Golf Digest magazine has named two state park golf courses, Hidden Cove at Grayson Lake State Park, and the Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park course, among the nation’s best new affordable public courses. Hidden Cove ranked fourth, and Dale Hollow Lake sixth. Both courses opened in 2003.
“We couldn’t be more delighted by this news,” said Parks Commissioner George Ward. “This honor confirms our belief that our Signature Series courses offer outstanding play comparable to any state golf trail in the country.”
The Signature Series comprises the two ranked courses, two other new courses – Eagle Ridge at Yatesville Lake and Mineral Mound State Park -- along with Kentucky Dam Village SRP and Wasioto Winds at Pine Mountain SRP. The Pine Mountain course received the same honor from Golf Digest in 2003.
A spokesman for Golf Digest told the Associated Press he could think of no other instance in which a state had as many as two courses ranked in the same year.
The rankings will appear in the January 2005 issue of the magazine, the world’s largest golf publication.
Andrew Catcher, director of corporate communications, said the rankings result from scoring by a panel of more than 800 volunteer golfers nationwide. A course is rated on shot value, design variety, memorability, resistance to scoring, and aesthetics.
Dan Strohmeier, the park system’s director of golf, said the new rankings will be a marketing boon. The department will aggressively promote the Signature Series and the new rankings at a series of eight golf shows scheduled this winter in key Northern cities like Detroit and Milwaukee.
Golf is a lucrative source of revenue for the Department of Parks, noted Commissioner Ward. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, revenues for all golf operations exceeded expenses by $227,000, even with some newer courses having limited schedules in their first year. The department operates 13 18-hole and nine 9-hole courses.
“Recognition like this can only drive more business,” Ward said. “We’ve been handed a great opportunity, and we plan to take advantage of it.”
One strategy is a new “Tee’s and Zee’s” package that creates all-inclusive golf vacations with accommodations, meals, a welcoming gift, and golf with preferred tee times, Ward said.
More information on the Signature Series is available online at http://parks.ky.gov/Signature_series.htm