One of Arnold Palmer’s great signature designs in North Florida has opened full time to the public. Hidden Hills, located in the Arlington area of Jacksonville, between downtown and the beaches, opened in 1966 and was home to the Greater Jacksonville Open, the precurser to The Player’s Championship.
The once elite club has seen its membership dwindle, until owner Russ Libby, longtime North Florida PGA Section member, decided to open it entirely to public play this winter. The beautiful clubhouse will still serve as a place for weddings, meetings and private functions, but the pool and restaurants will close except the Hills Grill, where it will be open for lunch from 11am -3pm and longer for snacks and beverages. Friday nights there are dinner specials .
Memberships are totally gone but players can buy an annual pass to play golf for about $2950. The existing practice facility including a large driving range, putting surface, chipping and bunker areas are still there and PGA professionals on staff are offer lessons.
The course is still in good condition and probably has the most elevation changes of any golf course on the First Coast. The 6892 yard back tees challenged the greatest golfers with Gary Player and Tony Jacklin winning the GJO years ago. There are five sets of tees, so everyone can enjoy the scenic and hilly layout. With a 74.0/136 rating and slope, you know you are in for all you got. When you take to the course, you will notice an equal mix of ranges; one-third long holes, one-third medium length holes and one-third short holes.
Considered one of the most scenic holes, the par 4, 349 yard #8, is surrounded by pine and oak trees. The course does not shy away from making you use every club in the bag, so bring plenty and come prepared. Whether its nine or 18, walking or riding, Hidden Hills will lure you back for more challenges. There is still a taste of privacy while playing the luscious fairways and fast greens in this tranquil setting, so check it out for some great golf. Visit HiddenHillsCC.com to make a tee time and check rates. You won’t be disappointed.