Right as you go into Gatlinburg, if you are coming from Pigeon Forge, you are going to see a sign for Hillbilly Golf on the left hand side of the road. Hillbilly Golf is a staple of Gatlinburg attractions and has been a min golf destination for years. When you give Hillbilly Golf a once over you are going to wonder where the miniature golf course is but that is because you are not looking at the right spot. Stand in front of the ticket booth and look up. You will notice an incline rail system that seems to go up and out of sight, that is where the course is – that is where the fun is.
Get your ticket and jump on the rail car. You will take a brief ride up the mountain, the 300 feet only takes a few minutes but it does give you a great view of the Parkway as it threads its way into Gatlinburg. You ride backwards up the mountain to both of the course. Each one is a full 18 holes and both are delightfully decorated and fun to play. But of course, half the fun is the fact that you are playing on the mountain. The courses are built into the mountainside, into the very rock with trees and plants growing all around.
Not only are the courses chiseled into the ground and rock of the Smoky Mountains but they are decorated with a detritus that has taken years to accumulate. Pieces of mountain history, pieces of the past decorate the courses. The obstacles that you shoot and putt around are the very articles and things of the past that you might have seen doting the front yard of any mountain person in the Smokies at the turn of the century. Outhouses and stills are part of the course, as are native plants and rock walls that came to symbolize the mountain yards of the homesteads in the Smokies. Some of these items have been out on these courses since Hillbilly Golf opened years ago. Golf balls have been shot through and around these pieces of Americana for years and you might even find that you are still trying to putt around the same still that you had trouble with as a kid. Try both courses while you are there, spend plenty of time on the side of the mountain and experience the thrill you had when you rode the incline railway up the first time you took it years ago.