Gatlinburg offers several outstanding golf courses in TN. Whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor game, all the different options may feel overwhelming. Golf is not just a solo activity. The game can be played with amateurs, friends, spouses, or children, depending on the course. The type of golf you’re interested in will impact how long the course is and where it’s located. Since Tennessee has so many courses available, narrowing it down is not as easy as it sounds.
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What are the best golf courses near Gatlinburg?
Courses near Gatlinburg have a unique view of the Smoky Mountains. For outdoor courses, Bent Creek Golf Club and Sevierville Golf Club are some of the most popular. Both courses are close to one another and provide challenging layouts. Blacklight golf and Circus golf are great for the kids.
While most people assume the best Gatlinburg courses are outside, indoor golf provides a unique experience. Even without children, mini-golf is a fun way to spend an afternoon in TN. Regardless of your experience, both choices are highly entertaining.
Thanks to golf course designer Gary Player, some of these courses have been built with a professional eye for distance and difficulty. In my opinion, serious golfers can enjoy Gatlinburg just as much as amateurs if they know which greens work best.
Golfing in The Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg is a popular weekend getaway for golf enthusiasts near Knoxville and Johnson City. Not only are the courses in Gatlinburg impressive, but the surrounding areas also offer high-quality grounds.
Golf courses located near the Smoky Mountains have appeared in Golf Digest and Southern Living for their beauty and design. Senior and junior golf tournaments are held in the city of Sevierville for state and town competitions. The geography boasts rugged terrain in addition to nearby attractions like spas and resort hotels.
Golf Courses Near Gatlinburg, TN
If you’re looking to get outside for a weekend, multiple courses exist in and around Gatlinburg. Since this is one of the most popular sports in the area, players of all ages can be seen swinging on the green.
If you’re looking for a challenging course that’s also relaxing; Brent Creek was designed by Gary Player. Although he’s known as “The Black Knight” because of his dark attire, Gary Player designed the course for comfort in the sun.
All skill levels are welcome on the course. One of its major perks is how friendly everyone seems. When I visited, both the staff and the players seemed very down-to-earth. This can be a real relief from other courses that are known for their complexity.
If you’re a new golfer, the staff offers tips for playing and gear. They also know about nearby trainers that can provide hands-on help.
The course has views of the Smoky Mountains and is kept in mint condition. It’s clean, and the grounds are well-manicured. If you plan to make a weekend out of golf, they also have a poolside resort.
Wild Laurel Golf Course is located in the Townsend area between the famous Smoky Mountains National Park and the Laurel Lake Nature Preserve. It’s a quiet area without a lot of commercial real estate or high-rise apartment buildings. Wild turkeys actually run free here.
The golf course offers a variety of unique challenges that are perfect for skilled golfers. Blind spots and narrow fairways are just two of them. The par 70 course isn’t only for skilled players and has open grounds that are clearly well-manicured.
There is a wildlife sanctuary nearby that tends to creep into view. Beautiful wildflowers and hummingbirds are not unusual.
Sevierville is very close to both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. The grounds are actually located around the mountains. Ponds and dips are natural and make the course more spontaneous. Two championship golf courses are open to the public.
A driving range can be found at their practice facility. Players pay a daily fee which includes access to this extensive area. The driving range has trees, grass, and a large putting ground.
Putting is an easy way to include kids in the golfing experience. Children that don’t have the strength to play on the course can practice by putting on the green. My dad took me outputting when I was nine, and I always thought all courses had a green. The fact this one does was not lost on me.
Their River Course extends across Little Pigeon River with a view of the foothills. This has fewer hills than the Highland Course and may be better suited for less experienced golfers. Once the day is done, Sevierville Golf Club does have prepared food and specials.
This course is approximately five miles from downtown Gatlinburg. It’s located in the nearby city of Pigeon Forge, TN. Currently, 18 holes are open for use, including their signature #12 hole, The Sky Hi. This features their famous 200ft drop.
The setting looks like something out of a calendar or advertisement. The mountains are in full view, and the grounds are perfectly manicured in all areas of the course. William Langford created the course, including the #3 hole called “Long Lane.”
Spectators do not have to pay a fee, but the typical price for a player is $16 for all 18 holes. There are discounts offered for those who are 65 and older. Veterans and active military rates are also available.
River Islands Golf Club is located in Kodak, TN, approximately 30 minutes from Gatlinburg. This scenic course is just across from the French Broad River and has views of the valleys and river. It is a public course but looks private with its phenomenal upkeep.
Three small islands affect the course. Holes 3,4,5,6,15, and 16 are played on each of the islands. Slopes and unexpected elevations can be found on two of the islands. The #3 hole requires the ball to pass over 100 yards of water.
Arthur Hills originally built this course in 1990. MiniVerde bentgrass was added with zoysia grass to distinguish the course from others. In addition to the course, a clubhouse is also on the grounds with a snack bar and pro shop.
Eagles Landing is located in Sevierville, TN, approximately 30 minutes from Gatlinburg. This is an 18-hole course with a driving range and practice area. Both advanced and beginning golfers can enjoy the course with their own golfing equipment.
The clubhouse has extremely hospitable staff. I forgot my usual credit card and only had my bank card with me. I wasn’t sure if they’d take it, but they were extremely accommodating. The restaurant has both snacks and meals, so if you’re hungry, don’t worry, there’s no need to drive.
The Pro Shop offers a decent selection for golfers. They have a wide price range for golfing accessories and balls. If you need a club, renting is also not a problem. The staff knows what to recommend and will actually give you tips about the course.
The Smoky Mountain Country Club is a semi-private facility with over 6,000 yards, of course. Although the resort and swimming areas are not for public use, their golf course does not restrict non-members.
The course originally opened in 1958 and has been operating ever since. Their new manager is Charles Gilland and can be found in the Proshop. If you’re concerned about how challenging the course is, staff can help you navigate the best route.
What makes this course unique is its accessibility. Although it is part of a semi-private club, golf can be played all year round. They offer a driving range, putting green, and golf tips. Their staff is also knowledgeable about trainers within the area.
Daindridge is approximately 30 minutes from Pigeon Forge. If you have the extra time to drive there, it’s a perfect place for beginners.
Their “Red Course” is a 9-hole course that offers over 3,000 yards of golf. The “White Course” has three par 3’s and three par 5’s on slightly sloping terrain. Although the grounds are often uneven, it’s still a comfortable course for beginners.
Daindridge Golf & Country Club provides both a restaurant and a snack bar. This is perfect if you need something small to eat while on the green. Their Proshop also rents clubs if you need a set. Tee times can be reserved for the weekends by their Proshop manager.
Indoor Golfing in Gatlinburg
Indoor golf can be played all year round, regardless of the weather. It makes for a great rainy-day activity or just a fun way to pass the time. Miniature golf courses have also become a popular date place for any age.
Blacklight Mini Golf course is an indoor golf course that looks like your friend’s psychedelic black light poster from college. It has an under-the-sea course with glowing tropical fish and a giant octopus. Mermaids and pirate ships can be found on the walls.
The course is 9 holes and they provide everything you need for $12. If you have children under 5, this is especially fun because there’s no cost for the kids. Blacklight Golf is located in the Reagan Terrace Mall in Gatlinburg.
Blindshot Barnaby’s Circus Golf is a wild experience. If you have vertigo or are prone to seizures, this is not your course.
Circus Golf an indoor course of 18 holes played through sparkling lights, a mirror maze, and colors. The staff provides you with your club and a pair of 3D glasses. From there, you golf through blacklight clowns and a series of mirrors. It’s a little like being in a haunted house with cheery circus music.
Pirate Golf is an 18-hole game located inside a game world called MagiQuest. MagiQuest is in Pigeon Forge, just a short drive from Gatlinburg.
The course is Caribbean-inspired and takes place in a fake pirate village with hidden treasure. Your goal is to find the treasure while simultaneously winning a round of golf. The artistic flare is worth viewing alone.
Hillbilly golf is a Tennessee staple. Only Gatlinburg can get away with hosting this unique course.
The course has been around for decades and still has that 1970s color to it. There are two 18-hole courses available, and they are both genuinely difficult. Expect to find outhouses, stills, and an incline rail that stretches up the side of a mountain.
The course faces downward, so if you’re afraid of heights, this might not be the course for you. If you’re not afraid, I highly recommend riding the mountain tram.
Tips for Golfing in Gatlinburg
Golfing in the Smoky Mountains is a captivating experience with wildflowers and craggy mountains in the distance. Many vacationers choose to golf in Gatlinburg even if they don’t know how to golf. If you’re looking for a beginner’s tutorial, these tips can help.
Practice During the Off-Season
The Smoky Mountains is a popular place during the summer, especially for golfers. Consider the off-season if you are a true beginner and feel uncomfortable practicing around others.
The off-season does not necessarily mean golfing in the winter. In fact, golfing during the early spring and late fall is one of the most peaceful times to practice. If you’d still rather golf during the summer months, try reserving a time beforehand. This way other golfers will not be right behind you.
Bring Bug Spray
Golf can take up an entire afternoon, depending on how many holes you play. Since many out-of-towners believe the Smoky Mountains will provide a dry climate, they neglect to bring repellant.
The Appalachians can quickly become humid and muggy. Bug spray is necessary throughout the spring and summer. Nats in particular have been known to cause issues on the golf course and may cause you to leave a game early. To avoid forfeiting, a small bottle of bug spray can do wonders on the course.
Ask the Pros
Golf equipment is unique. While certain clubs may look the same, many golfers prefer a certain brand or form. There is no right or wrong kind of club, but finding the one that’s right for you will help on the course.
Golf clubs that have a Proshop are convenient for multiple reasons. If you lose a ball, you can buy extras. If you need a club, you can rent one. Advice, however, is one of the best reasons to talk to staff.
Proshop staff members know how to play and which equipment is right for a particular person. They can also demonstrate how to swing or stand. For any questions about golf in the Smoky Mountains, the professionals can help.