Tune-up your game on Tennessee’s finest fairways

By Mike Dojc

The Upper Cumberland Plateau, located halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, is Tennessee’s great outdoors playground replete with mixed-oak forests, valleys and river gorges galore. Hiking, biking, caving and counting waterfalls aren’t the only ways to scope out the gorgeous God’s country scenery. Pining for pins and Chasing Pro-V1’s is the primary leisure pursuit in these parts. The UC is the Volunteer State’s primary golf bastion with over half a million rounds played per year in the greater Crossville, TN area. Heck, even the local theatre is fixated on making birdies.

The Cumberland County Playhouse staged Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway during my recent six round area odyssey. The hits and giggles farce mixes philandering hijinks with a high stakes wage that comes down to the final put. For a little flavor, this is the play that tees off with one of the leads dropping hall of famer Jimmy Demaret’s famous quip: “Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at them.”

Stonehenge No 14
Stonehenge No 14

Where to Play:
While there’s not a dud in the bunch, make sure to make room for these top tier Tennessee studs. Stonehenge, part of the Fairfield Glade Resort, plays host to a quartet of big-time State tourneys including the Senior Open and Women’s Open. The henge is a rolling and rollicking mountain track with a stunning trio of holes starting at the signature 14 which feature rocky outcroppings, shimmering lake views and a stairway to heaven (see pic). In a nod to the prehistoric monument in England the course pays homage too, I needle Corey Wade, the Assistant Pro and ask if he’s experienced any alien encounters while working at Stonehenge. “Not that I personally had, but if they’re good they’re going to wipe your memory so you don’t remember,” he quipped back without missing a beat.

Stonehenge No 15
Stonehenge No 15

If you’re looking to work in a two-a-day, Heatherhurst’s course duet in the Crag and the Brae are the way to do it with a break for lunch at the clubhouse between rounds. You’ll need your distance gauging wits about you to avoid getting in trouble on No.4 on the Brae, a squirrely double dogleg that has been dubbed the toughest par 5 in Tennessee. Also not to be missed are Druid Hills which has some really pretty lookouts with the Smokies in the backdrop and Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain, a mettle testing Nicklaus design that unfolds amidst the unspoiled natural splendor of a State Park.

Getting There:
Fly in to Nashville International Airport. It’s a 90-minute straight shot from Music City to Crossville along I-40 East

The Crag No 17
The Crag No 17
Mike Dojc

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