Those who hit the links at Springwood Golf Club are in store for some new challenges.
A pair of holes, first created years ago but unveiled for public play for the first time Monday, were developed to accommodate the forthcoming Bridgewater subdivision’s first phase.
Springwood leases the land which currently comprises the course from Keystone Custom Homes, and the course had long known that development was a possibility. In fact, course officials had the new holes built years before as a preemptive measure
However, various delays kept the subdivision project from moving forward until recently. York Township approved the plans for Bridgewater's first phase at its March township meeting.
With groundbreaking expected to begin this year, the time was right to unveil the replacement holes.
Hole 5: The Springwood track follows its current layout through the first four holes before passing what used to be the tee box for the former fifth hole, which was a long par-4 dogleg to the right. From there, golfers take a new path to an area in the northeast corner of the course where a beaten path winds its way through signs of work ahead.
Once at the set of tee boxes for the fifth hole, golfers instantly see their main obstacle — a narrow fairway guarded by a sharp tree-lined slope on the right side. The course’s familiar rolling hills and a pair of well-placed bunkers protect the left side of the fairway. The new fifth measures 325 yards from the white tees and 345 from the blue set. The approach to the par 4 is to a long, slender green that allows very little room for a miss long or right.
Hole 6: The next hole, also new, is a challenging, lengthy par 3 that snaps to the right and tucks its green inside a wooded area that shields the right half of the hole. It measures 187 yards from the white tees and 207 from the blue. The green sits at a lower elevation compared to the tee boxes and is guarded by a sizable bunker on the front-right side. There is no room to miss right or long, since the hole slopes sharply into the woods with little buffer before that slide.
Making things a little more difficult, from the white, blue and black tee boxes, is that there’s an obstructed view of the green. Because the green is tucked, a blind, lofted shot will be required once the trees are in full bloom. Braver players will have to drop a shot over the trees and green-side bunker, while the more skilled player will look to fade a mid to long iron along the contour of the hole.
Those playing from the gold and red boxes start from an angle that gives a much better line of sight.
Early reaction: A dreary, cooler day Monday gave way to fewer golfers getting their first glimpse of the new holes.
However, member Fred Feroli was among those who got a good look at the latest additions.
Feroli, 65 of Red Lion, thought that the new layout did a good job of maintaining the flavor of the rest of the course. He seemed pleased that the holes weren’t hastily added, showing no sign of rushing the process.
As for his assessment of how the holes played, Feroli said: “You have to be in the short grass for sure. The par 3 is reachable hole, but very risk-reward," he said. “You’re going to either drop it short or go for the green. If you’re long it’s not so good, short or right not so good. Not a lot of places to miss.”
Matt DeRose, president of Heritage Hills which also manages Springwood, predicts future phases might one day cause the course to merge into one 27-hole facility with Heritage Hills. One day, it might even force the two to combine and become one 18-hole layout that begins and ends at the current Heritage clubhouse.
“Of course, the pace of this plan is driven by home sales and 36 holes will remain as long as possible,” DeRose said. “At a minimum, 36 holes will remain through Bridgewater Phase 1 and possibly through Phase 2. It is expected that the new (Springwood) layout with the three new holes will exist for approximately five years.”
Under the new layout, the old par-4 fifth hole is now the seventh hole and the old par-4 sixth hole is now the eighth hole.
As of now, the ninth hole will be the old par-5 seventh hole. However, the changes this year won’t stop with the new pair of holes. Once groundbreaking begins for the subdivision, the ninth hole will also be altered.
Currently, it plays to its original design. After the groundbreaking, the tee boxes will stay, but instead of being a downhill, dogleg right par-5, it will soon bend to the left at about the same spot it now starts to slope downhill and move right. It will remain a par 5.
The old par-3 eighth and par-4 ninth holes are no longer part of the course design. The back nine is unchanged.
For those who aren’t fans of the game, but enjoy dining at the on-site restaurant Bogey Macaw’s, fear not. No changes are planned and it will remain in operation, unaffected by the development. In fact, DeRose said that “enhancements and improvements are planned in the near future.”
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.