The name of the architect who originally laid out the routing for the Jackson Country Club during 1914 has been lost to time, however the course’s place in the history of Tennessee golf has not.
The course has hosted more Tennessee State Opens than any other facility (39) and has played host to Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Walter Hagen and Arnold Palmer during that time. The layout presents itself with a classic style akin to its time, with rolling greens and tree-lined fairways.
Although much of Tennessee’s great golf satellites around the cities of Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis, Jackson Country Club provides a quality stopping point for those traveling between the latter two cities.
Jackson Country Club is a fantastic throwback. The first time I played it was int eh winter about 20 years ago. I was returning home from Memphis and it was a glorious winter day that was whispering the promises of spring. I had heard about Jackson CC from several people, so I took a flier. I called our pro, Chad Reeder and said, “I have a quick yes or no request, explained the situation and said I would be passing Jackson CC in about five minutes. Could he make a call? He did and in less than two minutes he called back and said I was all set. Happy day! The course exceeded my expectations and to paraphrase spring hopes eternal. The last time I played it was April 30, 2010. While my memory is good, this was also memorable. April 29th Jack Wallin and I were in Little Rock, AR as we were playing in a customer golf tournament the next day. That evening there was an intense storm and several tornadoes touched down. As one can imagine, the course was not in stellar shape the next day, but we slogged thru it. Jack and I then started the trek back to Nashville. We were just west of Memphis when Beth, my wife calls and says, “Where are you?” That made my heart skip a beat, as I automatically conclude I have screwed something up and I am not where I am supposed to be. Perhaps, the only other worse phrase that women say to men, “We need to talk.” Anyway, I said we were almost to Memphis and she said we needed to get a hotel room. Of course, I asked why. She explained that middle TN had received 10 inches of rain last night and that day and there was widespread flooding. So, I said ok, we would see what we could do. We did what most guys would do and that was keep going. We were following updates on line and we knew Jackson, TN was going to be a problem. Sure enough, the I40 east was closed. So being smart guys we decided to try to find alternative routes, we tried south, sure enough that option was closed about 7-8 miles down the road. Okay let’s go north, sure enough about 12 miles later that was closed, but we could go east. Eventually, that was shut down but we could go south and we did. As we were driving Jack started to go negative and I didn’t necessarily blame him. He said what are going to do and I said in about 1 mile you are going to go right. He said that was the wrong way. I said, not for where we are going. His negativity evaporated when we pulled into Jackson CC’s parking lot. We would have paid had someone been there, but, alas. Pace of play was fantastic as we were the only two jamokes on the course. We were playing the 7th hole, when I said to Jack, “DO you hear that?” He responded, “Hear what?” I said, “The interstate, I hear traffic, it is open again.” He said, great let’s go. I responded, “Not so fast, I am one down, let’s finish this nine.” It would be nice to report that I came back to win but I was able to kiss my sister. We did get back on the interstate and amazingly did make it home about 6 hours later. May 1, 2010 is remembered as The Flood.
To the course, the first is a welcoming par four, fairway bunker left and greenside left and right. The 2nd is a bit longer and leans right. Favor left of center off the tee the green has bunkers left and right. The 3rd is rated the easiest hole and is tied for the shortest hole. The only trouble is a bunker left. The 4th is the longest par four on the front and the drive is out of a chute. The raised green is protected by a large greenside bunker left and two pot bunkers right. The fifth is the shortest par five and very reachable, however, there is OB left. The 6th is a mid-length par four, however, the fairway runs out into a water hazard at about 290 yards and the green has small bunkers left and right. The 7th is a short par four with a small water carry. The fairway hourglasses with bunkers left and right about 75 yards out and the green is surrounded by four compass bunkers. The 8th is the longest par five and it slings left. Treelined right and wooded left favor right center off the tee. There is a greenside bunker front left. Three mediocre shots and you should have a chance at birdie. The 9th is a valley par 3. Narrow as it is also treelined with a bunker front left.
The back starts with a bang, the longest par four dogleg right. Ideal tee shot will be a high fade down the left side. Big hitters be forewarned there is a ravine that starts about 175 yards from the green. A deserving number one handicap hole. We get a chance to exhale on the mid-length par 3 11th. The 12th is a long par with another chute tee shot. Heavily treelined right and more left. By design there is only one bunker right. As a contrarian and an unrepentant hooker, I ended up in the right greenside bunker on the 2nd hole. The 13th is tied for the shortest hole with a greenside bunker left. The 14th is a straightaway par four with a small water carry. Greenside bunkers right and left. The 15th is a birdie hole. A short par five that bends right and is definitely reachable with greenside bunkers left and right. The 16th is a long par four with OB right and a greenside bunker left. The 17th is a good hole. A reachable par five, but there is risk. My recommendation is play it as a 3 shotter, if so, favor the left. If you have super powers favor the right. There is a creek in a ravine in front of the green, it is not user friendly, but hey if you want to go for it….oh, and there are right and left. The finishing hole is mid-length straightaway par four with fairway bunker and woods right, thus favor the left. Greenside bunker right.
I really like this course. Not exactly on the road to Damascus, but if travelling between Nashville and Memphis you gotta do it. I would pay to play it again and offer to pay for the nine holes from April 30, 2010.