The Score on Nashville-Area Golf Courses
Mike the Retired Guy has played all the Nashville public golf courses many times. My experience is limited to putt-putt so I’ve asked him to chip in his thoughts. (Photo credit: MontgomeryBell/tnstateparks.com)
Nashville’s Public Courses
Nashville’s public golf courses are all located in Metro Nashville and within a 20-25 minute drive of downtown. (That’s non-rush-hour time – don’t leave to play golf during rush-hour; it will put you in a bad mood!) Expect to pay $30 or less on weekdays for 18 holes and around $40 on weekends except where noted on the pricier courses.
The “El Primo” of Nashville public golf courses, it’s a beautiful setting inside Nashville’s largest park. An Audubon-sanctioned wildlife sanctuary, deer and turkey are abundant and they’ve learned the meaning of the word “fore.” It’s a great golf layout kept in excellent condition. Tee times are a must on most days–although single walk-ons are usually accommodated. A great value and great fun.
(Closed until September 1, 2023 for renovations.) On the other end of the park from Harpeth Hills, it’s an easily walkable, shady nine-hole par 34 course (they do have carts on dry days) next door to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. Lots of senior golfers, so don’t need to be in a hurry. Well maintained and a good choice for the more novice golfers.
Centrally located in the Sylvan Park area, 27 holes of pretty good golfing and an excellent practice facility. Because of its location, it’s heavily played so always get an advance tee time. Extensive renovations in recent years have made a formally “somewhat less than desirable” course a more pleasant experience. Several great Sylvan Park restaurants just a block away.
Nashville’s oldest municipal course, it’s located in trendy East Nashville. Shelby is a funky, hilly 18-hole course that can be fun if you like goofy golf. Management recently advertised that hipsters are welcome here with their facial hair, tattoos, and body piercings (reflecting the neighborhood), so no bothersome dress codes here. If that’s not your thing, join a country club!
On the banks of the Cumberland River in MetroCenter near downtown, it’s a flat monster with lots of hidden creeks and ditches that love to eat golf balls. Local knowledge is a major benefit–so don’t bet against the locals! Course can get hard and bouncy in dry weather.
An 18-hole course close to Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills. There’s something else that’s good about this course, but it doesn’t come to mind. Somewhat forgettable, but a convenient place for a quick round if you’re staying close by.
A beautiful and extremely challenging golf course owned by the Opryland folks and priced accordingly ($67 on weekdays and $77 on weekends, $10 less Dec. 1-March 31). Several pro events have been played here, and you’ll wish you had the shots of a pro when you get lost in the giant swells and bunkers everywhere. Get ready for a humbling experience.
A privately owned public resort-type 36-hole course, it’s highly rated by Golf Digest so it gets a lot of its play from large group tournaments–-both local and convention groups. Well maintained, fairly challenging, pricey ($54-$75 for 18 holes, depending on course and day of week), and can get slow around the big groups. Watch out for the sheep grazing on the back nine of the President’s course – you’ll think you got lost in Scotland!
A Short Drive from Nashville
Translation: less than an hour from Nashville (rush hour excluded) and worth the drive.
Near the top of the list of place to golf outside Nashville is this jewel. It’s a magnificent course in the deep woods of this grand state park. Lots of improvements in recent years, including championship Bermuda greens, have made this a real destination course. If you’re not from around here, you may need a translator to communicate with the locals-–they talk the original Tennessee hills language. They spit their tobacco all over the course, so the grass stays real green.
Just 5 minutes down Hwy 70 from Montgomery Bell, a real favorite with most folks from the communities west of Nashville. It’s a love or hate course – every hole has its own unique personality. Don’t we all know certain personalities that drive us nuts and some we love dearly? Welcome to Greystone!
Located north of Nashville in Springfield. Pretty and pretty damn hard! It’s a day’s work to get around this course – some small mountains to navigate, but well conditioned and laid out for a good score if you can always hit it straight. When’s the last time you did that?
In a very fertile valley full of sod farms in Rockvale, this course looks deceptively easy because of its flatness, but there’s those sneaky creeks and swamps just hiding everywhere. When you see swamp grass sticking up, don’t hit there! Beware of the old cemetery to the right of No. 11 – it’s got a magnet that attracts golf balls and then buries them!
On the Duck River south of Nashville. An old favorite of many in the neighborhood and tourists staying at the Park; much improved with the recently installed championship Bermuda greens. It’s an enjoyable, scenic layout that can yield some really good scores. If only the tourists that never play golf except when they visit here (a frequent occurrence) would just go away, play would move a lot faster.
For something less outdoorsy, check out Top Golf, Nashville’s tricked-out driving range, rec center, restaurant, bar and music venue.