The title of Best Municipal Golf Course in the State of Tennessee was recently awarded to the Gatlinburg Golf Course, as published in Golf Digest magazine this past August.
The magazine concluded that the Gatlinburg Course was best by using a combination of star ratings from Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play” rankings and the magazine’s “Best In State” ratings. This was done by a panel of editors and contributors to the magazine.
“Muny” course was defined as a course owned by a city, town, county or state. Gatlinburg Golf Course received a rating of 4 and one-half stars out of 5 in the magazine, rating among the nation’s top courses, with a listed green fee of $60. Only one municipal golf course, Bethpage State Park (Black) in Farmingdale, N.Y., which in recent years has held such prestigious tournaments as the U.S. Open, received a rating of 5 stars.
A year-round golf course with modern facilities, the Gatlinburg Course features a newly designed, fully equipped pro shop. It’s been a staple in the area since 1955 and is located off Dollywood Lane near Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Esteemed golf course architect William Langford designed the 18-hole course before undergoing major renovations in 1993 and again in 2007.
The Course has always been public and has had only two PGA Professionals – Harry “Cotton” Berrier, a Hall of Fame inductee who retired in 1998, and Tucker, the current director of the Golf Course, which is a Department of the City of Gatlinburg.
In addition to a $500,000 hole renovation project, a new $1.24 million clubhouse opened in 2007, featuring a full-service pro shop and patio deck overlooking several holes. All of the clubhouse’s utilities have been placed underground at the 7,500 square foot facility, which includes modern locker rooms and restroom facilities and is fully handicap accessible.
Acclaimed as one of the most picturesque courses in America with breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, the course includes the legendary #12, affectionately known as “Sky Hi.” The hole is 194 yards in length and drops 200 feet, tee to green, making it one of the most dramatic holes in the country.