Hawktree Golf Club - Bismarck, ND (Jim Engh)
HAWKTREE GOLF CLUB
3400 Burnt Creek
Par – 72
EQ – 7/12
Diff. – 7/12
Design – Five and ½ stars
Natural Setting – Five and ½ stars
Conditioning – Six stars
Cost - $60 peak, $50 twilight and replay+ cart $15 per person
Value – Six stars
Overall – Five and ½ stars
Falcon 7085 75.2 137
Hawk 6444 72.1 130
Eagle 5640 74.0 125
Owl 4868 69.7 116
When I told one
He still didn’t believe me.
Too few people have taken advantage of all the wonders
“North Dakota really just East Montana,
“Area Nimrod actually bragging about going to
“Wife concusses husband with nine-wood for suggesting
All right I better quit the
Hawktree Golf Club in
The course is unmistakably Engh and, therefore, looks nothing like either Bully Pulpit or Links of North Dakota. Instead it’s Engh’s now familiar sidewalled fairways, bowl-shaped green settings (both of which give player-friendly bounces and help keep play moving) and squiggle-shaped muscle bunkers, this time filled with black slag, a burned coal by-product instead of sand.
As usual, Engh had to move a goodly amount of earth to accomplish his now trademark look and feel, in the range of 300-400,000 cubic yards. Engh is not a minimalist and his trademark rounded contours will never be mistaken for “natural,” but so what. He derives the basic themes for his holes from strategies and designs he imported from
Engh has some other recurring themes in his work regarding routing that are present at Hawktree, as well as almost every other Engh course. He loves ending on a par-5 to increase the potential 18th hole swings in fortune and he loves giving players five par-5s and five par-3s in a round. As usual, the par-5s at Hawktree are all showstoppers. The fifth looks right out of Sanctuary with it’s squiggly fairway contours and severe uphill approach which tapers as you near the green. Seven features another Engh staple of the design repertoire, an expansive water hazard at the green ringed by a sunburst shaped bunker to “save” balls so they don’t bounce in the water. Engh has used this hazard successfully at Redlands Mesa (13) and Sanctuary (13) as well. At the closing hole, Engh tucks the green behind left sidewall mound. Approached from the left are blind and uphill, approaches from the far right will be clear.
Except for 3, you don’t get any break on the par-3s. Two are particularly long and all carry over scrub brush (the 8th, 180 yds. and 13th 208 yds.), another is all carry over water (the 15th, 150). Only the drop shot third, which plays to a green framed by four trees with an expansive view of the hills beyond provides a breather. Otherwise, the par-3s are “survive and advance.”
After the fifth, the long par-4 12th is the best hole on the course. 430 yards long, the downhill drive will reach one of several staggered landing areas. The hole then bends gently to the left and reveals a figure-eight green set on the edge of the hill over looking the vale of most of the rest of the back nine, and with the Northn Dakota hills beyond. It’s a singularly beautiful hole that requires your best drive and crispest fairway-metal or long iron to reach on regulation; a stout par-4, yet a charming one as well.
Engh gives you plenty of room off the tee to hit driver all day. The only exception might be the short, narrow par-4 16th. A fairway-metal or long iron will be played to an island of fairway between to brooks. A short-iron approach will be all that is left to a green set above a deep water-filled chasm.
As Engh’s work has progressed, his routings and individual hole designs have become even stronger. Hawrktree is primordial Engh. The greens are a little more flat than his later work and are not as varied in shape. Indeed, his greens are the flattest of
Hawktree compares favorably to the other area courses. While it as not as strong 1-18 as Engh’s later work at Lakota (which enjoys an even stronger natural setting and more of Jim’s “Scottish flavor” holes) or Fossil Trace (Engh’s U.S. rejoinder to Eddie Hackett’s “Miracle at Connemara” – both of them managed to build a terrific public course on a tough plot of land on a shape string budget), it needs to be played if you’re in North Dakota.
Who knows? If all else fails, I could sell this story to The Onion. It’s right up their alley – “Lunkhead Golf Writer actually recommends