhill and downwind with a large lake running all the way down the right side to the green, which is a focal point at the very end of the water and buttressed by another rock wall. The drive must carry the main body of water to a fairway benched out of the left to right sloping hillside. Framed by bunkers on the right the green will be reachable in two for the longer or better player but will require a carry over the "long" part of the lake, a rock wall, and bunker. Playing straightaway, however, to the lay-up area will be quite easy for the average player to achieve. From this generous and expansive second shot landing area, a half-wedge pitch to the green will yield an easy par or even birdie to the precise shot maker. However, the multi-level green will require some caution in both the approach and putting.

Hole No. 4 - Par 4 - 260 to 384 Yards

Playing back into the prevailing wind this medium long par 4 skirts the edge of the same large lake as the previous hole and winds up another valley to the left. The drive must be placed to the right of a series of links-style bunkering on the left. From the well-contained landing area, the medium to short iron approach plays uphill with a right-to-left wind around bunkering at the front left. The medium sized green itself slopes from back to front, but its deceptive element will be choosing the proper club for the approach.

Hole No. 5 - Par 4 - 378 to 471 Yards

Just over the ridgeline from four greensite, number 5 plays downhill and down another well defined and tree-lined valley. The drive is into the wind to a very well-contained landing area where the hole doglegs to the right, with the valley and small brook along the right side all the way into the greensite. Out-of-bounds lurks along the left on the second shot, but the prevailing winds and slope somewhat lessen that threat. The green extends out from the hillside on the left and plateaus down to the creek on the right side. The second shot will be fairly difficult, but fun. Overall, this may be the most difficult hole on the front side.

Hole No. 6 - Par 3 - 97 to 188 Yards

This medium length par 3 plays directly into the prevailing wind from elevated tees on one side of the valley to an intermediate ridge on the other side. This most natural greensite is molded along the gentle ridge top with bunkering and the stream at the right front. The green itself is folded into and over the ridge as well as around several specimen oaks. The green will be quite difficult to putt since the multiple levels will dry out quickly and become very fast.

Hole No. 7 - Par 4 - 262 to 388 Yards

The drive on this dogleg right par 4 plays from left to right with the wind and landing area terrain. From the landing area, which is benched into the left-to-right hillside, a medium iron approach will be required from a greensite located uphill and up the valley on the right side. The green itself is narrow, long from front to back, and bunkered at the right front. In addition to the plateau on the right and the drainage swales left, the green will be quite difficult to putt, and three putting will be a definite possibility at all times.

Hole No. 8 - Par 3 - 84 to 148 Yards

This crosswind par 3 will play the shortest of the four since it is downhill and the left-to-right wind and terrain will take twenty yards off the actual distance. This tree-lined jewel is quite picturesque with a solitary bunker on the front right that will "save" some shots from a "worse" fate of being down in the trees and over the green. In fact, a smart shot will be the bump-and-run to the left front of the green. Once the green is reached, two putts won't be impossible since the green itself is rather small and straightforward in contour.

Hole No. 9 - Par 5 - 398 to 522 Yards

As the final hole of the front side, this tree-lined and unique par 5 plays across two valleys and up a third in winding its way back to the clubhouse. The drive must carry a deep valley to a scalloped landing area that slopes from right to left. From this point, the second shot plays through a slot or chute and across a broad valley with the large spring-fed irrigation lake on the right. Since the hole plays downhill and downwind from the tee it will be possible on some days for longer hitters to "slingshot" their drives down the chute to a point in the valley that may make it possible to reach the green in two. That happy circumstance will require another "career shot" drawing it around a large specimen oak to an uphill greensite on the left side of the valley. The third shot, given normal play, will require a precise wedge or 9-iron to a well-bunkered and small green that will be difficult to hit as well as putt. This returns the golf course routing to the prominent hilltop clubhouse location.

Hole No. 10 - Par 4 - 350 to 431 Yards

This straightaway par 4 plays due west from the bluff overlooking the Osage Creek valley. Located just a few feet below the clubhouse, number ten fairway falls nearly 100 feet from the back tees to a landing area that is characterized by massive rolling ridges that are tied to fairway bunkering and further drop-offs to a well drained flood plain and floodway of Osage Creek. The second shot, a medium to long iron, plays across the creek to a plateaued green located above the floodway on the west side. The greensite design favors a right-to-left approach holding against the wind and around a gaping bunker cut into the terrace at the left front of the green. In addition, the natural terracing and ridges enhance and promote the right-to-left ground game commonly produced by long iron approaches in these situations.

Hole No. 11 - Par 4 - 367 to 453 Yards

This relatively long par 4 plays into the prevailing breeze and along the tree cover of Osage Creek. The fairway rolls gently within the flood plain to promote drainage and provide character, and the turn point (landing area) is highlighted by a massive bunker complex defining the right side. Another medium to longer iron approach will be required to reach the greensite that is cut into the hillside bluff across a beautiful spring-fed creek. A forced carry is not required, however, since the creek is piped under the fairway in front of the green. The green is further defined by massive oaks and a deep bunker cut into the bluff at the right front of the greensite. This rather large green will be quite receptive to shots of all types, but subtle transitions from multiple levels in the green will provide a challenge to putting.

Hole No. 12 - Par 5 - 441 to 531 Yards

This downwind and reachable par 5 plays from a tee complex located along the bluff line above the multiple springs and spring-fed creek. The drive is framed by the creek and springs on the left and rather massive ground swells and rolls that define the landing area and foster the most ideal drainage. From the turn point this green will be reachable for many players by a high fade or cut shot played off the hillside on the left and around bunkering on the front right. This green will be quite accommodating to fairway metal wood shots of all kinds but bunkering at the left and behind the green will extract suitable penalties for the indifferent approach from any location.

Hole No. 13 - Par 3 - 148 to 235 Yards

This lengthy par 3 plays up a box canyon valley to a large greensite located at the head of that valley. Expansive bunkering frames the green on three sides and the fairway approach rises from the valley floor to a plateaued greensite that ramps up five to ten feet from the fairway proper. This relatively shallow green is very "wide" as a long-range target and will be quite difficult to putt since the greensite slopes readily from back to front. In addition, the left-to-right prevailing breezes will foster a fade into this green, which is specifically designed to both accept and reward.

Hole No. 14 - Par 4 - 383 to 478 Yards

The crosswind and uphill drive on this medium length par 4 plays up and through a natural saddle in the ridgeline that contains the rather wide landing area. Although the landing area is very wide and easy to hit, the drive needs to favor the left side to provide a better angle to the green on the second shot. This shot can then be directed away from the lake which extends from the left side all the way to the green from the landing area. This lake will be in play on all shots into the green so the safest route to the greensite will be directed into the hillside on the right. Although a medium iron distance, this downwind shot calls for a bump-and-run, particularly to avoid bunkering on the middle right side of the green. Rather gentle green surfaces, however, provide welcome relief once the putting green has been reached.

Hole No. 15 - Par 4 - 285 to 381 Yards

This rather short par 4 plays due east through a prominently saddled ridge top to a small and tricky landing area that is tightly framed by large oaks. It is imperative that the tee shot be very well positioned or it is quite likely that a shot to the green will be most difficult, dangerous, or nearly impossible. Although the greensite will be only a wedge or nine iron away, it is located downwind and across a deep chasm, and balanced on the end of a ridge that falls off sharply in three directions- Simple pitches to this greensite will be exciting and challenging while any specialty or trouble shots into this green will truly make your day, if successful. The green itself will be quite small and easy to putt, but the deep bunker at the right front will also be very important to avoid. The bump-and-run towards the left front will be the smart play to find a par, which will be welcomed any day by most seasoned players.

Hole No. 16 - Par 5 - 451 to 594 Yards

As the final par 5, this magnificent hole will be anticipated both for its playing challenge as well as its scenic beauty. Playing from rocky ledges at the top of the Osage Creek bluffs, this hole plunges 80 -100 feet down to the valley floor on the tee shot alone. While the view from the tees is panoramic, rock ledges and bluffs frame the right side of the fairway, and Osage Creek and huge specimen trees line the left. This wide landing area will also be easy to hit, but the second shot must then carry Osage Creek and be positioned far enough down the fairway to reach the elevated green located across Osage Creek again. These two crossings will be a sufficient challenge for players of all levels and the sixteenth will truly be a three shot par five from all tee positions, and no other hazards or artificial opportunities will be required.

Hole No. 17 - Par 3 - 116 to 188 Yards

This final par 3 completes both the distance and directional missing variables. While completing the set, this medium length par three will require a strong shot to overcome the prevailing right-to-left wind and, at the same time, challenge Osage Creek that is dangerously close to the right side of the green. All five tees are located right along the creek and the overall line of play is diagonally across the creek from the west-to-east side. Aside from the stunning beauty and serenity that completely surrounds the hole, strategic bunkering on the left and right front will make for an intriguing challenge. Again, par will be a relief to any player at any time.

Hole No. 18 - Par 4 - 296 to 446 Yards

To complete this gauntlet of six very strong finishing holes, this straightaway par 4 invites a direct final challenge. Framed by a lone bunker on the right side, the landing area, prevailing winds, and slightly uphill nature of the drive, calls for the player to "let out the shaft". In fact, the bunker may be carried and the wide and contained landing area may produce a "slingshot effect" on drives carrying the multiple ridges and rolls. Once the drive is struck as far as possible, the green may be attacked aggressively in either direction. A strong draw may be played into the left side of the fairway approach that cascades down from the prominent hillside on the left while a fade can be "placed and held" in any hole location around the gaping bunker at the right front. This beautiful and classic greensite (positioned directly below the clubhouse) is further accented by a small waterfall and stream that completes the right side of this final valley.
Jason Solomonson   (2004-06-21 11:50:22)
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