Mountain and woodsy views beckon in Gatlinburg, where the scenery is pristine wherever you go. You could immerse yourself in this environment for weeks and still not get enough, but it’s also worth your while to take a break and treat yourself to a more manicured type of beauty. That is exactly what you’ll find at Gatlinburg’s top golf courses, where you can treat yourself to a pleasant outing and a spectacular view.
We’re not talking mini golf, which is notoriously abundant throughout Gatlinburg and any Smoky Mountain tourist town. Yes, mini golf is a blast, but when you want a truly challenging and exciting experience, you can’t miss the area’s finest golf courses. Many of these have been designed by the best in the business.
When in doubt, these gems in and near Gatlinburg are sure to please:
Gatlinburg Golf Course
While it’s technically located in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg Golf Course is easily accessible when you stay in its namesake town. The municipal golf course offers plenty to keep visitors of all skill levels happy, although its main draw is the pristine scenery.
A lack of water hazards should prove a major relief for many golfers, while others will welcome the unique challenges presented by hole twelve (involving a cliff that leads to a huge vertical drop) and a few others that feel decidedly narrow.
After all these challenges, you’ll want to reward yourself with a tasty treat at the Clubhouse, where you’ll find plenty of burgers and sandwiches — and an appealing ambiance. If you prefer to eat elsewhere, you’ll find plenty of options, as the course is situated within minutes of Pigeon Forge’s finest restaurants. Either way, you’ll thank yourself for visiting one of the region’s most in-demand golf courses.
Bent Creek Golf Course
Head slightly out of town and you’ll find a picturesque golf course that is absolutely worth the drive. Designed by famed South African golfer Gary Player, this local marvel is a par 72 course that attracts golf enthusiasts from hundreds, even thousands of miles away.
At Bent Creek Golf Course you’ll find decidedly different experiences with the front and back nine. The former highlights the beauty of the valley while the latter provides a distinctly mountain-oriented take on the game.
Be ready, because water hazards and sand traps abound — especially as compared to the aforementioned Gatlinburg Golf Course. In general, this course can be categorized as difficult, so it’s not a great fit for most golfing novices. If you’re up for a challenge, however, you’ll find yourself intrigued by the unique obstacles this course will send your way. The mountain setting and the friendly service are bonuses.
There are a few areas that could use a bit of maintenance, so don’t expect picture-perfect conditions throughout the entire course. If you prefer more laid-back vibes and can do without the epitome of luxury, you will be pleased by all this course has to offer.
Island Point Golf Club
Take a short drive to the lovely town of Kodak, where you will discover a premier golf course that is one of the top-ranked in the state. This course was designed by the respected golf architect Arthur Hills, who is known for creating some of the world’s most exquisite courses. His influence can be seen in every detail at the Island Point Golf Club, where you’ll find tight zoysia grass fairways and gorgeous views throughout.
Be prepared to hit across the water and deal with a variety of other hazards that are tricky even for experienced golfers. The hilly terrain isn’t as difficult to navigate as you might think, as the carts are in excellent shape. Watch out for rock-hard bumpers and select areas of the rough that can be tricky to exit. If you play smart, however, Island Point’s unique challenges can be navigated with ease.
A short drive from Gatlinburg’s town center will take you to some of Tennessee’s finest golf courses. Set aside a leisurely afternoon and put your skills to the test. You’ll never regret exploring a different side of the Smoky Mountain scene.