Golfers know that Florida is a beautiful state in which to enjoy hitting the links a majority of the year. As a player, whether you’re a resident of this great Sunshine State or a frequent visitor, you are invited to make New Smyrna Beach’s Hidden Lakes Golf Club your course of choice.

Originally constructed in 1978, the golf club was acquired in December by Eric and Angie Harrison. The Longwood couple wanted to add a golf course as one of their many successful Central Florida business ventures.

Said Robert Schwab, director of golf, “Eric has fond memories of working at a course as a kid and decided to purchase Hidden Lakes as sort of his ‘man cave.’

“The expert golfer will want to play the tips,” Schwab added. “This will provide some serious challenges, especially on the par-3s. They will be tempted to play aggressively, which will yield some low scores but sometimes this will lead to big numbers.”

Hidden Lakes offers the regular challenges of bunkers, lakes, streams and trees but the hole everyone remembers is #14.  Looking from the tee box, there is a lot more water than land.  However, if you hit a good tee shot on this short, risk-reward par 5 and the golfer stands a good chance at birdie.  From the white tees it’s a 170 carry to dry land.  The second shot requires a decision to go for it or lay up short of a narrow creek for the routine pitch and putt. Well struck shots will be rewarded and mishit shots may find the drink.

“Looking at the yardage on the scorecard, the golfers feel they have a chance for a good score for the day,” said Schwab. “To do so, [they] will need to keep the ball in play and strategically maneuver around the course.”

“There are a couple of definite birdie holes, but disaster lurks for the wayward shot. This mixture makes the course really fun to play.”

The course also comes recommended due to the lush and full grounds, as maintained by the course crew. Maintaining an expansive property like Hidden Lakes is a process that is always ongoing, but they are in relentless pursuit of as near-perfect a course as possible given the weather conditions.

The task of maintaining the greens is a tall one, with all the summer rain and heat, and a few of the cooler days. Superintendent Glenn Bush oversees the crew that makes it all happen. “[They have] a very important job; I can’t express how difficult it can be,” stressed Schwab.

“We are trying to get to the next level in our course condition and are committed to making improvements throughout the course and clubhouse. The course is a living entity that is exposed to the elements 24/7. These guys take a lot of pride in their work and the condition of the golf course.”

“It’s been very rewarding seeing results, but we know it’s a long journey,” Schwab said.

Bush and his core crew have tended to the grounds for more than ten years and are part of the nearly unchanging staff that was so attractive to the Harrisons when they purchased Hidden Lakes. “[They’ve] been a key to the success of the course over the years,” said Schwab, who has remained the director of golf for 11 years.

Schwab said a father and son chef duo (Arnold and Sam Schwegler) was recently hired on and that they will be adding staff to meet demands as the restaurant continues to grow.

As the staff continues to evolve, so do the features Hidden Lakes has to offer; this one in the form a new bar. To accomplish the build, walls were torn out, and a wrap-around granite bar was added. “It was the first thing that Eric wanted to do when he got here,” said Schwab. “He enjoys craft beer and saw the opportunity to offer something a little different.”

New large custom wood table tops round out the makeover of the space.

“We opened the kitchen in March with our inspiration being pub fare. Our burger is fantastic. Our fish and chips, and nachos get rave reviews. It’s been a great compliment to the bar.” 

“Now you can enjoy the view outside and watch one of several large-screen TVs while sipping on a delicious craft beer,” Schwab suggested.

With a banquet center suitable for up to 200 people, the facilities are ideal for business meetings and corporate outings, workshops/seminars, office holiday parties, or parties of any kind. The stunning surroundings of Hidden Lakes also make the club a popular destination for receptions and weddings.

And what would a golf course banquet center be without hosting charity tournament award luncheons? “We do a lot of charity tournaments at Hidden Lakes,” said Schwab. “Having a banquet room is a huge bonus as we can host the awards luncheon on-premises immediately following the tournament.”

“We like being involved in the community and have a lot of experience in hosting fundraising golf tournaments. Our experience and professionalism allow us to stay busy with charity tournaments that come back year after year.” 

The largest junior program in the NSB area, Hidden Lakes Junior Golf Academy is open to kids ages six through high school. During the summer and fall, the academy meets twice a week. “A typical session lasts an hour and 30 minutes and includes teaching the fundamentals while playing games. The whole key is keeping it fun while sneaking in the instruction.”

They also offer clinics every Saturday morning and do a variety of other group and individual lessons.

Sponsorships, tournament player entry fees, gift certificates and more can be found in the Hidden Lakes Golf Club online store. From now through October 31, there is a sale on the popular Sizzlin' Summer membership.

Schwab said the membership is great because it pays for itself in 10-12 rounds. “It is a real win-win for the players and us. It offers our loyal customers the ability to play golf inexpensively throughout the summer, and it keeps us busier during our slow season.”

Or, if you require instruction before investing in a membership, a special package deal of individual lessons (5 lessons for the price of 4) with Schwab is available online; not only is he the director of golf but also a third-generation PGA golf professional. He is one of two pros and an LPGA teaching professional at Hidden Lakes.

Just like the greens, their Facebook page is also well-maintained. Click like to follow articles, contests, and updates as well as occasional fun quips.

To book a tee time at Hidden Lakes Golf Course, which notates best value days, click here.

Cover photo courtesy of Hidden Lakes Golf Club