By Louie Avery
Amy Humphreys has the youth, energy and imagination to make Lakeside Country Golf Club a fantasy challenge for local and visiting golfers in Hot Springs.
Two years ago Amy became general manager at Lakeside. Her goal is to turn the nine-hole course at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains into the best of its kind in Arkansas.
“My great-grandfather (Herman Lee Wilson Sr.) on my mother’s side built this golf course in 1963,” said Amy. “He managed the course for quite some time. It’s been family owned ever since. My father (Tommy Humphreys) took over management about twelve years ago.
“The land is here, but there are no plans to make it eighteen holes. I think it’s charming as a nine-hole, and I want to put it on the map as the best nine-hole golf course in Arkansas.”
It seems few golfers gave Lakeside a second look until recently. When Amy took over two years ago, seniors could play nine holes with a cart for eleven dollars.
Lakeside prices go up with improvements
“There were out-of-towners making negative online comments because of our pricing,” added Amy. “They said we were so inexpensive they didn’t want to play here, fearing it was awful.”
The cost of playing at Lakeside has gradually gone up since Amy’s appearance as GM. After a recent raise individuals pay twenty dollars on weekdays to play nine holes with a cart, and thirty dollars for 18 holes. Weekends and holidays are a bit more.
Those funds are helping turn Lakeside into memorable adventures that won’t be forgotten soon.
“I had to change things when I took over, including prices,” said Amy. “My costs have gone up on sod, chemicals, herbicides, etc., etc.”
There’s three tee markers at each hole on a course measuring 2,756 yards from the back. Lakeside features three par-3s, four par-4s and two par-5s. Low handicappers can drive two of the par-4s, and both par-5s are reachable in two shots. A good player can score in the 60s easily if he can navigate the dog-legs and survive the challenging Bermuda greens.
Humphreys a hands-on leader at Lakeside
The fairways and greens look like green carpet right now, and the tee boxes have been sodded in spots for more playable conditions, and to improve the course’s appearance . Still, there’s water and sand around a layout that can challenge any golfer.
Amy currently has a staff of six employees, and is looking for outside help. She absolutely a hands-on person. She can be seen on the course several times each day, watering greens, or directing the mowing that’s always necessary.
Weekend players and high handicappers have just as much fun at Lakeside. It should go without saying that anyone who can hit a golf ball can go home boasting they chipped in for birdie, drove the 290-yard second hole, or eagled one of the short par-5s that measure 500 and 490 yards.
Lakeside also features a clubhouse that offers drinks, some food and accessories like caps and golf balls. The club also rents clubs if needed. There’s also a driving range to warm up on before making new memories.
“I like to think of this little golf course as a hidden jewel,” said Amy. “The location is sort of obscure, out of the way you might say. It’s just going to keep getting better.”