Area golf courses
- Beverly Park Golf Course; par 3; 865-689-6445
- Concord Park Golf Course; par 3; 865-966-9103
- Dead Horse Lake Golf Course; 865-693-5270
- Knoxville Municipal Golf Course; 865-691-7143
- Ruggles Ferry Golf Club; 865-932-4450
- Three Ridges Golf Course; 865-687-4797
- Wee Course at Williams Creek; par 3; 865-546-5828
- Whittle Springs Golf Course; 865-525-1022
- Willow Creek Golf Course; 865-675-0100
- South Hills Golf Club; 865-483-5747
- Tennessee Centennial Golf Course; 865-483-2291
- Tri-County Golf Course; 865-435-0749
- Egwani Farms Golf Club; 865-970-7132
- Lambert Acres; 865-982-9838
- Laurel Valley Golf Course; 865-448-6690
- Pine Lakes Golf Course; 865-970-9018
- Royal Oaks Golf Course; 865-984-9789
- The Golf Club; 865-856-4400
- Millstone Golf Club; 423-586-4000
- Morristown Golf and Country Club; 423-586-9953
- Baneberry Golf Resort; 800-951-4653
- Dandridge Golf and Country Club; 865-397-2655
- Lost Creek Golf Course; 865-475-9661
- Patriot Hills Golf Club; 865-475-4466
- White Pine Golf Club; 865-674-9986
- Cedar Hills; 18 holes; 865-986-8673
- Executive Meadows; par 3; 865-988-8331
- Landmark Golf Club at Avalon; 865-986-4653
- Riverview Golf Course; 865-986-6972
- Tanasi at Tellico Village; 865-458-4707
- Toqua at Tellico Village; 865-458-6546
- Emory Golf Course; 865-882-9977
- Lakeside; 865-376-5397
- Rockwood Golf and Country Club; 865-354-2121
- Southwest Point Golf Course; 865-376-5282
- Bays Mountain Golf Course; 865-577-8172
- Bent Creek Golf Resort; 865-436-3947
- Creekside Plantation; 865-577-4653
- Eagle's Landing; 865-429-4223
- Gatlinburg Golf Course; 865-453-3912
- River Islands Golf Club; 865-933-0100
- Smoky Mountain; par 3; 865-774-7749
The greater Knoxville area isn't the all-you-can-golf buffet that is Myrtle Beach, S.C. But its menu can whet and satisfy an appetite.
Knoxville's golf scene yearly captivates golfers of various ability levels - from the scratch handicapper to the guy who still gets his 6-iron and 9-iron confused.
And Des Mahoney, the director of instruction at Centennial Golf Course in Oak Ridge, said area golfers can enjoy the game year round "without breaking their budgets."
"There's a real abundance of golf courses," said Mahoney. "And it is very, very affordable. Compared to other parts of the country, we have really good access here for people on the golf course."
Since 1997, Centennial has challenged golfers with its hilly terrain, Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens. The Roger Baird design managed by Billy Casper Golf is open to the public and offers four sets of tees to attack the par-71 layout. Centennial is a perennial qualifying spot for the Nationwide Tour's Knoxville Open held at Fox Den Country Club, a private course in Farragut.
Willow Creek is a jewel of a public course in Farragut. The par-72 showcases well-manicured Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens. It can play up to 7,211 yards from the tips but offers men three other tees from which to choose.
River Islands, a four-star-rated course by Golf Digest, is some 20 miles east of downtown Knoxville but worth the commute. The course is nestled against the French Broad River, and water comes into play on half the course. At 7,001 yards from the back tees, River Islands can test the nerves.
Other sure likes: Avalon (Lenoir City), Three Ridges (North Knoxville) and Egwani Farms (Rockford, south of Knoxville).
Whittle Springs in North Knoxville is less menacing and a tad easier on the wallet. The back tees on the par-70 are a kind 5,729 yards. Drivable par 4s, quirky doglegs and scoring chances are around every corner. But wayward shots will be penalized. Hey, it's still golf.
And for the golfer who can't keep his woods out of the woods, Knoxville has a sleeve of par-3 courses: The Wee Course at Williams Creek (downtown), Concord Park (Farragut) and Beverly Park (North Knoxville).
As private courses go, the Knoxville area features the new and the historic. Greg Norman's Tennessee National, a waterfront golf community in nearby Loudon, is still years from its fifth anniversary. Deep sod-faced bunkers, A-1 bent grass greens, Aussie Green Bermuda fairways and tee boxes headline its amenities. And at 7,400 yards, the par-72 layout is tough.
Famed Donald Ross design Holston Hills Country Club in East Knoxville has been a golfing staple since 1927. Golfing great Byron Nelson won a pro event there, and Holston often ranks in Golfweek's Top 100 classical courses nationwide. It has a throwback feel, and the views coming up the par-4 9th and par-5 18th are memorable.
Along the same vein, Cherokee Country Club (6,472 yards) opened in Knoxville in 1907 and is another Donald Ross design of a par-70 links-style variety. Its facilities have undergone renovations in the last two years, and the course's greens are set for a re-contouring and resurfacing soon.
"It's a good, classical course," said Cherokee assistant golf professional Patrick Williams. "It's a challenging layout in the area. It's very tight, lots of trees and several holes with out of bounds. It's a par 70 with six par 3s, which is something that is rare for a lot of golf courses. They vary in distance from 150 (yards) to 246."
So, the golf is here. It's up to you to decide which one to play.
Maybe Knoxville's not so different than Myrtle Beach after all.
Jesse Smithey may be reached at 865-342-6290.
© 2008, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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