Dawn Darter, golf professional at The Greens at North Hills, pronounced the club’s recent inaugural Sherwood Amateur a success.
Nick Zimmerman of North Little Rock, who grew up playing at North Hills, took the title by three strokes over Stafford Gray of Lonoke. Zimmerman fired 65-74—139, five under par, and his will be the first name engraved on the Jim Murphy Cup.
The late Murphy, who won multiple club championships and other tournaments at North Hills, died in February 2016.
“Early on, he was probably as good a player as has ever come out of North Hills,” Darter said. “Everybody knew him; he was just a fixture. Before he passed away, he gave my husband a silver cup he had won in a tournament one time, and we’re going to put the winner’s name on it every year. We’ll keep it on the property.”
Zimmerman’s win was a popular one with the locals.
“You can’t get a finer representative of the club to win our first tournament,” Darter said. “I really wanted the first tournament to be won by somebody who understands the importance of the property and what it means.”
Darter, 58, also grew up playing at North Hills under her maiden name, Dawn Barlow. She returned to the city of Sherwood-owned property from Wildhorse Golf Club in Nevada in 2010.
“That was owned by the city of Henderson,” she said of her previous course.
She said she had been wanting to have an individual Arkansas State Golf Association-designated tournament at the course for several years.
“I wanted a tournament that meant something to this city, to highlight our intent to bring family things and quality players to the city of Sherwood,” she said. “Our parks and rec department goes above and beyond; the city has great facilities at the residents’ disposal — golf course, ball fields, things that make this little bedroom town a destination to bring your family. That’s what it’s all about.”
Contrary to other courses with similar names, The Greens at North Hills is not affiliated with the Lindsey Company. Darter said many people also think the course is still private.
“It’s an amenity to anybody and everybody,” she said. “Everything’s open to the public. We’ve made improvements to the driving range; we’ve put practice areas in.”
North Little Rock and Sylvan Hills high school teams count North Hills as their home course.
Darter’s return was a homecoming in more ways than one.
“What was nice is that the course was in my backyard,” she said. “My mother and sister still live on the golf course. It was a labor of love coming in; I just wanted everybody to have the same opportunity I had growing up. People are losing that nowadays. It’s nice that you are able to give back to the same property that gave you so much.”
Two tournaments remain on the ASGA’s amateur schedule this summer: the RidgePointe Men’s Stroke Play at RidgePointe Country Club in Jonesboro this weekend and the U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying at Paradise Valley in Fayetteville on Aug. 28.