Hawkes Bay

Par 27

Level 2 from 849 – 1,336 yards

Hawkes Bay has a great sound to it.  Like Bonita Pass or Redfish Run or Southern Star, Hawkes Bay conjures a compelling image.  The course is nice too!  All par threes. None longer than 153.  Nearly half under 110.  So you don’t have to be a long hitter to play well here.  And it helps it’s got a large fountain in it’s center lake to travel around - that seems appropriate given the course is named after a body of water.  As you round the circuit the wind direction will drive your club selection choices.  Have your phone camera ready, especially on the 6th hole.  You’ll be taking some great looking shots with both your camera and clubs!


The round begins with a short shot onto fairly flat green with an enormous sand trap that’s wraps back to the 8th green as well.  It’s like a communal bunker.  This theme continues on the 2nd hole.  It nearly shares a green with #7.  More importantly it’ll be your first view of the fountain!  It’s one of the hardest shortest holes in town, with a cool view.  Nice combo!  The 3rd hole is really fun – downhill with sand and water to the right and a slanted sloped green.  Your last shot into the southerly wind is on #4.  Uphill with more sand than green and the Watercrest Senior Living building in the background.  Turn to the west for #5.  If it’s the late afternoon you’re going to face the sun and have a full fairway of lake on your right.  The fountain is in full view but keep your head down or your ball will see it too.  It’s the toughest putt of the round - a 3-foot slope to the front left.  But the green is also perched up so anything hit astray will roll away.  This will be your first test of the day, but your reward is coming on the next hole. 


The 6th hole is one of the most photographed in The Villages.  Pictured above, it’s easy to see why it's on my Postcard list.  A perfect frame of trees, green, sand and water – even a large palm near the tees.  Take a picture then take aim because it’s all water to an elevated green with a forward sloping green.  You would consider clubbing up to carry the water but that may result in a downhill putt.  It’s a tough club selection - choose wisely Grasshopper!  Your last view of the lake (see picture below) brings you to the hardest shot of the day.  Hawkes 7 is about 150 yards over a trap with a lip covering most of the green.  Left is best!  #8 is the same set up just 20 yards shorter – again left is best.  You’ll close out your round with another similar shot.  It’s a redundant finish for a fun course.  But the best part of the course was the stretch in the middle from 2-7.  It’s got downhill drop shots, slippery greens, camera ready visuals and a fountain in full spray.  Now that’s as compellingly as the sound of Hawkes Bay!  Hope you have a great time!

Toughest to Easiest:

7, 5, 2, 6, 8, 9, 3, 4, 1 – toughest green 5

From the Blacks!

Yes!  My three least favorite holes from gold are 1, 8 & 9.  But from the blacks they’ll at least require three different clubs.  And the 9th plays 178, so a real closing test.  Do it!

Go Green!

You’ll still have to hit over water on the 6th hole, even from the forward green tees.  The first six holes play under 100 yards, so that’s a favorable start.  And even the toughest shot at #7 is just 124 from greens.  It’s a fun course to play green. 

What's Nearby?

The Oxford Golf Academy is a cart ride to the west of Hawkes Bay.  They’re a full-service golf instruction facility with lessons and clubs, but what I like most is the excellent driving range.  Consider hitting a bucket of balls before you play Hawkes – and only hit the clubs you’ll need for that day.  Hawkes Bay is all par threes ranging from 98 to 153 from the gold tees, so for me that means I’ll hit my 6, 7, 8 & 9 irons off the box.  So, I’ll only practice with those four clubs.  Give it try and learn more about Oxford here

My impressions are based on playing from the Gold tee boxes.  The Black and the Green tee boxes pose different challenges or benefits described as well.  The rankings of the toughest to easiest holes are just my opinions - yours will be far different, as will your favorite courses and most difficult and attractive holes.  I welcome your opinions or thoughts on any of this - click to leave a comment.  

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