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Hot Springs Village dominate readers poll.

FANS OF THE HOT SPRINGS Village golf experience, with prodding by the local weekly newspaper, the Hot Springs Village Voice, stepped up en masse to vote in Arkansas Business' annual reader poll of favorite golf courses.

The result: Hot Springs Village courses dominated the list, taking the first seven places and the 10th spot as well.

Chenal Country Club's two courses, the Founder's Course and Bear Den, were Nos. 8 and 9 in the final tally, which awarded 11 points for a first-choice vote, 10 points for a second-choice vote and so on.

More than 1,100 votes were tallied, with some obvious ballot-stuffing techniques tossed out. The Isabella course at Hot Springs Village topped all 95 courses named on the ballot with 7,476 total points, followed closely by Granada with 7,145. Even 10th-ranked DeSoto topped 2,000 points. Only one of Hot Springs Village's nine courses, Coronado, finished out of the top 10--and it fared a comparatively dismal 31st with 596 total points and only two first-choice votes.

Granada actually had the most first-choice votes of any course, 280, besting Isabella by 14.

All combined, the Hot Springs Village courses racked up 38,229 total points, while the two Chenal courses snagged 4,630. Those vote-getting powerhouses were followed by some other big names in Arkansas golf: Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock, the Arlington course at the Hot Springs Country Club and The Alotian Club, billionaire Warren Stephens' ultraprivate playground west of Little Rock.

Alotian, which opened in the fall of 2004, racked up 1,414 points, which seems both low and high--low because Golf Digest named Alotian the single best new golf course in the country for 2005 and high because it is unlikely that all 168 individuals who voted for it have played the course. Its standing at No. 13 overall and No. 4 in the central region of Arkansas undoubtedly owes as much to reputation as actual experience.

Only Granada and Isabella got more first-choice votes than Alotian.

Chenal and Pleasant Valley are perennial favorites in the reader poll even though they are private clubs because they frequently host charity events that give large numbers of nonmembers the chance to get to know the courses.

The only other course to get at least 1,000 points was Country Club of Little Rock with 1,183. A ranking of courses with the Hot Springs Village and Chenal courses combined into single entries shows the geographic breadth of the readers' choices: the top 15 includes courses from Rogers (Pinnacle Country Club) to Drasco (Tannenbaum) to Pine Bluff (Harbor Oaks).

The top vote-getter in the Ozarks region that includes northwest and north-central Arkansas was Mountain Ranch Golf Club at Fairfield Bay. The River Valley region in western Arkansas was topped by Hardscrabble, while the most popular with readers in the Delta region of eastern Arkansas was Sage Meadows Golf Club at Jonesboro.

GWEN MORITZ

gmoritz@abpg.com
Top Vote-Getters by Region

Central

1 Chenal Country Club-Founders Course, Little Rock
2 Chenal Country Club-Bear Den Course, Little Rock
3 Pleasant Valley Country Club, Little Rock
4 The Alotian Club, Little Rock
5 Country Club of Little Rock

Delta

1 Sage Meadows Golf Club, Jonesboro
2 Thunder Bayou, Blytheville
3 Ridgepointe Country Club, Jonesboro
4 Jonesboro Country Club
5 Blytheville Country Club

Ozarks

1 Mountain Ranch Golf Club, Fairfield Bay
2 Big Creek Golf Club, Mountain Home
3 Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers
4 Tannenbaum Golf Club, Drasco
5 Stonebridge Meadows, Fayetteville

Ouachita

1 Isabella, Hot Springs Village
2 Granada, Hot Springs Village
3 Ponce de Leon, Hot Springs Village
4 Diamante Country Club, Hot Springs Village
5 Magellan, Hot Springs Village

River Valley

1 Hardscrabble Country Club, Fort Smith
2 Chamberlyne Country Club, Danville
3 Fianna Hills Country Club, Fort Smith
4 Ben Geren Golf Club, Fort Smith
5 Bay Ridge Golf Club, Dardanelle

Timberlands

1 Harbor Oaks Golf Club, Pine Bluff
2 Texarkana Country Club
3 Pine Bluff Country Club
4 Rosswood Country Club, Pine Bluff
5 El Dorado Country Club

Hot Springs Village Courses

By Reader Preference

 Course Points

1 Isabella 7,476
2 Granada 7,145
3 Ponce de Leon 5,478
4 Diamante Country Club 4,751
5 Magellan 4,354
6 Balboa 3,732
7 Cortez 2,649
8 DeSoto 2,048
9 Coronado 596

Readers Choice

 Course Points

1 Hot Springs Village courses * 38,229
2 Chenal Country Club, Little Rock * 4,630
3 Pleasant Valley Country Club,
 Little Rock 1,918
4 Hot Springs Country Club-Arlington 1,587
5 The Alotian Club, Little Rock 1,414
6 Country Club of Little Rock 1,183
7 Greystone-Cypress Creek, Cabot 994
8 Mountain Ranch Golf Club,
 Fairfield Bay 976
9 Harbor Oaks Golf Club, Pine Bluff 891
10 Glenwood Country Club 889
11 Big Creek Golf Club, Mountain Home 847
12 Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers 811
13 Belvedere Country Club, Hot Springs 755
13 Tannenbaum Golf Club, Drasco 755
15 Hardscrabble Country Club, Fort Smith 752

* Hot Springs Village and Chenal Courses Combined

Most First-Choice Votes

 Course Votes

1 Hot Springs Village-Granada 280
2 Hot Springs Village-Isabella 266
3 The Alotian Club, Little Rock 71
4 Hot Springs Village-Ponce de Leon 69
5 Diamante Country Club,
 Hot Springs Village 54
6 Pleasant Valley Country Club,
 Little Rock 30
7 Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers 27
7 Indian Hills Country Club, Fairfield Bay 27
9 Chenal Country Club-Bear Den,
 Little Rock 21
9 Country Club of Arkansas, Maumelle 21
11 Harbor Oaks Golf Club, Pine Bluff 19
12 Big Creek Golf Club, Mountain Home 17
13 Chenal Country Club-Founders Course 16
14 Course at Eagle Mountain, Batesville 15
14 Belvedere Country Club, Hot Springs 15
16 Hot Springs Village-Balboa 11
17 Fianna Hills Country Club, Fort Smith 10
17 Hot Springs Village-Magellan 10
19 Maumelle Country Club 9
19 Cooper's Hawk Golf Course, Melbourne 9
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Golf Guide
Author:Moritz, Gwen
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Mar 27, 2006
Words:981
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