Nashville is known for a lot of things like its world famous music scene, an ever-emerging food scene and as a great sports town for both professional and college sports fans alike. What many visitors and locals alike overlook though, is the golf destination Nashville is becoming. The mid-state area has dozens of courses within a half hour drive of downtown that present a fun challenge for golfers of all skill levels.
Throughout the summer, we here at S&E Nashville are playing our way through some of the Nashville area’s top public golf courses. With each we will explore the playability of the course, value of the green fees, history of the course and what makes it a special place to tee it up.
We began our summer golf tour with Harpeth Hills Golf Course and Greystone Golf Club, now we take you to one of the toughest courses and most well-known courses in the state – Gaylord Springs Golf Links.
The Scottish style links course is one of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll find in the Nashville area. Located along the banks of the Cumberland River and carved out of the limestone hills there is a picture worthy view in every direction. It is also full of rich history, having hosted some of the most famous names in golf.
Gaylord Springs is much more than just a pretty place to play; it can also be one of the toughest. Gaylord Springs does set up for all skill levels, playing as short as 5,759 yards, while also stretching out to 6,842 from the tips for those who truly want to test their skills. No matter where you tee it up though, with a healthy smattering of bunkers protecting greens and water hazards throughout, proper placement of your tee ball and approach shots is a must. Otherwise, you may be stopping in the pro shop at the turn a few more sleeves of new golf balls.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a blade of grass out of place, so even if you do miss the immaculate zoysia fairways, as long as you keep it out of the water and sand, you won’t be over penalized. The rough is not overwhelming and does allow for reasonable recovery shots. The course is also one that will make even the most season players think about each shot. While most every non-par 3 will allow you to bomb it with a driver, many holes have narrowed fairways or bunkers near the landing zone that demand accuracy, while a shorter shot off the tee allows for a much wider landing zone in the fairway.
Around and on the greens you will not find a place in Nashville where the ball rolls better. The quick greens will certainly test your touch though. However, the greens are large enough that a fairly accurate approach shot should find them in most cases.
For purists who love to walk 18 holes, Gaylord Springs is fairly flat by middle Tennessee standards and pretty easy to get around. It sets up well for the walker, with the traditional nine holes out, nine holes back in setup from the clubhouse, with plenty of water and restroom facilities along the way. As anyone who has spent much time in Nashville knows, the middle of a summer day along the riverbank can get pretty warm, so plan accordingly if you wish to walk. An early morning or late afternoon twilight round might make the stroll around Gaylord Springs a bit more enjoyable.
By middle Tennessee standards, Gaylord Springs is certainly on the higher end when it comes to greens fees. But that doesn’t mean it is not still an amazing value. For the quality of course you will play, the remarkable clubhouse you will find and unmatched teaching and practice facilities at your disposal – many could argue that the weekend rate of $77 is still a bargain. That fee includes your cart and range balls. After 3 p.m., that rate drops to $43, and if you can sneak out for 18 during the week you’ll find the same amenities for just $67 or $39 after 3 p.m.
Gaylord Springs is also an incredibly friendly place for military and junior golfers. All military receive 10 percent off, and any junior golfer (15 and under) plays free with a paying adult.
The Larry Nelson designed Gaylord Springs opened back in 1991, then called Springhouse, and has hosted some of the biggest names in golf. As home of the Champions Tour’s Bellsouth Senior Classic from 1994 – 2003, the likes of Gary Player, Lee Trevinio, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, Chi Chi Rodriguez and many more teed it up every year at the Bellsouth. As you enter the parking lot of Gaylord Springs you can’t miss the statue that greets you, honoring the Bellsouth Senior Classic and its former winners like Trevino, Irwin, and the only two-time winner Gil Morgan. During its nine year run, the tournament helped raise almost $2 million for local charities and provided unmatched excitement on the course.
The history of Gaylord Springs is also not complete without mention of the devastating flood of 2010. Most in Nashville will remember seeing news coverage of the course being overrun by the Cumberland River and the images of the beautiful two story clubhouse nearly under water to its roof. The course and clubhouse underwent over $2.5 million in renovations, and aside from a few pictures marking the devastation, any visitor will be hard pressed to find evidence today that there was ever a 500 year flood on the property.
What makes Gaylord Springs special
The entire experience from the time you pull up to the clubhouse, to the time you finally put your clubs back in the car and drive away is what makes Gaylord a special place to play. No matter if you are a seasoned player looking for a challenge, or a weekend warrior out with your buddies, you will be treated to a first-class experience at Gaylord Springs. The staff will bend over backwards to help you, the course will be one of the best you have ever played, and each hole is a new and different challenge. For fans of golf history, knowing you are walking the same fairways as greats of the game like Player, Kite and so many others make it even more enjoyable.