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."
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.
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 am not 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 hit a sprinkler head to set up my 4 putt bogey