Situated in the heart of the southeast, Tennessee showcases some of the most storied courses in the region. The Volunteer State also boasts varied landscape and is home to both the Smoky Mountain and Appalachian Mountain ranges. This rugged terrain lends itself to some fine golf and the brilliant designers who crafted the remarkable courses Tennessee has to offer incorporated the natural surroundings well. While it might not be on the same level as South Carolina or Florida, Tennessee definitely has a robust golfing tradition.
To get you on your way, here are five Tennessee golf courses you need to play.
The Honors Course (Best Overall and Best Private Course)
One of Pete Dye’s more creative efforts, The Honors Course has been one of the best Tennessee tracks since it opened in 1983. The fairways fit nicely between a maze of trees and large water hazards are on display and threaten to steal your ball on numerous occasion throughout the course.
The greens are impressive and roll gently one way or the other. The course opens 4, 5, 3, and gives you a little taste of everything it is going to throw at you. The third hole par three is long and challenging at 220 yards from the tips and requires the perfect mix of power and precision.
The back nine finishes in similar fashion, in this case 3, 5, 4, and makes for a nice end to a round at a world class venue.
The Honors Course measures 7400 from the silver tees and is a regulation par 72.
The best course in Tennessee is a private golfing facility and can only be played by members or their guests. But if you can find a way to get on, you are sure to have an unforgettable round.
Mirmichi Golf Course (Best Public Course)
Located in Millington, Tennessee, Mirmichi Golf Course is the absolute best public golf course in the state. A variety of natural elements are masterfully combined to created a golf experience unlike any other in the state. Tall grasses, bubbling brooks, waterfalls and more are all incorporated into the layout of this gem.
The front nine begins with a medium length par 4 that narrows as you approach the green. The hole has everything—prairie grasses and water to the left and trees and sand to the right. The pond to the left stretches past the green and anything long will be wet.
Hole 11 is another with water around the green, in this case it surrounds roughly 60% of the putting surface and makes your approach particularly tricky.
Mirmirchi measures 7461 yards from the blacks and is a regulation par 72. It also quite demanding with a course rating of 76.6 and a slope rating of 137.
The most unbelievable part of this incredible course, though, is the price. On Tuesday’s you can play 18 holes walking for only $30. The chance to get on the best public course in the state for that price is too good to pass up.
Hermitage Golf Course (Most Scenic Course)
Located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Hermitage Golf Course reeks of southern charm and has a stately, old fashioned feel to it. Opened in 1986, the course has won the praise of many and is considered the premier course in the Nashville area.
Hermitage features sprawling fairways dotted with uniquely shaped bunkers. The greens are massive and contoured for an optimum putting experience. Everything about the course is just right.
The front nine starts off with a mid range par 4 that is a slight dogleg left. Trees create a narrow corridor of safe passage for your tee shot and block the front left of the green.
The fairway on the par 5 second hole is even narrower as the trees from the right nearly meet with the trees from the left hand side of the fairway. You’ll have to shape your shots accordingly if you want to have any chance of reaching the green in regulation without clanking one off a limb.
The finish at Hermitage is exquisite and showcases water on both sides of the fairway and a green surrounded by an army of bunkers. It is layouts like this that make Hermitage the most beautiful course in the state.
Hermitage measures 6773 from the tips and is a par 72.
Monday-Wednesday you can play this masterpiece for $61 which includes a cart and a round of balls at the range.
Stonehenge Golf Course (Most Challenging Course)
One of the most demanding courses in the entire state has got to be Stonehenge Golf Course. The steep elevation changes and narrow tee shots make this course (that could also be considered one of the most scenic) particularly challenging.
The signature hole on the course is the par 3 14th. A narrow tee shot nearly straight down hill to a green surrounded my trees to the left and right and water to the back is an unforgettable hole that requires skill and improvisation.
Stonehenge is not altogether that deep of a course, only playing at around 6500 yards from the tips, but this par 72 can be tricky.
Members of the golfing public can play Stonehenge for $41 for 18 if the round starts after 2pm. Before that and prices can climb as high as $76.
Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain (Best Deal)
The Jack Nicklaus designed Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain is perennially chosen as one of the best courses in the state by a slew of national golf publications. The course measures just under 7000 yards from the tips and is a regulation par 72.
Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain features a stunning layout with elevated greens boasting tumbling drop offs over rugged rock walls. The way the natural habitat is incorporated into the layout of the course is pure genius.
However, the best part about this brilliant golf course is the price. Twilight rates can get as low as $13 after 3:30 pm for 18 walking. Tennessee and area residents can get other discounts earlier in the day too.
With rugged terrain and majestic golf courses, Tennessee really is a spectacular golf state. The Volunteer State has something for everyone, and courses you will never tire of playing. Check out the Tennessee courses above, or others, to see for yourself. Happy golfing.
Did we miss a course? Share your Tennessee golf experience in the comments section below.