The Hermitage Golf Course is the premiere public-access golf facility in Nashville, Tennessee, located northeast of the city along the Cumberland River. The championship track at the property is the President’s Reserve, designed by Denis Griffiths in the year 2000.
Although comparisons to Bethpage may be hyperbole, it seems that the architect took at least some inspiration from that landmark’s championship route while designing Reserve. Many of the bunkers along President's Reserve feature long fingers reaching to grab balls, much like A.W. Tillinghast’s own iconic hazards. It certainly has the distance to challenge scratch golfers, measuring more than 7,150 yards from the back tees.
The highlight for many players will be the five holes that run directly along the Cumberland, although this is hardly the only water hazard on the course (in fact, it’s rather tough to end up in the river). Inland, there’s another wide channel that runs parallel to the Cumberland. It comes into play most dramatically at No. 13, where players will drive across it, and it also runs along the left of the closing par four as well.
President’s Reserve is the preferred course at Hermitage golf. The first hole is extremely welcoming. In fact it is the number 18 handicap hole. Fairly short with an expansive fairway with prime swampland left and right. There is a large greenside bunker right, but a definite birdie hole. The 2nd is a long par five that I have never seen anyone get home in two. The fairway runs out at about 270 yards with a fairway bunker left and heavy trees left and right. A water hazard runs down the left side and a greenside bunker left. The first par 3 is mid-length and parallels the Cumberland River right and has 4 bunkers front right. The 4th is a good scoring hole. While the river is right, it really should not come into play. There is a fairway bunker left about 170 yards out and BAB front right. For you, hockey fans, several years ago I played in a charity golf tournament for the Nashville Predators. One of the gimmicks was having hockey players hit a tee shot for the group and you could choose to use it. One year Shea Weber, who for several years won the fastest slapshot competition, was on the 4th tee. I asked him if he had hit the green yet. He said no, but he had been close, short or left or right. For us he pounded it, long and straight. We were all high fiving until we saw it bounce over the green some 350 yards away. The 5th is a long par four that leans left. It has no real hazards, trees right and left and for really horrid shots the river is right. Favor the right side off the tee to ensure that you are not blocked out. The 6th is a good scoring hole a slight water carry with a fairway bunker right. This three finger bunker also has a twin closer to the green on the right. This is a tighter fairway and you may want to consider laying up. There is a pot bunker in front and two twin U bunkers front and back. The 7th is the longest par 3. Slight water carry with 4 bunkers two greenside. The 8th is an S par five. Possible to get home in two, but my advice is play it as a 3 shotter. Water left off the tee and the further left you are the easier the hole. There are cross bunkers angling across the fairway starting at about 240 out. The green is protected by three bunkers front right. The 9th has angled tees with a gunch carry to a wide fairway with a long mogul splitting the fairway on the left side. The approach is over swampland to a green with a U bunker front left.
The back starts with a good birdie oppty. It leans a wee bit left so favor the right off the tee and bunkers cross the fairway diagonally to the green starting about 90 yards out on the left. The 11th is a long par four. Favor the right off the tee, there is a fairway bunker on the left about 170 yards out. Water left on the approach and two greenside bunkers left. Tough hole. The 12th is a mid-length par 3 with a water hazard left and three greenside bunkers left. The 13th is the longest par four and the number one handicap hole. A slight water carry, favor the left side. The large bunker right is not greenside and starts about 100 yards out. The 14th is a long tree-lined par five that sweeps right. There is a large fairway bunker on the left side that starts about 225 yards out. Favor the left side on this hole and play it as a 3 shotter. The 15th is another mid-length par three with the requisite number of bunkers and the river left. The par 4 16th is a good birdie oppty. There is a fairway bunker right that should not come into play, same with the river left. Favor the left side off the tee and the two bunkers right are not greenside. The finishing holes are fun. The 17th is the shortest par four and depending your skills and tees, potentially driveable. It is well-protected with a potpourri of bunkers. Best play may be to lay up to your favorite wedge yardage. The 18th is a short reachable par five. It goes hard left and parallels a water hazard. It is really about how much you want to cut. A decent drive will leave you inside of 200 yards. There is a left fairway bunker, a couple of front pot bunkers a BAB left greenside.
A good course that is pedestrian until the last two holes.