What's the catch?
Heritage Creek has a mere six holes open for play. That's not a typo, that's S-I-X holes. If that isn't unique, nothing is.
But don't let that unique fact scare you away from this Kelly Blake Moran design. The course features three regulation par fours, a par five and two par threes weaving through the Golf Club Estates at Heritage Creek.
Plans are for a complete 18 hole championship course to be completed, but for the time being only six holes are open for public play. The course is perfect for a quick "round" and the weekday price is right ---- $10 for six holes, $20 for 12 holes and for those who want to make three trips around the holes it's $30. Weekends are $6 more per six holes. Special rates are available for juniors and seniors.
"We've had a great turnout since opening in late March," said golf course superintendent Ryan Woodard, a Richboro native who attended Council Rock High School. Woodard worked previously at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club, Mainland and Bella Vista golf clubs layouts before becoming assistant superintendent at Lederach. His wife is a teacher-coach at Council Rock. Woodard pointed out that the holes were maturing last year, and the course saw limited play. This year the six holes are ready for a significant increase in play and course officials welcome the volume.
While at Lederach he worked with Heritage Creek PGA professional Ashley Hanscom, and the twosome were reunited at the Warwick layout. Hanscom is available for lessons.
"We offer some challenging holes at Heritage Creek, with four tee positions on each hole," explained Woodard. "The holes have a little bit of everything. There is a lot of challenge, and those who come here thinking it's a short course or a chip and putt course are totally mistaken."
Woodard is indeed correct. The course is no pushover. It offers regulation golf holes found on 18-hole courses, but there are only six of them open for play. A player can use every club in the bag when taking two trips around the compact layout.
Surveys of players indicated that the majority of visitors play the six holes twice. So management came up with the idea to have two flagsticks on each hole (see photo below), so a player can challenge the blue flags the first time around and the red the second time (or visa versa).
"Kelly Blake Moran worked into his design an assortment of large, undulating greens, so with the two flagstick approach the holes set up different each time you play," said the superintendent. "The course is well bunkered and offers numerous challenges."
The current makeup of holes has the player open on what will be the sixth hole on the course, an uphill par-4 of 365 yards. A good drive allows for a good look at the well placed green ahead. Next up is a nifty par-3 of 180 yards, again slightly uphill and well bunkered. Players will debate on proper club selection, as the elevation change combined with gentle breezes add to the mystery of distance.
Par-4 tests of 435 and 405 follow before a strong par-5 that stretches to 485 yards and required shots that evade a pond and mounds. The closing hole of the six hole rotation is a slightly downhill par-3 that can play anywhere from 110-to-180 yards.
The 8th, 9th and 10th holes are part of a contiguous fairway, a very unique design feature. That's not to say the holes are wide open, as there are trees on parts of the holes and a large mound and bunkering separates the 8th and 10th holes. Ponds come into play on the 9th and 10th holes.
Moran has a resume that includes Lederach (Lower Salford) and The Club at Morgan Hill (Easton) in Pennsylvania, as well as courses in New York, New Jersey and Florida as well as in Mexico (Tres Vidas, home of PGA Chrysler Cup), Argentina, Chile and Uraguay.
He's used that body of work as a backdrop for his etchings at Heritage Creek. While the course is only a third complete, the six holes that are playable are challenging for all levels of players.
"It's funny, but we have a wide array of customers, from players who play the six holes twice to those who visit at their lunch hour for a quick six holes," said Woodard. "It's not unusual to see a couple guys take off their ties, play six holes, then get back to work."
Heritage Creek is the first Bucks County public course open since Makefield Highlands and is a welcome addition. Don't be afraid of its having only six holes. First off, the price is right. But of more importance, it's fun, challenging, playable, quick to play and you will have a great score!
Rating: This course gets a B-, but only because it doesn't have at least nine holes according to the GBC Rating System.