Located in Williamson County, The Grove is a private 1,100-acre gated community and the golfing centrepiece is a Greg Norman Signature Design, which is fast becoming known as one of Middle Tennessee’s best layouts.
The Grove is a modern Greg Norman design located just southeast of the metro Nashville area. The course is set in a very high end housing development with some of the surrounding homes stretching in the multi-million dollar range. I just finished playing the course in the Tennessee Golf Association senior four ball tournament and I think it can be difficult to objectively evaluate a course when you are playing competitively versus playing for pure enjoyment. That being said I will try to give my honest assessment of the course as it presented.
On the positive side the course is in immaculate condition. The zoysia fairways were stunning and the Bermuda greens putted beautifully although at 12-13 on the stimp they were quite a challenge. However I found the overall design philosophy of the course to be quite frustrating and lacking any real imagination. The biggest problem is hat the course is routed through the flattest part of the property through bottom land dominated by creeks and wetlands. I assume this decision was forced on the designers to preserve the elevated parts of the property for home sites. The overall affect is that the course felt wet and “swampy” to me for lack of a better term. The only interesting flow to the land is on he first two holes, then after that the course is almost completely flat. What follows is a combination of flat holes that are usually bunkered on one side with a wetland lateral hazard on the other. However the flat terrain leads to the biggest problem with the layout. In order to add interest to the terrain almost every green is built up on a mound with massive 15-20 foot slopes running off the sides. The greens are quite big, but there is almost never a bail out or safe play. The internal contours of the green are quite severe, and with the grain of the Bermuda they were extremely hard to judge. I think the fact that I made it through 36 homes with only one 3 putt was the highlight of he tournament for me. In essence you have a large number of island greens. It was not unusual for a ball to land near the hole then pitch forward off the firm green and then run some 20 to 30 yards off the green, leaving a pitch up a sleep slope, often with the green running away from you.
There were a few interesting holes, especially the redan style par 3 fifth and the closing par 5 eighteenth is a nice risk-reward hole with a well placed hazard to the left and an adequate lay up are to the right.
This course is probably a good design for tournament play due to the precision required for both the long and short game, but I would find it hard to enjoy this course on a daily basis.