Southern Hills “You Want It, You Got It”
By E. Nolan
I received emails a couple years ago from golfers who loved my nickname for this course—“Subtle Hills.” “You nailed the place,” one of them said. “Calling it a course you love that you could play every day…nailed it.” Kind of thought I had. “The place is so much fun,” another said. Yes, you’re right…it is. Now let ME tell the story.
While journalism is my job, I don’t necessarily say these things for the benefit of others. I say them because they are true. Southern Hills is neither long nor difficult. It’s just pure fun. The Par 71 course is only 6,314 yards from the tips. “We could have made it longer,” GM Nate Cardin says, “but why?” I laughed, but I couldn’t agree more. Why indeed? I don’t think they need to change anything about the operation of this course. But that doesn’t mean they won’t. I know for a fact that management here is constantly asking their guests what they want. And I know for a fact that management is constantly delivering on those requests. Case in point: This is the course with the front page on their website that screams, “$1.00 Beers & Bottomless Bloody Mary’s Every Sunday.” I mean…it’s what people want!
“What kind of golf do you like?” Nate asks me. “Well…” I begin to reply. “We’ve got you covered,” Nate jumps in. I truly appreciate his enthusiasm. I hope I would be the same way in his position. “Do you like to grip it and rip it?” he asks. I nod. “Do you like smooth, fast, flawless greens?” he asks. I don’t dare try to answer with words…just a nod. He smiles. “Do you like going somewhere you’ll always have a good time, where you and all your friends will always want to play and come back?” he asks. I don’t even nod this time. Kind of a rhetorical question. “We’ve got you covered,” Nate grins.
He’s not kidding. I stood on the first tee, music in the background, and saw a fairway even I couldn’t miss. This is so cool. “We don’t hit you over the head with anything,” Nate says. “We want everyone to feel welcome. Tell us what you liked and didn’t like. Talk…we’ll listen. You want it? We’ll try to get it. We take every profitable penny and reinvest it in what our customers want.”
If I didn’t see it firsthand walking around the clubhouse I would have taken it as “manager speak”…as someone trying to verbally impress, regardless of the truth. In actuality, the investments and reinvestments (based on guest requests, mind you) are evident everywhere. They have new golf carts, new merchandise (even the new Jordan golf shoes right now). They’ve brought in cigars, more beers on tap, pull tabs and amped up all their typical deals and amenities. ON the course, you can’t help but notice that the bunkers are like new, the fairways are wide, the greens are in fantastic shape, and the fringe and collar areas have been mowed down to be even more accommodating. They have rough, but the entire course, as much as they can make it, is playable “to a tee.” People asked. Southern Hills delivered.
This is a place I’d come to early in the morning. I’d jump on their full-length driving range, practice in their chipping and putting areas and play until sunset if I could. The Clubhouse Grill serves burgers, brats, hot dogs, sandwiches and other easy options. There’s a lounge area with a big screen TV and a full bar. You KNOW it would be the perfect place to bring golf groups for tournaments without Nate even telling you how quickly they book up.
This isn’t a place where they hide their specials, hoping you’ll pay full price. They WANT you to capitalize on their deals. Tuesday to Thursday (10AM to 2PM) you get 18 holes of Golf, Cart, Lunch and a Drink for $40. EVERY day is a “BOGO” day. Buy One Get One Greens Fees with the purchase of a cart after Noon. And then there are Golf & Ride Wednesdays where you can play 9 or 18 with a cart (anytime between 10AM and 3PM) for only $30. Seriously, what more could you want?
This gorgeous field of golf holes in Farmington has ponds and meandering streams. Plenty of drama. Plenty of intrigue. Email after email reminds me of their fast and well-conditioned greens. “Don’t get caught above the hole,” one says. “I love how everything is right there in front of you,” another adds. “Come as you are…come one and all.” I smile as I read that one. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Subtle Hills is in-your-face cool.