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Alotian is Golf Digest's best new course.

Warren Stephens' private Alotian Club golf course near Little Rock is Golf Digest magazine's best new golf course of 2005, marking the first time an Arkansas course has won the honor.

The exclusive club was designed by Tom Fazio. It is a 7,470-yard par 72. It opened in 2004.

"This recognition by Golf Digest is a tribute to everyone involved with the Alotian Club from Tom Fazio and his staff, to the construction crew, and including club members and club employees," Stephens said. "I think it is great for the state of Arkansas to have two clubs in the top 10."

Also on the list: The Blessing Golf Club at Johnson, a private course created by Tyson Foods Inc. CEO John Tyson. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Bruce Charlton, the exclusive club is listed as a 7,530-yard par 72.

In an article about the rankings, Golf Digest compared and contrasted the course with on the of the nation's most legendary courses, Augusta National in Augusta, Ga.

"The Alotian does not imitate Augusta National so much as it celebrates it," the magazine says. "Yes, it has some extreme elevation changes, same as Augusta. From the back tee, the opening drive drops 70 feet to the fairway below, and the tee of the 205-yard sixth sits 85 feet above its green. The greens, with air-circulation systems beneath each, similar to the system first developed at Augusta, are big and rolling. Like Augusta, there are accents of azaleas and dogwoods behind some greens, and majestic pines line most holes, with beds of rust-colored pine needles beneath the tree lines. Stephens even brought in veteran Masters caddie Carl Jackson to organize his caddie program."

The magazine goes on to say that Alotian won not because of those subtle touches but "because of its incredible design."

"Nearly every green is visible from the tee, and for the few that aren't, bunkers clearly define and guard target areas that must be hit to see the green. In fact, this might be the most strategically-bunkered course by Tom Fazio in years. 'Absolutely,' Stephens says. 'I told Tom I didn't want a lot of decorative bunkers out there. I want our bunkers to mean something.'"
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Title Annotation:SPORTS BUSINESS
Comment:Alotian is Golf Digest's best new course.(SPORTS BUSINESS)
Author:Turner, Lance
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Dec 12, 2005
Words:371
Previous Article:Stephens launches its 1st equity mutual fund.
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