Fox Hollow Golf Club: Where Golfers Try To Fulfill Their Dreams

By Jay Mankus, Contributor

New Port Richey, FL - Since 1994, Fox Hollow Golf Club of New Port Richey, Florida has become an instant hit for amateurs and professionals along the Florida gulf coast. This Robert Trent Jones design under the leadership of architect Roger Rulewich can play as short as 4454 yards or as long as 7136 from the tips on this par 71 layout. By designing 6 sets of tees for every hole, Fox Hollow can be kind to beginners and challenging for any scratch golfer.

In the spring of 1995, Fox Hollow received its first national exposure by hosting the first ever Titleist Golf Weekend. Over 3000 Florida residents were treated to lessons in putting, sand play, pitching, chipping and the full swing during a weekend in April.

Titleist Golf saw what many golfers see today, Fox Hollow Golf Club has a first class practice facility. An oblong putting green, over 25 yards long with 2 levels allow a large crowd of golfers to putt at the same time.
Meanwhile, the practice green includes 2 steep sand bunkers, a 50 yard pitching fairway and a chipping area behind this elevated green. Finally, the multi-level practice tee provides ample space for golfers during outings, tournaments or national qualifying events.

Beside this golf weekend sponsored by Titleist, Fox Hollow has also hosted the USGA Publix Qualifier for amateurs as well as Monday qualifying for the Senior PGA Tour’s GTE Suncoast Classic, now the Verizon Classic.

Currently, Fox Hollow hosts the Georgia Pacific Super Senior Pro-Am, formally known as the MasterCard Grand Masters, for the Verizon Classic held at the TPC of Tampa Bay.

In addition, the PGA tour will hold its Monday qualifying at Fox Hollow for its new tour event at nearby Innisbrook Resort on the Copperhead Course. These are just a few examples of how Fox Hollow Golf Club has become a place where golfers try to fulfill their dreams.

Over its 7 year history, Fox Hollow has also been embraced by mini tour players from the Tommy Armour and Moonlight tours. Initially, Fox Hollow offered monthly range passes for $100 to help golfers with low budgets. Today, Fox Hollow offers relatively inexpensive club and range memberships for Florida residents and non-residents. In fact, one of my playing partners was a member of Fox Hollow and plays on the Moonlight Tour.

Fox Hollow Golf Club also attracts professional baseball players during spring training along with athletes from the local Tampa Bay sport franchises. Current Yankee stars Andy Petitte and Roger Clemens as well as Tampa Bay Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber have been scene playing on this relatively open course.

With Fox Hollow’s popularity among professional athletes growing each season, its no wonder that the Tampa Tribute has called Fox Hollow one of the top 3 public golf courses in the bay area. Like many Robert Trent Jones designs, Fox Hollow has scenic vistas from each tee. Elevated tees, greens and sand bunkers carved into hillsides magnify the definition of this well maintained facility.

Fox Hollow is what I call a liberal links style golf course. As the front nine meanders through Trinity Community of New Port Richey, open sections of this layout generate enough wind like a links course.

Unfortunately, as more lots are sold along the fairways of Fox Hollow, this golf course is losing some of its aesthetic appeal. However, 8 waterways, 2 large forest groves and several exotic shaped sand bunkers draw your attention away from these new homes and toward Fox Hollow’s beauty.

One problem that Fox Hollow Golf Club can not control is the weather. The ongoing drought in the state of Florida has taken its toll on one of these 8 water hazards.

The lake between the 522 yard par 5 4th and the signature 194 yard par 3 5th hole is almost completely dry. Once an intimidating hazard for both holes, this lake is now nothing more than an arid wetland with tall native grasses. Since other waterways throughout the course appear to be near or at normal water levels, it is likely that this lake was used to water homes within the golf course community.

Beyond these minor imperfections is a golf course tailor made for the John Daly’s of the world. If you like to grip it and rip it off the tee, then you will love Fox Hollow Golf Club. Beside generous fairways, huge greens provide players with a big target to hit. Getting the ball into the hole on these slippery undulating greens is another story.

Except for 2 tight holes on the front nine, Fox Hollow has landing areas which average about 30 yards wide per fairway. Several of these holes also have plenty of room to bail out in the rough. Although, if you are a little wild off the tee, you will likely find one of 50 sand bunkers at Fox Hollow.

These sand hazards are often elevated, tilted at an angle and delicately molded out of mounds to form fancy shapes which are pleasant to look at, but not as much fun to play from. Since only 3 of 14 holes do not have fairway bunkers, not counting the 4 par 3’s, players might prefer hitting irons off some tees to avoid these hazards.

When you look at Fox Hollow’s scorecard, one thing jumps out immediately, the difference in yardage between the front and back nines. Beside 2 narrow holes, 3 & 6, the front nine is nearly 350 yards shorter at 3398.

While this does not necessarily calculate into being the easily nine since par is 35 on the front, you have to consider the back nine’s length, 3740 yards from the tips.

Even on this relatively open side, tour professionals will have a hard time breaking 36, par on this nine. Three par 4’s are over 459 yards, both par 5’s are over 550 and one par 3 is well over 200 yards. The final 4 holes have water in play off the tee, the 15th & 16th greens are surrounded by water on 3 sides and the 18th hole has a long carry over water. In windy conditions, most scratch golfers would consider 80 a great score!

My advice for visitors who like challenges without torturing your ego is to play the front nine from the tips at 3398, then move to the blue tees for the back nine. Although the blue tees are considered the 4th easiest tee at Fox Hollow, 3358 yards is plenty long for the average golfer.

After a round, golfers will either brag or drown their sorrows at Windows on the Green, Fox Hollow’s restaurant overlooking the 18th green. Whatever your preference, the restaurant staff has a full menu all day long to satisfy your needs!

As the weather warms up in the northeast, you might want to consider visiting 2 other facilities owned by Fox Hollow in New England. One course is near completion in Connecticut while the other facility is located in Bernardston, Massachusetts, 90 miles west of Boston. This town is home to Crumpin-Fox Club, another Robert Trent Jones Design.

Crumpin-Fox has been rated the #1 public golf facility in Massachusetts by Golf Week and Golf Digest. Meanwhile, in 1996 Golf Magazine ranked Crumpin-Fox the 57th best public course in America. Wherever you live, if a golf course has fox in its name, its probably good!

Jay Mankus, Contributor

A former golf standout at Concord High School in Wilmington, Del., Jay Mankus graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Recreation & Parks Administration. Before graduating, Jay spent time as an intern at a golf club in the east suburbs of Cleveland specializing in golf course maintenance and design.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Challenging Course - Rude Staff!

    Mr. G wrote on: Sep 5, 2009

    This course never disappoints. Very challenging. On the other hand, the staff (specially at the pro shop) always disappoints - rude and unfriendly. Makes one wonder why the management will hire such people. If not for that, we will always play this course.