Golf Course Reviews

The Course at Sewanee | 9.4 Score

The Course at Sewanee
The boutique, 43-room Sewanee Inn sits mere steps from the eighth green at The Club at Sewanee on the University of the South campus in Sewanee, Tenn., and offers panoramic views of the nine-hole course.

Location: Sewanee, Tenn.
Course architect: The Right Rev. Albion W. Knight
Opened: 1915
Renovated: 2013 | Gil Hanse
Par: 36 
Tees — Yardage | Rating / Slope
Purple (aka “Tiger”) tees — 6,702 (3,312 and 3,390 yards for two loops around the nine-hole course) | 72.8 / 133
White — 6,309 (3,095 and 3,214) | 72.5 / 131
Gold — 5,251 (2,621 and 2,630) | 71.3 / 121
Gold — 5,251 (2,621 and 2,630) | 71.3 / 121
Saturday morning green fee: $ (under $50)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: 419 Bermudagrass
Greens: T1 Alpha bentgrass

9.4 Fun Meter

Starter: Golf has been played at tiny Sewanee on the Cumberland Plateau for more than a century, but the game was reborn atop 1,923-foot Monteagle in recent years. The University of the South, an 1,800-student Episcopal Church-affiliated liberal-arts school that is popularly known as Sewanee, experienced the good fortune of hiring Gil Hanse to redesign its scruffy, woebegone on-campus nine-holer. Shortly thereafter, Hanse would become world-renowned for designs of the 2016 Olympic Course in Rio de Janeiro and, more recently, the Black Course at Streamsong (Fla.) Resort. Hanse’s blend of minimalism and appreciation for Sewanee’s history make the 2013 renovation one of the game’s greatest modern facelifts. 

Play because …: As much as the U.S. Golf Association has tried to popularize the notion to “play nine,” nothing hooks the time-sensitive golfer more than a well-designed and -maintained mountaintop routing. The Course at Sewanee unfurls as an enjoyable walk on rolling terrain, with each tee just steps from the previous green. This nine-holer is so much fun that you will want to play it a second time to appreciate the varied angles and approaches from alternate tees. Hanse offers a sporty mix of par 4s, including the drivable fourth, and takes advantage of the Cumberland Plateau’s long views with two short-to-mid-iron par 3s. Golfweek magazine ranks Sewanee as the No. 2 public-access course in Tennessee, behind only another recent nine-hole revival, Sweetens Cove, just down the mountain in South Pittsburg. 

Takeaway: The Course at Sewanee is walkable, affordable, strategic and offers a minimalist agronomy theme in tune with its surroundings. This is golf the way that it was meant to be played. If your physical condition allows it, stride right past the carts and onto the first tee for an enjoyable walk reminiscent of the game’s roots. 

RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food: 7.0
Pro shop: 7.0
Clubhouse: 8.0
Course difficulty: 8.0
Pace of play: 8.0

Best par 3: No. 3 (187 | 163 | 140 yards)
With bunkers guarding the steep fall-off on the left side and the front approach, this scenic par 3 steers the prudent player toward the right side of the green with a short-to-mid-iron approach. The infinity-like backdrop overlooking the mountain valley to the north offers the best view on the course, although the vantage point from behind the par-3 fifth is a very close second. 

Best par 4: No. 8 (313 | 315 | 268 yards)
A tight driving hole places a premium on accuracy. The penal “Bishop’s Nose” bunker complex – a nod to the course’s creator, the Right Rev. Albion W. Knight, and homage to the iconic Principal’s Nose on the 16thhole at St. Andrews Old Course – guards the ideal landing spot in the middle of the fairway. The second shot gets no easier as the elevated green guarded by six bunkers demands a precise wedge. Play this hole well and you might be applauded from the guests at the Sewanee Inn, the reimagined boutique hotel that frames the back of the green.

Best par 5: No. 9 (513 | 504 | 459 yards)
Hanse’s finishing hole, which plays along the western edge of the property, used to be the opening hole, when the ramshackle clubhouse sat at the foot of the inn and tennis complex. The hole plays as a par 5 for the front nine and a stout par 4 for the back nine. A 4 from either set of tees is a job well done.

Phone: 931.598.1104
Phone: 931.598.1104
Facebook: @The-Course-at-Sewanee
Instagram: N/A
Twitter: @CourseAtSewanee

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