In this blog post we explore some of the best public golf courses in Nashville, the beating heart of the state of Tennessee. 

This immensely popular city is located along the meandering Cumberland River and is right in the epicenter of this great state. With its international airport, it is also easy to access.

Nashville is known worldwide as the Music City, and the go-to place to experience country music. The birthplace of bluegrass, it also has a thriving soul, pop and rock scene. 

But there is so much more to Nashville than just music. Foodies come to lose themselves in the burgeoning food scene. And yes, if you like hot chicken, this is the right place. 

History and culture buffs will also find plenty to do – this really is a city which caters for every taste.

And then comes the golf. It might not be the first place you think of to go on a golf vacation. It’s certainly not a purists destination. But rest assured, there are plenty of good public golf courses near Nashville to keep you entertained.

See also: What are the best public golf courses in Memphis, Tennessee?

The best public golf courses in Nashville, Tennessee

RankGolf Course
1Hermitage Golf Course (President’s Reserve)
2Greystone Golf Club
3Gaylord Springs & Golf Links
4The Legacy Golf Course
5Cedar Crest Golf Club
6Hermitage Golf Course (General’s Retreat)
7Ted Rhodes Golf Course
8Harpeth Hills Golf Course
9McCabe Golf Course
Table showing the best public golf courses in Nashville

Best for…

Value for moneyTed Rhodes Golf Course
GroupsHermitage Golf Course
ClubhouseGaylord Springs & Golf Links
ViewsGreystone Golf Club

1. Hermitage Golf Course (President’s Reserve & General’s Retreat)

Hermitage Golf Course aerial, Nashville, Tennessee, Permision Given - resized

The question repeated over and over again is surely Hermitage Golf Course is private?! Well no folks, this is 100% open to the public. 

And the best part, there isn’t one, but two high caliber championship courses. This is public golf in Nashville at its best.

The club is located alongside the meandering Cumberland River, on a vast plot of natural Tennessee wetlands. Waterways, lakes and dense forests fill the landscape.

And all of this is accessible in just under half an hour’s drive from downtown Nashville.

The two courses are the President’s Reserve and the General’s Retreat, with the latter the first to arrive in 1986. It was designed by architect Gary Roger Baird.

From the back tees the course measures 6,773 yards and offers an enjoyable round of golf. Forgiving landing areas and large greens ensure playing here isn’t overly taxing. 

Although don’t expect this to be a complete walk in the park. It’s worth appreciating this is a course which has hosted the LPGA Sara Lee Classic for over a decade. 

Hermitage Golf Course, Nashville, Tennessee, Permision Given - resized

However, the real highlight of the Hermitage Golf Course is the President’s Reserve layout. This opened fourteen years after General’s Retreat and was designed by Denis Griffiths. 

The course is routed through 300 acres of wetlands and from the back tees, plays to nearly 7,200 yards.

There is a wide variety of holes to tackle as well as hazards to avoid. Particularly the bunkers, which are reminiscent of those at Bethpage with long fingers waiting to grab stray balls.

Course conditioning is always in great shape, whilst the greens are firm and roll true. It really is a magnificent layout.

With six sets of tees, make sure you choose yours wisely, as at times the course can play long.

2. Greystone Golf Club

Greystone Golf Club, Nashville, Tennessee, Permission Given - resized

A forty-five minute drive west out of Nashville, towards the historic city of Dickson, is the superb Greystone Golf Club. Without doubt, this is one of the best public golf courses near Nashville. 

The course was designed by the former PGA Tour pro Mark McCumber, who has gone on to enjoy a hugely successful career in course architecture. And Greystone Golf Club is right up there as one of his finest works. 

The course opened in 1998, and since then has gone on to host many of the state’s highest profile events. None more so than the Tennessee Open, which it has hosted on numerous occasions. 

Moreover, it was used for PGA Tour Qualifying, PGA Tour School Qualifying and qualifying for Senior Tour events.

The quality of the course conditioning is second to none, and certainly one of the reasons many people come back time and time again. 

From the back tees, the course reaches just shy of 6,900 yards, which can feel much longer when the wind blows. A large part of the course has a links-style feel to it, with very little foliage surrounding the undulating fairways. 

There are a handful of holes which play through the trees. But most of the time you’ll be out battling the elements.

Great value and well worth the trip out of Nashville.

See also: What are the best golf courses in Alabama?

3. Gaylord Springs & Golf Links

Just a twenty minute drive out of town, Gaylord Springs Golf Links is one of the best public golf courses in Nashville. 

The club occupies a magnificent plot of land which sits right alongside the snaking Cumberland River. Beautifully verdant, the course has been routed through large water features and wetland areas. 

Unsurprisingly, water is one of the main hazards as you play this Larry Nelson designed gem. Nelson, who won the US Open and PGA Championship, has subsequently been responsible for some superb course designs. 

As the name suggests, Gaylord Springs & Golf Links is links in style, with deep bunkers and rolling grass mounds flanking fairways. Every now and again, large limestone bluffs project out and create a distinct character. This is especially prominent as you move inland towards the mountain shelf. 

The greens are more often than not in phenomenal condition, and definitely some of the best in the city. 

Yes this is an outstanding course in Nashville, but it is also one of the more expensive. As for the cost, the club operates a dynamic pricing policy, yet expect to pay well over $100 to play here.

4. The Legacy Golf Course

The Legacy Golf Course, Nashville, Tennessee, Permission Given - resized

Up in Robertson County, driving towards the Kentucky state line, is the fantastic The Legacy. This has long been considered one of the finest public courses in Nashville, and for good reason.

Forty minutes drive north from Nashville, the course is located in a large plot characterized by the rolling hills of the Tennessee countryside and patches of woodland. 

Due to the club’s commitment to conservation, protecting the environment and providing habitats for wildlife, it was certified as Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International. It is this backdrop you get to enjoy when playing here.

Designed by the PGA Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd, the course opened for play in 1996. 

At 6,755 yards, it isn’t the longest, but The Legacy is considered challenging. Aside from the subtle movement in the topography and the odd occasions of water, it is the narrow fairways which most struggle with. 

With this in mind, it is definitely a shot-makers course, where hitting long isn’t critical. It’s hitting straight!

That said, don’t be put off. It is a fun layout with exceptional greens, set within an idyllic location. 

See also: What are the best public golf courses in Atlanta, Georgia?

5. Cedar Crest Golf Club

Cedar Crest Golf Club, Nashville, Tennessee, Facebook reiszed

Not far from the Nashville Speedway and the city of Smyrna and Williamsburg, is Cedar Crest Golf Club. It is located in Murfreesboro, some forty five minutes from Nashville.

This great layout in Middle Tennessee opened in 1999, and ever since then has been one of the most popular public golf courses in Nashville.

Like a number of courses on this list, the setting is superb. Immensely peaceful with some delightful views in what is a relatively flat landscape. 

It is across these 175 yards of farmland Cedar Crest has been routed and from the back tees, extends to over 6,800 yards.

The course is arguably a tale of two halves. On the front nine, golfers have more space to spread the ball off the tee. But certainly on the back nine, the already tight fairways become even more narrow. 

It’s worth knowing you won’t necessarily lose your ball if you don’t hit the fairway, so in that respect it is approachable to higher handicap golfers.

When visiting, make sure you reserve some time to sit in the traditional clubhouse which is full of character. 

7. Ted Rhodes Golf Course

Ted Rhodes Golf Course, Nashville, Tennessee, Permission Given

Formerly called the Cumberland Golf Course, Ted Rhodes Golf Course is as close to the city center as you’ll get. 

Alongside Shelby Golf Course, which is another of the municipally owned and operated golf courses, it is less than a ten minute drive from downtown.

This superb public golf facility has existed in Nashville since 1953, when the original 9-holes were built. Yet it wasn’t until 1992 that the course was expanded to its present day 18-holes.

And in the interim period, in 1969, the course changed its name. This was done in honor of easy-going Theodore ‘Ted’ Rhodes, who was a black golfer from Nashville, and recognised as the first African-American professional golfer.

The club occupies a prime spot right next to the Cumberland River. The course is links-style, with vast lakes dotted all throughout. These really are your main obstacles, so if you’re hitting the fairway off the tee, you should be in good shape.

The greens are large, offering big targets for your approach shots. 

Being so close to the river, golfers will also enjoy ample wildlife including muskrat, beavers and turtles. 

This is a wonderful location, a great fun course and superb value. 

8. Harpeth Hills Golf Course

One of the finest public golf facilities in the state of Tennessee. That’s what you’ll get at Harpeth Hills Golf Course.

This outstanding public layout first opened back in 1965 and was designed by the duo of Allen Brown and Herschel Eaton. 

But what really put this public facility on the map was the 1991 redesign led by Ed Conners. The main goal of the project was to showcase the magnificent natural landscape, as well as to improve the playability. 

And that it did, with the course soon after becoming a regional qualifying site for the USGA Public Links Championship. 

But the investment didn’t stop there, with in 2017 new green complexes being installed at great cost. 

From the back tees, Harpeth Hills plays just short of 6,900 yards, which can feel significantly longer if the wind is blowing. 

With incredibly affordable rates, it is difficult to find somewhere better value. And this all played in a beautiful natural wildlife habitat less than thirty minutes drive from downtown.

See also: What are the best public golf courses in Charlotte, North Carolina?

9. McCabe Golf Course

Over in Sylvan Park to the west of the city, is the 27 hole public golf facility of McCabe Golf Course.

Like Harpeth Hills and Ted Rhodes, both on this list, McCabe Golf Course is owned and operated by the city. This is why it is so affordable.

But its popularity doesn’t just stem from the fact it is cheap. Oh no. It is a great course and with the three loops of 9-holes, offers plenty of variety to visiting golfers. 

The three nines are called the South, Middle and North, with the original 18-hole layout consisting of the South and Middle. This opened in 1942, whilst the North nine followed several years later. 

Parkland in style, expect verdant tree-lined fairways. The greens are generally quite large, although a number are very well protected by bunkers. The North particularly has a number of elevation changes adding another challenge to contend with.

Depending upon which tee box you choose, will clearly impact how challenging the course plays. But even if you are struggling to hit the fairways, you should easily find your ball amongst the trees.

Great municipal golf course in Nashville available for great value.

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