Heron Creek Golf & Country
Club by Arthur Hills, Florida Golf Magazine
Winter 2017© Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
SARASOTA COUNTY, NORTH PORT
World renowned golf course architect, Arthur
Hills is seen here in front of the beautiful 21,000 square feet
Clubhouse at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club. Hills designed
all 27 holes of the Oaks, Marsh and Creek Nine layouts at Heron
Creek Golf & Country Club.
Heron Creek Golf & Country Club
for Florida Golf Magazine by Golf Course Architect, Arthur Hills
Heron Creek Golf & Country
Architect: Arthur Hills - 1999
5301 Heron Creek Blvd, North Port, FL 34287
Phone : 941-240-5100, heroncreekgcc.com
Back in 1998, we designed 27 holes for
Dr. Hans-Jurgen Reichardt at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club
in North Port, Florida. Hans and Monika Reichardt have been the
sole owners of the Club since it opened in 1999 and have done
a fine job of taking care of the three 9-hole courses.
Recently (in the summer of 2016), they
re-grassed all 27 greens, plus four 10,000-square-foot practice
greens. They have also re-grassed several fairways and rebuilt
many of their bunkers. Now, all three of the nine-hole courses
are in magnificent condition. Needless to say, the loyalty of
the membership is beyond words.
The challenging (but not intimidating)
course design of the Oaks, Marsh and Creek Nines at Heron Creek
includes natural beauty, sparkling water features, and elevation
changes that are unique in Southwest Florida.
Of the 676 acres at Heron Creek, more than
430 acres (including the golf course) have been set aside as
permanent, environmentally-protected nature preserves, creating
lakes and green space for residents, as well as providing natural
habitat for a wide variety of birds and other wildlife.
Director of Golf Maintenance,
Tom Rainey and golf course owners Hans and Monika Reichardt inspect
the newly regrassed greens at Heron Creek Golf & Country
We worked very carefully to fit the golf
course and the residential areas on the land. The neighborhood
homes and the golf course complement, rather than compete with
the native landscape. They are bordered by natural vegetative
buffers along with stands of native trees and pristine lakes--all
of which serve as quiet retreats for the abundant wildlife.
The three nine-hole courses at Heron Creek
are distinctly different, but the third nine or Creek Nine
is generally regarded as the most difficult. One characteristic
that is common to all three courses is that the starting and
the finishing holes are very memorable.
The Oaks Nine
One of the premier golf practice and learning
facilities on the west coast of Florida can be found at Heron
Creek. Situated high above the surrounding landscape, the enormous
range with tees on both endssome 400 yards apartgives
members the opportunity to experience varying wind conditions
or take in a private lesson from one of the talented professionals
on the golf staff. The short game practice area and learning
center provide numerous shot options for those seeking to fine
tune their games before strolling to the adjacent first tee on
the Oaks Nine.
The 500 yard, par five,
1st Hole of the Oaks course at Heron Creek Golf & Country
Club is located next to the 400 yard long Learning Center and
#1 Oaks, 500 yards, par 5
The 500-yard, par-5 first hole on the Oaks Nine has significant
elevation changes that are unique to southwest Florida. Its
no wonder that it is one of the Signature holes. Off the tee,
the landing area for a good drive is on an elevated plateau that
terminates with a "speed slot" that runs downhill.
Drives that are hit well enough to reach the speed slot can roll
an extra 30 or 40 yards. This provides an excellent opportunity
to reach the elevated green on the par 5 in two strokes.
Pictured at left, the 429 yard, par four,
2nd Hole is Arthur Hills favorite hole on the Oaks course
at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club.
#2 Oaks, 429 yards, par 4
The second hole on the Oaks Nine is one of my favorite holes
and certainly one of the members favorites as well. This
par four requires an exacting tee shot that finishes between
two massive oak trees that appear to be literally spanning the
width of the fairway.
If one is fortunate enough to get safely
past the two oaks, it's a beautiful second shot to a peninsula-style
green with a large bunker on the left side and water on the right.
This is one of the many holes at Heron Creek that has been completely
re-grassed from tee to green.
Many times during the day, this hole can
be teeming with wildlife in the form of the great blue heron
and many species of native water fowl. In addition, there is
a healthy population of white-tailed deer, several families of
otters that frolic around in the waters, a few bobcats, foxes
and several endangered species that include gopher tortoises
and scrub jays. All in all, there is a tremendous amount of wildlife
to be discovered at Heron Creek!
Pictured at right, the 190 yard, par
three, 3rd Hole of the Marsh course is a favorite of the members
at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club in beautiful North Port,
The Marsh Nine
Not surprisingly, considering its name,
the environmental story continues on the Marsh Nine.
This loop has a healthy supply of natural areas and protected
wetlands. Indeed, of the three nine-hole courses at Heron Creek,
the Marsh Nine has the most protected wetland and marsh areas.
The vistas from the back tees of the holes of the Marsh Nine
#3 Marsh, 190 Yards, Par 3
At 190 yards from the back tees, the third hole of the Marsh
course is a favorite Signature hole that is the topic of much
conversation around the bar following a round. Its a par
three with a forced carry, requiring a well-struck shot over
a beautiful natural area (environmentally-sensitive wetland)
to a fairly large and accessible green. The 7-handicap rating
is deceiving because this short hole requires a very good shot
if the player is to find the green.
The 394 yard, par four, #7 Marsh
at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club.
#7 Marsh, 394 Yards, Par 4
With its stunning vistas, standing on the 394-yard back tee of
#7 Marsh is one of the treasured pleasures at Heron Creek. The
par 4 has a large body of water which, from the professional
tees, definitely comes into play.
There are a couple families of
American bald eagles that come back to Marsh #8 every year to
nest and raise there young. They teach their fledglings how to
catch fish in the ponds on the side of Marsh #7 and #8.
Complete with Bald Eagles and
environmentally sensitive wetlands, #8 Marsh epitomizes the design
vision Arthur Hills and Dr. Reichardt had for Heron Creek Golf
& Country Club.
#8 Marsh, 345 Yards, Par 4
#8 Marsh is truly the most memorable golf hole on the course,
particularly in the late afternoon. Enjoying another gorgeous
South Florida sunset while challenging a spectacular lake and
wetland nearly overwhelms the senses.
Not just a favorite with golfers, this
is also the hole where eagle families come back every year to
teach their young to fish. #8 Marsh epitomizes the design vision
we had for Heron Creek.
#4 Creek, the 506 yards, par
5 is rated 2nd hardest hole of the Creek Nine at Heron Creek.
Placing your tee shot between the coquina shell bunker on the
right and the sand bunkers on the left will leave you in position
to have a go at this devilish little green in two.
The Creek Nine is the third nine at the
27-hole championship layout at Heron Creek Golf & Country
Club. Home to gopher tortoise and scrub jay, the Creek course
meanders through some of the developments most beautiful
and natural landscapes. One of the more noteworthy characteristics
of this nine is that very few homes can be seen from the fairways
The developer gave us enough land to properly
complete the design work. We routed the three nine-hole courses
through the community so that the homes never come into play.
In fact, there are many holes at Heron Creek that have no homes
on them whatsoever.
Perhaps the most unique of the three courses
at Heron Creek, the Creek Nine takes players on a journey through
a variety of natural adventures. For instance, as
you drive your golf cart between the 4th and 5th holes, there
is nearly a quarter mile of sandy cart path through a secluded
habitat of natural oak canopy. All of the members love that experience!
Pictured at right, on #9 Creek,
aim your tee shot just right of the monocle bunker near the pond
for the best angle into the green. A high left-to-right shot
is required on your 2nd shot to get it close and avoid the deceptively
deep sand pits on the right. The 9th Hole on the Creek Course
at Heron Creek is a great finishing hole.
#9 Creek, 414 Yards, Par 4
As the round comes to a close on the Creek Course, players drive
their golf carts over a large bridge that traverses Price Boulevard.
When they look ahead to the finishing hole from atop the bridge,
it's a gorgeous sight.
The ninth hole on the Creek Course is a
great finishing hole with no homes in sight! A tranquil lake
on the left off the tee is beautiful and is usually successfully
negotiated by most players. However, two pot bunkers in the right
rough can challenge those who are too cautious of the water off
Those who do challenge the water are rewarded
with a birdie opportunity following an open approach to the long
axis of the putting surface. This is an exciting and gorgeous
way to finish a great round and a great day at Heron Creek!
- Arthur Hills, 2016
Florida Golf Magazine Winter 2017©
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