Go Play: The Tennessee Golf Trail is Terrific

9 Reasons to Vacation 7 Days in the Southeast

There’s more than just great music in the great state of Tennessee—namely the Tennessee Golf Trail, a nine-course smorgasbord of some of the better public golf in the Southeast. All situated within state parks—many of which offer rustic cabins for overnight indulgences—the collection includes three Jack Nicklaus Signature designs and another six challenges that are incredibly fun and amazingly affordable.

Start your weeklong Tennessee Trail golf vacation just north of Nashville at Montgomery Bell. Heavily wooded with wide fairways and fast greens, this 6,311-yard Gary Roger Baird redesign is a leader in environmental management that has been designated a Groundwater Guardian Green Site.

On Day Two travel 90 minutes east to golf-splendid Crossville, an ideal headquarters for your remaining vacation. Then lace up the spikes and play highly acclaimed Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain, a 6,900-yard Nicklaus creation that takes full advantage of a rollicking Cumberland Plateau landscape. Awards include being named a “Top Ten Courses in Tennessee” by Golf Digest (2001) and “A Top Ten You Can Play” by Golf Magazine (1999).

Above photo: © Chris Duthie

On Day Three, enjoy the hour-long ride to Pikeville and 20,000-acre Fall Creek Falls, a state park that, as the name suggests, is home to heart-pounding waterfalls plus some of the last virgin timberland in the Southeast. Here also is a tradition-steeped Joe Lee-crafted layout that’s as well regarded for its 6,670-yard routing as for its breathtaking, back-to-nature shotlines. Audubon International further underscores Fall Creek Falls as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

Day Four is a temporary but worthwhile leave from the Tennessee Trail. Druid Hills is a rugged, 6,270-yard layout that weaves in and out of lush forests and around ball-rebounding rock formations. The semi-private course, designed by Leon Howard, offers well-manicured bentgrass conditioning stiffened by risk/reward shotlines over water hazards and through tree-lined corridors.

On Day Five get ready for another Nicklaus challenge, Bear Trace at Tims Ford, in nearby Winchester. Surrounded by majestic Tims Ford Lake, this 6,745-yard Nicklaus design is a mesmerizing balance of woodlands and links-style architecture. Pace yourself for a post-round tour of that infamous sensory overload experience, the Jack Daniels distillery in neighboring Lynchburg.

Photo: © Chris Duthie

Just outside of Crossville, Day Six is reserved for another off-the-Trail must play, Stonehenge Golf Club at Fairfield Glade. Ranked by Golf Digest among the best public courses in the state, the 6,540-yard Lee design is a scorecard-challenging romp over natural rock outcroppings and lush, rolling fairways.

On Day Seven rise early and drive to Harrison to play Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary certified Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, a superlative 7,111-yard Nicklaus design that has become a haven for deer, wild turkeys, bobcats and bargain-hunting golfers who readily pony up the $60 greens fee. Keep your eyes peeled for Elliott and Eloise, a celebrated pair of bald eagles that nest alongside the course’s 10th green.

Tennessee Golf Trail golf packages are readily available by calling (800) 250-8613 or by going online to tngolftrail.net.

Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.