Formerly known as River Islands, Island Pointe Golf Club has maintained the features that gave the course its original moniker. The clubhouse sits on the north bank of the French Broad River, and after two holes in that vicinity, players will take a long bridge to an island in the river for the third hole.
Arthur Hills shows his true wild side on the par three No. 4, however, as players tee off from the first island to a green that sits on a second island (and, theoretically, if a player were to lay up to the front tees, they would hit from three separate islands during the hole).
Players finally arrive at the South shore of the river for the bulk of the round before making their way back to the clubhouse by stopping once more at the same islands. This Knoxville-area public track is officially located in Kodak, Tennessee, and the adventurous trip from tee-to-green will deliver moments that live up to the town’s name.
I played here quite a bit when it was known as River Islands, and I have only played once since the switch to Bermuda greens. This unique golf course winds its way across the French Broad River over a series of small islands. The highlight has to be the par 3 third hole. This hole negotiates the passage across the first island. The green is situated oblique to the tee line and offers little room for a bail-out. The par 5 fourth is a strong three-shot hole down the first island, and the par 5 sixth takes you to the opposite shore in Sevier County. The holes on the east side are less interesting, and par 4 tenth is downright bland. However, the finish back across the islands has some fun holes.
My overall sense is that this is a fun and frivolous course that should be enjoyed for its uniqueness. The course is situated a bit far from Knoxville and the tourist destinations in Sevier country, but it seems to be thriving at this time. I don't go here often to play, but I look forward to playing here when the occasion arises. Therefore, a state ranking in the 20-30 range is probably appropriate.
Island Pointe is a fun course. Somewhat unusual in that several holes are on an island and it has 5 par 5s and 5 par 3s. The first hole is welcoming. Fairway bunker left, but it really shouldn’t come into play. The 2nd leans right with a generous fairway. The fairway runs out about 50 yards from the green. The green is very wide but not deep. The 3rd is a cool hole. A mid-length par three with a water carry tee shot over the French Broad River to an island. The 4th is the first par five that slides right. It is tight, the fairway is less than 40 yards wide, trees right and river left. It is rated the number one handicap hole, but three average shots will have you putting for birdie. The 5th is another mid-length par three with a water carry. The 6th is the longest par five. Water carry off the tee to a broad landing area. However, the river is left and the fairway tightens significantly with trees on the right side. Favor the left. The 7th is the longest par four, pretty open with a couple of front greenside bunkers. The 8th is the longest par three but not exactly memorable. The front closes with another par five. This one is by far the most wide open and I am surprised it is rated as the 3rd hardest hole, although the green is tucked way left. There really is limited trouble until the three left bunkers starting about 100 yards out.
The back starts off with a hole that does not have any hazards. Bad shots may have to contend with trees, but for the most part it is green light. The 11th is a short par four with a water hazard straight ahead and the green tucked right of it. Favor the right to take the hazard out of play and consider laying up. The 12th is the shortest par four and it leans to the right. The fairway runs out about 90 yards out. Good birdie hole with a front bunker and two more right. The 13th is a straightaway par four. There is OB right and a left greenside bunker. The 14th is a par five that parallels the river left. The river will really only come into play for high hooks. Another fairly straight forward par five that is rated more difficult than it is. From 14 we island hop to 15, a 200 yard par three. The 16th is the last par five. There are trees to deal with on both sides, but it can be reached in two, the green is tucked way left, right next to the river. The last par three is the shortest hole and deservedly rated the easiest. The 18th is a long finishing hole. A triumvirate of fairway bunkers in the right landing zone and heavily wooded left. Your approach will have to carry a long bunker in front of the green starting about 65 yards out.
This is a fun course that I would pay to play again.