Mark McCumber made most of his name — as both a player and an architect — on courses in his native Florida (including his only PGA win, at The Players Championship). He occasionally heads elsewhere in the Southeast United States, including the acclaimed public-access venue GreyStone on the West side of Nashville, Tennessee.
Although the emphasis is clearly on “Stone” (based on the capitalization in the course’s title), the player’s attention should truly be on hills. Finding the correct side of the fairway may be the difference between safety and tumbling down an embankment. Of course, it may also mean finding the ideal line for your birdie approach, or a less attractive one.
The club is owned by Bob Wolcott, another former pro and the patriarch of one of Nashville’s premier golf families.
Greystone is a fun golf course. It may not be a classic purist track, but I love it. The first hole is welcoming, the scorecard does not indicate this. Woods left, trees right, but a decent drive will carry the hill and trundle down to a short iron downhill approach with a front right bunker. The first par five is a good one. A creek runs all the way down the left side and half of the green is tucked behind it. I know it is possible to get home in two, the folks I have seen try all doubled. There are two fairway bunkers on the right. Play it as a 3 shotter and pick your preferred yardage into the green. The mid-range par 3 has a bunker front left and is one of the weaker holes. The 4th leans right and has two fairway bunkers left. The green is protected with bunkers left and front right. The fifth is a short uphill par four with woods left and right. The fairway runs out about 70 yards short of the green that has front right and left bunkers. A good birdie oppty. The 6th is the longest par three with a bunker front left. The 7th is a tough par four long and it is deservedly the number one handicap hole. A large long fairway bunker left, just where it should be and a greenside bunker front right. The 8th is a short dogleg left with fairway bunkers on the inside and outside elbow. Best line is aiming at the right bunker and you will have an attack wedge uphill approach. The 9th is a reachable par five. Large fairway bunker right and the fairway runs out at about 210 yards out from the green. The go for it 2nd shot is a valley shot with two large deep front bunkers and the green perched on a ledge behind them. A fun thinking hole.
The back starts with a big downhill dogleg left par four. While there are no hazards you can drive thru the fairway and there is gunch and moguls inside the elbow. The green has two front right bunkers. The next few holes are excellent scoring oppties. The 11th is a Florida par three, the shortest hole on the course with a bunker front right. The 12th is an uphill reachable par five. This is a very polarizing hole, you either like or hate it. There is OB right and a dropoff left. Additionally, there is fairway bunker right and a dozen or so rock outcroppings. This is where the hate comes in, a good drive could be cornponed behind a rock and your green light is now a caution. I like the hole, except when I am behind a rock. The 13th is a short par four dogleg left. There is a brook right and a fairway bunker left. This is a how big is your appetite hole, consider laying up, The 14th is also a short par four, but this one is straightaway. A couple of fairway bunkers right and then right and left greenside. The 15th is a long par four that leans left. There is a fairway bunker right and the approach is downhill to a green with a bunker left. The 16th is a mid-length par three with a creek and a front right and back middle bunker. The first time I played Greystone, I was 1 under coming into this hole. At the time, I had never gone red, so my sphincter was puckering. I decided to take an extra club and choke down to take the creek out of play. Unpredictably, I flushed it and as soon as I hit it, I knew I would be in the bunker. I then brought the creek into play by skulling my sand shot and escaped with a double. The 17th is a reachable par five that leans with water down most of the left side. The guy I was playing with said I could easily cut some of the water hazard. (pre range finders) I had no cause to doubt him, but after my drive ended up with the fishes I started to wonder. Another double. The contour of this hole also flows right to left and there is a large tree in the middle of the fairway that one must navigate around. The green is wide and not deep lists left and has two long bunkers in front and the back. The 18th is a long tough uphill par four. It leans right and there is a stream down the entire right side that pinches the fairway, not to mention a large fairway bunker left. Really demanding finishing hole, I doubled this one as well. Nice finish three doubles.
Regardless, I love this course. Some purists will disagree, it has a little bit of everything, but mostly just fun. Remember we play golf, we don’t work golf. I continue to pay to play it again.