Teeing it up

Trimble County’s Cardinal Hills
is area’s ‘best-kept secret’

By Libby Richards
Staff Writer

BEDFORD, Ky. (July 1999) – The Stark family’s Cardinal Hills Golf Course, located on Stark Lane just outside Bedford, Ky., on highway 421, is situated on 104 rolling acres of picturesque hillsides.

Cardinal Hills Golfers

Photo by Libby Richards

Local golfers already know what
others are finding out: Cardinal Hills
Golf Course is a great deal for the price.

Built in 1967, the par-70 course measures 5,614 yards in length and has 55 golf carts. It is open from 7:30 a.m. until dark seven days a week and offers moderately priced greens fees and a clubhouse stocked with snacks, drinks and a pro shop.
The course is owned and operated by the entire Stark family, who live around the perimeter of the course on the remaining 146 acres of the original family farm. Parents Jerry and Sharon, along with sons John, Stephen, Jarrod and their wives and grandson’s, drive to work every morning in their golf carts.
Maintaining the 18-hole course is a full-time job for all, putting in 14- to 16-hour days. Despite the long hours, it is a job they love.
“Mom is the backbone of the whole thing,” said son Stephen. “She keeps it all together, financially and organizationally. We all have ideas, and we go to her and she works them out. She’s one of the hardest working women I know.”

Cardinal Hills Golf Course

• 335 Stark Lane, Bedford, Ky.
• 18-hole par-70 course.
• 18 holes with cart $20 on weekdays; $22 on weekends.
• (502) 255-7770
• Owners: Jerry and Sharon Stark & Family

For both Sharon Stark and daughter-in-law, Kim, it’s not unusual to spend the entire day using a weed eater or mowing the grounds and picking up rocks and trash.
For some of the Stark grandchildren, the course has provided benefits other than a labor of love. Grandson Scotty is attending Northern Kentucky University on a golf scholarship. His younger brother, Michael, a senior at Trimble County High School next year, is already receiving calls from several university recruiters. Both have played on the high school golf teams since the sixth grade. Grandsons Christopher and Jonathan Marlin, ages 9 and 6, won their age divisions at the Orchard Golf Center in their hometown of Greenwood, Ind.
Originally only nine holes, the course was designed by Harold England, who owned Wheatley Golf Course. In 1988, the family sold it on contract but had to take it back in 1994. In 1996, Jerry Stark designed the new back nine, which Stephen built.
“It took about a year to build, but it takes about five years for one to mature,” Stephen said.
Since then, the course has been receiving rave reviews from its players.
“When the Starks took it back over, it really improved,” said regular golfer Farrill Davis. “The course is getting better every year. It’s a fine course and challenging even for good golfers.”
The beauty of the course is that it is set up for types golfers of all skill levels. It’s not too long or too short, so it’s the perfect size for tournaments. Many events are held there every year including the Relay For Life, the Tri-County Senior Citizens Benefit and the Louisville UPS tournament. Stewart Mechanical from Louisville and Dayton Walther Casting Center of Carrollton also have tournaments there.
Upcoming tournaments are scheduled for July 3 and July 31.
Despite all of the activity, Cardinal Hills seems to be Trimble County’s best-kept secret. “We’ve had a lot of guys from Louisville who hadn’t even heard of the course,” Stephen said. “They love it because it’s not busy during the week and you don’t have to reserve tee times.”

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