There aren’t many – if any – who are more familiar with nine-hole golf courses across the United States than Scott Springfield. Upon retiring in 2013, Springfield, who resides in Colorado, decided to spend his time touring the country's nine-holes of golf at a time. In that time, he has played over 140 nine-hole courses across 34 states.
Last month he was able to check off Cottage Grove’s Hidden Valley Golf Course from his list giving the course that has been around since 1929 an “Ace” rating accompanied by a rave review for his blog Always Time for 9.
“This course is exactly why I visit and write reviews about 9-hole golf courses,” Springfield wrote in his post. “Good Courses – Good People!”
In addition to the pleasant people he met, Springfield was impressed with the layout of the course, how the holes are designed and the overall atmosphere of the round of golf.
“Certain courses, like this particular course, I talk about the ambiance. What’s the atmosphere around the course? I had a fun time. And I just happened to run into the men’s club out there and like I said in the article, they were a bunch of characters,” said Springfield in a phone interview.
For 16-year Hidden Valley owner Dan Nord, it was a pleasant surprise to see what was written about his course.
“When I saw the write-up, I was thrilled,” he said. He continued, “people like Scott really help us because we may not have many players on a day like today but to see that review makes it all the more worthwhile to do what we do and bring a good experience for the people who do have time to play our course.”
Springfield began this pursuit of nine-hole golf courses around the country with an insistent push from his former boss. The now 68-year-old was often asked what he wanted to be when he grew up and so he looked to follow his passion of travel and golf which turned into a blog rating golf courses from “Double Bogey” to “Ace.”
“I got tired reading in Golf Magazine or Golf Digest about all these courses that most people really couldn’t play. Now either they didn’t have the time or the money to fly or to play places like Pebble Beach. So, I started looking at nine hole courses,” he said. “I’m, you know, a senior citizen basically and as we get older the guys I play with and help me out, we don’t really want to play 18 anymore so we end up playing nine.”
This pursuit has taken him from Maine to Florida to Washington and seemingly everywhere in between sans a stretch of southern states. Along the way he has experienced a range of memorable courses including a stop in Wyoming that had sand instead of greens and was on an oil-field that included a working pumpjack, a machine that extracts oil from the ground, stationed on the sixth hole.
But for Springfield it’s not about the cream of the crop courses but it is looking up a new course online, being able to play a two-hour round of golf and getting to explore the surrounding area.
“It’s a community effort in towns like Cottage Grove to keep something like that going and having people have fun with it,” said Springfield.