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Hidden Oaks: Something Old Something New
By Art McCafferty

Course architect, Jerry Matthews, owner Ed Dangler and Denny Spencer of Natural Course Design froze at the pose of this shot during the Grand Opening.

Hidden Oaks, the something old and something new 18-hole tract in St. Louis has it share of stories as it enters its fourth decade. In the early 70's W. Bruce Matthews, with help from his son, Jerry built the original nine hole course, then known as Edgewood Hills. W.Bruce Matthews, now 95 years old, did a lot of his solo work in the 50's before his son began to share the architectural marquee in the 60's.

Now almost 30 years later, Jerry Matthews and his team have returned to complete the job for new owners, Pam and Ed Dangler. The return invoked many memories for Jerry Matthews, whose family has built or renovated upwards of 150 courses in the state. The current plan, is to get the new nine safely on board and generating a much needed cash flow and then bring the old nine up to speed. "Frankly, the original routing has held up quite well on the course we did in the 70's. We would upgrade the irrigation on the old nine, put in some bunkers and add some berms and then it should match up quite well," said Matthews.

The new nine at Hidden Oaks was one of Jerry's biggest challenges. "I did 15 different layouts of the course, more than I have ever done for a property. Basically, we had 265 acres to work from, but half of them were wetlands." Matthews had to rely heavily on wetland consultant, Blair Webster, for guidance with the wetlands.

Golfers will find a course playing to 6600 yards, the original nine being generally more open and the new nine fairly tight. They have a nice clubhouse and a practice range. Ed and Pam Dangler has been the proud owner of Hidden Oaks since 1995. They were somewhat inspired by their friends, Mike and Linda Rogers, who built Juday Creek, a fine Indiana course, about 10 years ago.

Hidden Oaks is located East of the M-46 and US 27 intersection, just look for their sign. Give Pam or Ed a call at 517-681-3404.

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