I didn’t know what to expect. I had never played a First Tee golf course. Is it only for kids? If it is open to everyone, does it offer diverse lengths of holes? Is it challenging for the better golfer? After speaking with Brant, the head professional, and playing the course, this is what I learned about Red Hawk Golf & Learning Center and The First Tee – Quad Cities.
No – I didn’t even see any kids. Of course, it was a weekday in April and many of them were sitting at their desks wishing they were golfing with me. Yes – This par 33 course ranges from 133 yards to 350 yards. The First Tee yardage is 93 yards to 291 yards with a par of 36.
Hole #1 starts with a 175 yard (100 yard First Tee) par 3 with a busy road to the right. This should not be an issue with an iron in your hands. I like the design of the green. It is large, easy to hit, but very undulating so not easy to putt. As you stand at the tee box pondering which club to pull, don’t be distracted by the orange flags. This facility also features a Footgolf course.
Another road skirts the right of Hole #2. If you tend to slice, I would recommend aiming well left at this straight, drivable par 4. Another large green here but it can be very tricky. If the hole is cut in the front, any shot that is short will roll back off the green; if the pin is back, it will roll into a hidden pond behind the green – interesting hole. The theme continues at Hole #3 with the road to the right; drivable par 4; large green; but added is some water to the left.
The road disappears on the fourth hole but water will continue to be an issue at the front left of the green. If you go long to avoid the front pond, your ball may find water behind the green. Today the geese that were frolicking on the green provided a few more challenges. With the setting sun behind me, I had a difficult time discerning where the green was located at Hole #5. It is a dogleg left and the green is blocked from view by two large trees. If you see the short orange footgolf flag, the green is to the left – sweet par four.
At Hole #6 your drive should find this ample fairway, but your second will have to elude the hills and trees around the green. Not to mention another problematic putting surface! Hole #7 is the first par 3 (176/100 yards) since the first hole. The tee shot needs to carry the pond which might cause an issue for the high-handicapper but is an easy hole for the more experienced player.
Hole #8 is a par 4 of 350/291 yards with a pond to the left that shouldn’t come into play but you never know. There is a slight dogleg left with the pond and four large trees that will make you think twice about cutting the corner too close. An easy par 3 of 133/93 will conclude your round.
Birdie: The First Tee facility will be a good test and learning center for any high-handicap golfer. The fairways and greens were in excellent shape; the course is fairly wide-open with trees that “should” just add ambience to the course; and those greens will offer a challenge to even the better golfer. Besides the Footgolf course, Red Hawk GC offers a lighted 20 bay driving range and lighted putting and chipping areas. If you are driving along I-80 and need a break, stop in and visit Brant and tell him you were sent by Always Time for 9.
Need another break? Been on I-80 for a long time and are close to the IL/IA border? Kids fighting and screaming? No time for golf today? How about a stop at the World’s Largest Truckstop – I-80! I don’t know if you can order the World’s Best Cup of Coffee but you can visit the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.
6364 Northwest Blvd., Davenport, IA 52806; 563-386-0348; www.cityofdavenport.com