Sweetens Cove Golf Club
Having opened in 2014, Sweetens Cove Golf Club is nestled in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. In a town with a population of roughly 3,000 people, this nine-hole course wasn’t built like most golf courses. Featured in a New York Times Article, architect and owner-operator Rob Collins hired a crew and spent roughly $1 million to build the course from scratch, without help from any golf course design firms. Players can walk the course for $25, or for $35 can take out a cart to play. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you can play the course all day with a cart for only $100. Prepare to bring some breakfast for the breakfast ball, because there’s no clubhouse to get food, only a shed where you check-in. What makes this course fun is players get a little taste of everything. From drivable par 4s, to lengthy and hilly greens, expect everything but the kitchen sink. Since its opening, several household names have joined Collins’ to be an investor including Peyton Manning and Andy Roddick.
|Red (W)||36||2272 yards||33.4||109|
|Black M: 36.6/123||563||375||582||169||293||456||328||387||148||3301||3301|
|Blue M: 35.4/121||503||352||536||169||293||434||313||361||132||3093||3093|
|White M: 33.1/111||469||311||477||146||229||388||257||333||116||2726||2726|
|Red W: 33.5/109||401||242||393||114||199||326||224||285||88||2272||2272|
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Golf Advisor: Top Courses in Tennessee
Photo submitted by xkyleclark3 on 10/04/2019
Photo submitted by xkyleclark3 on 10/04/2019
Photo submitted by xkyleclark3 on 10/04/2019
Photo submitted by BrandonTuckerGA on 10/01/2019
Photo submitted by BrandonTuckerGA on 10/01/2019
Photo submitted by JayRevell on 10/22/2018
Photo submitted by Nash3500578 on 11/24/2017
Golf Advisor Getaway at Sweetens Cove
Having heard so much about the course, I was eager to check it out! It was in pretty nice shape considering the lack of rain in the area. Off the tee the course was pretty forgiving and right in front of you. Once you get to the green complexes, look out! It is as if there are buried elephants all throughout. Plenty of undulation and slope on every one of them. Each green has to flags to differentiate the nines. Course management is of the utmost importance here and you need to give yourself the proper club and angle into the greens. This course may not be for everyone, but it is definitely worth playing to find out!
Just wrapped up a 45-hole day at Sweetens on our Golf Advisor Getaway. We rented the course for the day and had it to ourselves. I walked 18, then we played the “Illuminati routing” and then went back out for 18 more in a cart. Obviously I wouldn’t have spent 10 hours here if I didn’t find the place fascinating. Not everyone in our group loved the greens. They are definitely severe, especially where some of the pins were (they set up two pins per green so you could play 18 different holes easily). I can see how higher handicaps could have a hard time. I found them to be mesmerizing. The feeling you get when you hit a crisp chip or deft approach stiff is very Pinehurst or St Andrews-esque. Rewarding but also treacherous. Prepare for some humbling moments. The course off the tee is pretty forgiving and the short par 4s are wildly fun. The 7th green takes no prisoners.
Fresh off their recent investment, Sweetens has more maintenance staff and new equipment. A new putting course is grassed and should be done soon. I’m excited to continue to watch this place evolve, and hope it gives tired nine-holers around the country the inspiration to try something bold. It’s better to make a statement than to be bland.
The fairways are wide and the greens are very undulating. There are waste areas and bunkers everywhere. If you want to play a links style course, go here! I will definitely be going back here in the near future! They don’t make very many golf courses like this anymore.
Get some carts Sweetens Cove
Drove 2 hrs to play the course. Check in for our tee time where we’re told, very rudely I might add, that “there are no more carts”. Guy preceded to just stare at us with no explanation & doesn’t care how long we drove to get there. Hey Sweetens Cove: you’re the “#1 course in the state”. Get some carts. And a decent staff. It’s 95 degrees outside
Will not be back.
The most fun I’ve had on a course in years!
The statement “golf the way it was meant to be played” was written for this place. It is an amazing layout, an easy walk and soooooo much fun to play!
As Good as Advertised
I wish I could play this course every day. It reminded me a lot of Pinehurst No. 2, but more fun.
Confessions of a Cove Dweller
Sweetens Cove is my favorite golf course in America. I should mention that because if you have never been before the initial arrival can be quite jarring or inspiring depending on your perspective. I believe that Sweetens Cove is a Rorschach test for golfers in that you can see whatever you want to see in the place.
If you believe golf should be about a great course design, endless strategic value, and places that inspire the deepest possible sense of camaraderie than Sweetens Cove is a wonderland. If you like big fancy clubhouses, expensive grill menus, and high priced pro shops then this may not suite your tastes. Sweetens Cove is home to one of the best designed American golf courses built in the past decade, but there are virtually no amenities to speak of. The "clubhouse" is a shed on the hill of the parking lot and the only bathroom is a port-o-john. Some carts are available, but walking is the best way to get around. There is no bar, no food, and no fuss. If you go to Sweetens Cove, you go for the golf and the golf there is incredible.
The course was built as a redesign from and existing course that was largely a featureless local hangout, but the design-build firm of Rob Collins and Tad King have transformed the property into what has become a cult phenomenon for golf architecture geeks. Sweetens Cove sits in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley and is surrounded by the charm of the Blue Ridge mountains. The golf course compliments its natural surroundings in a most impressive fashion and the details of the design leave players feeling like they are walking through a work of art.
Sweetens Cove has been featured in many major publications and has even hosted large gatherings of golf influencers on multiple occasions. Those who frequent the austere accommodations of the course are proud to call themselves the Sweetens Cove Illuminati. I like to think of myself as a Cove dweller who can't get enough of the place. It takes me six hours in the car to get to South Pittsburg, Tennessee and every time I make the drive I do it with a smile and car full of supplies to make the trip a memorable one. If you want to find the most uniquely satisfying golf experience in America, you need to pack your things and get to Sweetens Cove.
If you go, be sure to stop in the shed and ask for Rob, Patrick, or Nash and ask them to tell you a little bit about the place. Rob told me once that his favorite quality of the course was that it has soul. I agree with him and for my money there is no other course in the country that offers such a rewarding experience every time I go. I am a Cove dweller for life and I can't wait to get back to that little valley in the Tennessee mountains for another walk around my favorite course.
The good...the bad....and the ugly
The Good---A very enjoyable Mike Strantz copy in middle of nowhere Tenn.
The Bad----I haven't seen this amount of crabgrass in a fairway in over 20 years. Customer service...what customer service?
The Ugly----The only porta potty on the property would make a billygoat puke.
Play it once but don't pay full rake rate and ask about the current conditions.
Gorgeous is all I can say!
This course is absolutely gorgeous. Me and my buddies played 36 and loved every minute of it. Never mind that the off course amenities are lacking. We came there for the golf and weren't disappointed. Pack a lunch and play all day! Would drive the 1hr45min any time. The only negative was when we were leaving, the shack boy told us to clean out our carts. Huh?
Unique, beautiful course!
First impression was not good! I’d seen the online ad with beautiful pictures of each hole! We arrived to
a most unfriendly young man sitting on the porch of the “golf shack”. I asked where the putting green was.. he laughed.. and pointed to a circle of grass about 10’ in diameter with one hole!
He told us to grab a cart that was parked next to the building. It had old used cigarette butts inthe ball holder and the whole cart was full of cobwebs. When I asked for a scorecard, he said there was one on the cart... failed to mention it was a used card. He did give me a new card when I asked. The only restroom is a porta potty by the first tee... only one on the course!
There are no yardage markers, nor any water on the course! It was 90 degrees and not one of the three water jugs on the course had any water! There are no rakes in the traps.... and no map on the scorecard or tee marker maps!
The course, especially greens were beautiful!
Just too bad they don’t take the extra step and add a few basic things to make the experience enjoyable!!
Glad we played but won’t be back!
This place is awesome
This is pure golf - an absolute treat if you love the game. No fancy club house, no driving range, no practice green - just 9 of the best holes of golf you will ever play. It is a thinking mans golf course where every hole gives you multiple options off the tee and then coming into the green.
Don't play just 9. Plan to play at least 18 and you will not be disappointed.
Great course for kids or players who don't hit it far because there are no forced carries and always options for coming into the green. I'm a 2 handicap and found it to be a great test of golf. Beautiful views, beautiful course, and a layout you won't forget.
As a kicker, the staff is super-friendly, including club owner Rob.
Hidden Gem - Highly Recommended
Great hidden course with very challenging greens.
- Course condition
- Pace of play
- Need more yardage markers
- Need to have SkyGolf/SkyCaddie map the course with GPS
- Wish it was 18 holes
- No practice/warm-up areas of any kind
Awesome Nine Hole Course
The course is fantastic from start to finish. Every hole requires thought and strategy to play properly and score well. The greens are all fantastic, having significant undulation changes.
So much fun to play! Great design for all skill levels to enjoy. Amazing to see the before and after pictures of this redesign. If you have a chance gooooo play this track.
The Pinehurst/Southern Pines, N.C. areas has become one of my favorite golf destinations, particularly in the colder months. After reading about Sweetens Cove and seeing pictures online, I knew I needed to make the two-hour drive and come see this place for myself. I have not encountered a course so similar to those of the North Carolina sandbelt. I did not know the course that existed here before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it must have been a monumental change. The ownership pours the money into the golf course, not amenities, and I am totally fine with that. There is no paved parking lot. No driving range. No practice green. The only restroom is a Port-a-John near the first tee. Something resembling a snack shack usually located at the turn serves as the clubhouse. And this is what is so striking about this place - the contrast between the golf course and everything else. I knew I would like the place while perusing the back of the scorecard before teeing off, which reads: "USGA Rules of Golf govern play at all times. Replace divots. Repair ball marks. Smooth sand before exiting hazards. Enter and exit all hazards at their shallowest points. With respect to all other matters, common sense shall be exercised." It is rare to be able to play some of the green-side shots required here in a non-links environment, but you will. The variety of the holes are quite good. The par-3 4th's green is 20,000 square feet. The pin placements on this serpentine green are endless and it is quite a sight. I have had the good fortune of playing several Biarritz greens in my life, but all have been on par 3s. The 8th hole is a par 4 with a Biarritz green that has a four-foot swale dividing it. The 9th is the best par-3 finishing hole I've ever encountered. It's not quite a true redan hole, but it is so wide that you can truly play a sweeping right to left shot that will roll nearly 50 yards. The cape-style 6th is a monster that is the hardest hole on the course in my opinion. Hard par, easy bogey. I rarely walk and play anymore, but chose to do so here and I'm glad I did. It is an easy walk with little to no elevation change. Finally, I went with the intention of just playing nine, but quickly changed my mind midway through the first 9. Course knowledge of seeing it once around was worth three strokes. I will definitely be back.
The most fun you will have on a golf course
This is the most fun you will ever have on the golf course!
The course conditioning was perfect, playing firm and fast similar to Irish links. And what can I say about the greens beside WOW! The strategic contouring allows for many creative shots to be played into, and on the greens. The greens are wildly entertaining, similar to the famous Tom Doak designed green complexes at Ballyneal. An absolute design genius by Rob Collins...kudos! This is the most fun you will ever have putting.
The course is perfectly conditioned, with fabulous scenery. It's almost like your playing an ocean side course, but better and at the foothills of the mountains.
Great layout, fair course, amazing scenery, and just a pleasure to play. If I lived local, Sweetens Cove would instantaneously have one more member. Please do yourself a favor and play this course as soon as possible, it is a once in a lifetime experience. Also an enjoyable walk.
It's a must
This golf course is something really special. If you ever get a chance to play.....do it. You will not be disappointed.
Very Undulating Greens - Very Unique Course
I first drove by this course a few years ago and saw it was clearly under construction, so when I had an opportunity to play it, I read the reviews on here and decided to give it a try. It's one of the most unique courses I've ever played, with the Australian sand belt look. I would rate this course as enjoyable, but the huge flaw to me were the extremely undulating greens. I realize what they were trying to do here with sectioning the greens, a great idea, but they way overdid it. Had the undulations been reduced to what I would consider reasonable, this would truly be a great course and I would have given it 5 stars. Having said that, the greens are NOT unfair, just overdone.