Hawthorn Ridge Golf Club is playable without being a pushover
ALEDO — In this part of the state you’d be hard pressed to find a golf course that doesn’t require a scenic drive through farmland. But whereas a majority of courses also send you through 18 holes with plenty of views of the surrounding crops there are a few that give you a change of scenery. Tucked away in a beautiful stretch of woods on the far southern end of Aledo, Hawthorn Ridge Golf Club can be grouped in the latter.
Hawthorn Ridge has plenty of elevation changes not only from tee to green but also on the putting surfaces. Instead of two or three tiered greens, however, the course challenges you with rolling slopes on fairly sizeable patches of space. Interestingly some of the more difficult greens to hit are the par-5s where courses usually tend to ease up. Most greens are also well protected with bunkers.
Holes 6 through 8 holes present a difficult set of shots. The 6th is the longest par-5 on the course which requires a bit of local knowledge on the proper second shot (don’t go right) while the 7th is the longest par-4 with visually intimidating tee shot. The 8th is the second longest par-3 (188 yards) but has a much more difficult green to hit than the 17th (206 yards). For singularly difficult holes however the 14th is the toughest. A downhill tee shot is functionally target golf with trouble on both sides and the uphill second shot is not easy either.
The second hole is a “no left” par-5 with a pond stretching the entire length of the hole but is a really fun hole to play nonetheless. Players that stay right can make a birdie. The 16th and 18th holes are also fun to play with a risk/reward presented for using driver. In the case of the 16th a pond is in danger for those that hit it too long and straight while the 18th’s sizeable bunker on the left side of the fairway can be cleared but also represents serious trouble if found.
John Daly Rating
So named for a course’s ability to let the average player have fun with the driver the John Daly Rating is a different way to look at course playability.
Players that spray their tee shot really have to pick their spots to be aggressive. Multiple holes have trouble on both sides of the fairway but others open up at the fairway despite looking tough on tee box. Overall the course falls on the lower end of the scale but there are still opportunities to let it rip.
The greens were in really solid condition and the grass around the course had a healthy green hue. The only disappointing feature was the fact some of the bunkers were hard and crusty but that is not an uncommon problem for this time of year. Hawthorn Ridge finds a good balance between being playable while also not being a pushover.