Holston Hills - Tennessee - USA

Holston Hills Country Club,
5200 Holston Hills Road,
Knoxville,
Tennessee (TN) 37914,
USA


  • +1 (0) 865 525 0626

  • Pat Mills

  • Donald Ross

  • Chris Dibble


Brian Donaldson is a member at Holston Hills and he writes: “Holston Hills is a Donald Ross design, dates to 1927 and is considered one of the best surviving examples of Ross architecture. It is a superb course, no weak holes. Ranked as the 100th best course in the USA in recent Golf Magazine course rankings. GolfWeek ranks it very highly among the country’s traditional designs.”

The following article was written by Richard Smith who hails from Knoxville Tennessee: "Holston Hills is a rare example of an almost perfectly preserved Donald Ross layout. Built in the late 1920s under Ross’s direct supervision, Holston opened with a championship length of 6,950 yards and has only recently been lengthened slightly to accommodate modern equipment.

The club has undertaken two large restoration projects in the last 10 years, both supervised by Tom Doak and Renaissance Golf. The greens were restored first, and recently the bunkers have been redone as well. The club is currently in the process of removing large numbers of pine trees which were planted in the 1950s and 60s to restore the original open look of the property.

Holston is a remarkable old style layout. It is a well balanced par 72 layout with two long par fives balanced with two shorter and reachable par fives, two shorter par threes balanced by two longer ones, and, probably, one of the finest variety of par four holes I’ve ever played.

The greens are subtle, but there are a number of steep slopes reminiscent of Pinehurst No.2. However the overall affect of the greens is not as severe as No.2. Holston has made several Top 100 lists over the past few years and is destined to rise up the rankings as the restoration of the course continues. This is a great club with a large number of plus and single digit handicap golfers. It would be well worth your time to play this course if you are ever near Knoxville and sample a classic example of Donald Ross and the golden era of golf architecture."

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Reviews for Holston Hills

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Description: Nestling near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, is the unassuming Holston Hills Country Club. Is this the best-preserved Donald Ross design in the USA? Rating: 5 out of 6 Reviews: 4

This past summer, I go the chance to play Holston Hills. I am a golf traditionalist and most of the desired courses on my bucket list have some history to them. Holston Hills is a Donald Ross and judging by not only word of mouth but historical photos; it remains mostly untouched. This is a golf course I could play everyday and in fact, I loved it so much that I could envision myself retiring to Knoxville, buying a house close by and playing this everyday. It seems like you play great hole after great hole. The clubhouse is visible up on top of the hills from almost every hole on the course and its a beauty. The course was in great condition and was very fair although it can jump up and bite you if you aren't careful. The uphill par 4 on the back and the finishing hole were my favs, but again there are so many good holes, you can't go wrong.

6 / 6
Holston Hills
November 13, 2018


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Richard Smith
November 15, 2018

Thank you for such a stellar review of my home course! Needless to say I am in complete agreement with everything you said.

Nice but grossly over rated.I amnot sure what the love affair is with Donald Ross, he was the McDonalds of golf architects. Some "Donald Ross" courses he never even stepped foot on the property. If you took his name off the course it would not crack the top 500. Having said that, it is supposed to be one of the Ross courses that is close to the original design. As such, if you are above the hole, you will pay the price. I certainly did on 18 where my second shot must have hot a sprinkler hear to set up my 4 putt bogey

3 / 6
Holston Hills
July 19, 2018


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Wonderful course. Classic Ross. Wide open fairways, strategic bunkers, interesting greens. Two unique things about Holston to me were: cross bunkers and green contours. Tons of cross bunkers litter the course. They are placed at interesting distances from the tee and to the hole and they are everywhere. I've seen Ross use this here and there, but nowhere near as prevelant as at Holston Hills. Concerning the undulations, this is one of the more tame Ross set of greens that I have ever seen. But that is not really a put down. The greens were interesting and rolled very,very pure...but they are nowhere nears as crazy as #2 or Inverness. In short, the course is flat out fun and a course you could play every day.
5 / 6
Holston Hills
May 09, 2010


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First off, this review would probably not be considered "fair and balanced" because I have been a member of Holston Hills for 19 years and I truly love this magnificent golf course. This course appeals to many golfers on many levels. For Donald Ross admirers this may be one of, if not the best preserved original Ross design. The course was almost 6,900 yards when originally designed in 1927, and only recently have longer tees been added to keep up with modern technology. For the average golfer the course is a fair test. There are no heroic and impossible shots, and the greens are almost all open in the front, allowing the average player to negotiate his way around without feeling beat up. For the superior player the course demands precise strategy, almost like a chess match with the ghost of Ross as you plan your way around the course and the subtle yet very difficult greens. As for the course itself it has a wonderful blend of holes. There are two short par threes and two long ones, two longer par 5s and two shorter par 5s that can be reachable in two for the stronger player. The par 4s are clearly the strength of the course, however. 6 and 16 are masterful short par 4s, allowing for a variety of strategies from banging the driver to laying back for a safer but longer approach. Hole 1 is a classic, 442 yards from the back tee, slight dogleg left with difficult rough to the left, beautiful greenside bunkering, and a difficult back to front sloping green. To play Holston is to step back in time, but the challenge today is probably no less than in its early days. The course is actively working to remove trees planted in the 1950s and 60s to restore the course to its original condition and a number of natural areas are being planted to add to the beauty of the course. Although we are a private club, we have a limited number of times available for visitors who provided a letter of introduction in advance from their home professional. I hope others enjoy this course as much as I do. I have never tired of playing it and I doubt I will ever cease to enjoy its variety of challenges.
6 / 6
Holston Hills
September 10, 2008


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