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Tennessee: The perfect place for golf

Have you ever read one of those Top 10 Best Cities in which to live, and noticed they all seem to be in places that are really cold, really boring, or really expensive? Well, we feel the same way about all those Top 10 Golf State lists. Most of those rank states on the following criteria:

  • Most golfers in the state
  • Most passionate golfers
  • Total number of rounds played
  • Total number of golf courses

Of course the total number of golf courses is important, but we argue that the other three criteria lead to crowded, expensive courses. If you look at factors like weather, green fees and the quality of courses, you will see that Tennessee is the perfect place for golf.

The traditional top 5 in pictures

We spent hours searching the internet and found that, consistently, the following states rated the highest among most traditional golf indices.

5. South Carolina

OK, we pretty much love our fellow southern state of South Carolina. It has a lot of amazing things going for it, including reasonable prices and beautiful courses. That said . . .  have you ever been to South Carolina in the summer? It rivals New Orleans for humidity. Especially if you like to golf in the morning. This chart is for Myrtle Beach:

myrtle beachPIN

4. Michigan

This is the other end of the bad weather spectrum. In fact, Michigan (and golf rival Ohio) has the shortest playing season of all Golf Magazine’s top ranked golf states.

michigan weather croppedPIN

3. California

Lots of courses, great weather, but have you looked at the prices lately? And yes, these are in American dollars:

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Resort Guests $495
Non-Resort Guests $495 + cart fee
Cart Fee $40 per person
Caddie Fee $80 per bag
Forecaddie $40 pp/3 player min.
Rental Clubs $95 per bag + tax
* From October 1 through November 30, golf rates are $525 for Resort Guests and $525+cart fee for Non-Resort Guests.


2. Arizona

Ever played golf in the middle of a desert? I’m sorry, but even if it’s a dry heat, if it’s above 100 degrees it’s still RIDICULOUSLY hot.


1.The always top-ranked Florida

Need we say more?

not the perfect place for golfPIN

A new way of ranking golf states

As part of our Tennessee: The Perfect Place series, we think it is important to focus on a new set of criteria. These are factors that don’t reward status and prestige, but rather a low key, high quality lifestyle. With this in mind we think the following things are most important in ranking a state’s golf portfolio:

  • Weather
  • Value
  • Number and quality of golf courses


Tennessee has some of the most moderate weather in the US. Not too cold in winter, not too hot in summer. This translates to it having some of the most playable days per year.

chattannooga weather croppedPIN


If you’re like us here at The River Club and simply love the game, you like to play a lot. If you’re retired, it becomes important to have reasonable rates. This is where golfing in Tennessee really becomes advantageous. There are a number of amazing courses (see below) that you can play at extremely reasonable rates. We like to call it “attainable luxury.” In fact, according to the National Golf Federation’s survey of green fees, Tennessee was the fifth cheapest state in the country to play golf, with an average greens fee of $37.40.

Number and quality of golf courses

Tennessee has a large number of golf courses. In fact, with 336 courses, this is where Tennessee consistently  ranks the highest in more traditional golf rankings. You can chose from the Jack Nicklaus designed Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain, the historic Honors Course outside Chattanooga (home to this year’s US Junior Amateur’s Championship), or the PGA’s highest recommended golf course in Tennessee, the President’s Reserve at The Hermitage, located along the banks of the beautiful Cumberland River.

These are just a few highlights. To learn more about the amazing golf Tennessee has to offer, here are some links:


The Honors Course in Chattanooga


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