If you’ve read our course guide for the state of Tennessee, you know I love the Volunteer State. You might recall I mentioned a trip to Nashville that I don’t remember much about. That was a long time ago and golf wasn’t the priority – we don’t need to rehash it.
I’ve since tempered my ways and visited Nashville a couple of times post hangover. While work has been involved, I’ve made it a point to check out the golf scene too. And I’ve got to say, it’s impressive.
Still, I’m not exactly an expert by any means. Curious to hear from the real boots on the ground, I reached out to our readers to get their thoughts. As I’ve come to expect, their feedback was resoundingly positive.
Before I get going on whiskey, cowboy boots, honky tonks, and yesteryear, let’s start talking golf.
Gaylord Springs Golf Links
Flying into Nashville? After the luggage carousel, your first stop needs to be at Gaylord Springs.
Located just 10 minutes from the airport, this course isn’t just convenient. It’s a hawt damn warm welcome to Music City, USA.
A Scottish links layout, this course is consistently ranked as one of the best in Tennessee.
The layout makes you think. Doglegs, hazards, and challenging greens demand your attention.
Aside from being both fun and challenging, Gaylord Springs is flat out beautiful. That’s especially true of the holes that border the mighty Cumberland River.
Welcome to Nashville!
Smyrna Golf Course
By now, you’ve figured out that I’m a fan of courses owned by the city that are well operated. There’s just something about bridging gaps in a community that really gets me going.
That’s precisely the case at Smyrna Golf Course and they do a heck of a job.
The facility features a championship 18-hole course and a nine-hole executive course. Whatever kind of experience you’re looking for, you can find it at Smyrna.
Like any well-run city course, it’s all about golf here. Everyone is welcome. Rich, poor, black, white, yellow, pink, bible thumpin’ teetotaler, Nashville barfly, it doesn’t matter.
No one judges at Smyrna. And that’s just how golf should be if you ask me.
Pine Creek Golf Course
Even though Pine Creek is just minutes from the airport, it provides an escape that everyone needs once in a while, I don’t care who you are.
The clubhouse is a log cabin. I’m not kidding. The design not only embraces, but enhances the natural setting. All you have to do is take a look around.
The newly renovated greens are some of the best in the area. If you get the speed dialed in, a career day with the flatstick isn’t out of the question.
Should you need a little work on your game, the newly renovated practice facility is state-of-art.
An overall wonderful experience backed up by the knowledge of our readers.
Ted Rhodes Golf Course
The Cumberland River is a theme in Nashville Golf. I can personally attest. In fact, this track was originally called the Cumberland Golf Course when it opened in 1953.
The story gets better, and that’s why I make it a point to play here every time I’m in town… In 1969, the Park Board, at the request of Robert Lillard, renamed the course “Ted Rhodes Golf Course”. Ted was a renowned African American Golf Professional, and all-out badass groundbreaker. He was instrumental in paving the path forward for the likes of Lee Elder, Charlie Sifford, Renee Powell, and yeah, that guy, Tiger Woods. That’s pretty cool.
The golf course itself remains in great condition. The layout is in front of you and lacks unwarranted surprises.
Personal review – I get chills every time I peg it here. If you’re in Nashville, you should too.
Cedar Crest Golf Club
After enough time vacationing in Nashville, there comes a point when you need to get away from the neon lights and songs about broken hearts. Not that it’s all bad, but I’ll admit that my younger self had that experience.
For a sober breath of fresh air and the best sweet tea in the area, make the 30-minute trip to Cedar Crest Golf Club.
If scenery and golf are what’s needed to clear your head, I’m telling you, this is the spot.
This modern design that opened in 1999 occupies some of the most fertile soil east of the Mississippi River. They grow perfect grass here.
Quiet, serene, and a day away from last night’s fun, there’s no better spot than Cedar Crest Golf Club.
Nashboro Golf Club
If you’ve served in the military or are a current or former first responder and like to play golf, you need to play on Tuesdays at Nashboro Golf Club. Every Tuesday, there are tee times set aside for these heroes. You play golf for free, only pay a cart fee if you want to ride.
This course, built in 1975, continues to be a Nashville staple to this day. If you want to play with a local, this is the spot.
Designed by American Society of Golf Course Architects legend, Benjamin Wirhy, this is a classic design whose shot values can’t be understated.
Even though this course gets a lot of play, it’s manicured to a “T”.
Worth every penny.
Cheekwood Golf Club
A course doesn’t have to be 8,000 yards and a par of 72 to be a quality experience. I’m a firm believer in this notion and many of you are as well.
That’s precisely the reason why Cheekwood Golf Course is high on our list of the best places to play in Nashville. Even more, it’s only nine holes.
Located just minutes north of downtown Franklin, Cheekwood is the perfect spot if you’re short on time and want to get around quickly. The average round takes less than two hours.
And don’t think for a minute this course is a pushover. It’s full of character and demands you’re best if you’re going to score.
The Legacy Golf Course
One of the newer designs in the Nashville area is the Legacy.
Open since 1996, this track was designed by hall-of-famer Raymond Floyd.
The layout meanders through verdant hills and natural woodlands. This is the epitome of golf in the Tennessee countryside.
A perfect blend with its surroundings, the Legacy has the distinct honor of being named a Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International.
A great layout, more than worth the price of admission, don’t overlook the Legacy.
Franklin Bridge Golf Club
Another iconic track in the bedroom community of Franklin is Franklin Bridge Golf Club.
This course is in the heart of the Harpeth River Bottom.
Unlike a lot of the courses in this area, Franklin Bridge isn’t surrounded by homes. In fact, buildings are only distantly visible from three holes. This golf course gives you the sense you’re far away from the noise and business of the city.
The layout has a links feel to it. Many holes encourage you to play shots along the ground instead of flying it clear to the target. Room for creativity abounds.
Harpeth Valley Golf Center
There’s no better facility to improve your game in the Nashville area than Harpeth Valley Golf Center.
The driving range is world class. So are the short game and putting areas. If there’s a shot you need to work on, you won’t have any problems finding the space to do it here.
Along with outstanding practice facilities, the nine-hole par three course is just plain fun.
A great spot to work on your game and experience a casual round with family or friends, be sure to make a stop at Harpeth Valley.
My experiences have been varied when it comes to time spent in Nashville. Way back when, it was all about late nights and neon lights.
More recently, it’s been about work and mostly golf. Along with our readers, I fully endorse the Nashville golf scene as one of the best in the country. If you get the chance to head this direction, saddle up little doggy, you’re going to be in for a fun ride both on and off the links.