Tennessee's Holston Hills Continues to Shine
By Dave Daubert
Since its debut in 1927, Holston Hills Country Club on the northeast side of Knoxville, Tenn., has played an integral role in the game of golf.
Set near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains on 180 open acres of rolling old farmland tucked into a bend in the Holston River, Holston Hills boasts a magnificent, Donald Ross-designed golf course.
Holston Hills has always been highly regarded among the country's most prestigious golf course rankings. Such recognition continues in 2022.
In Golfweek's prestigious "Best Classic Courses 2022" - the top 200 golf courses built before 1960 - Holston Hills ranked No. 101 in America. In Golfweek's "Best Private Courses 2022" - a state-by-state ranking of private courses - Holston Hills ranked No. 2 in Tennessee behind the Pete Dye-designed Honors Course in Ooltewah.
In the 2021-22 Golf Digest state-by-state rankings of all courses, public and private, Holston Hills was ranked No. 6 in the state. In addition, as it approaches its 100th anniversary, the Ross design is consistently ranked among the country's top 100 by Golf Magazine.
"Holston Hills takes great pride in its consistent recognition as one of the most well-preserved Donald Ross courses in the country," said Chris Dibble, General Manager and Director of Golf at Holston Hills. "We believe this philosophy is the reason the golf course continues to be recognized as one of the country's top classical designs."
The co-founder of the Donald Ross Society, Michael J. Fay, has said that he would rather play Holston Hills on a regular basis than any other golf course in the South. Acclaimed golf course architect Tom Doak says Holston Hills is the closest golf course around to what Ross originally designed.
The club has played host to many national events in its history, including the PGA Tour's Knoxville Invitational, which was captured by Byron Nelson in 1945 during a historic season that included a record-setting 18 victories. Holston Hills welcomed the 2004 USGA Women's Mid-Amateur Championship and has also played host to numerous Tennessee PGA Championships.
McConnell Golf purchased Holston Hills in late 2015 and has invested millions in capital improvements. In 2019, the PGA Tour and TOUR Vision Promotions signed a five-year agreement with Holston Hills to host the Korn Ferry Tour's Visit Knoxville Open.
McConnell Golf Founder and CEO John McConnell said he knew Holston Hills was a special place from the moment he set foot on the property. "It immediately reminded me of Shinnecock Hills," McConnell recalls, referencing the storied eastern Long Island golf club that was a founding member of the USGA and has hosted five U.S. Open Championships.
McConnell Golf is the only individual golf course proprietor in the world that owns four Ross-designed courses.
"I knew when I saw Holston Hills that it would be a great addition to our golf portfolio," McConnell said. "It's a 'must-play' for our members. Holston Hills enjoys a proud past and we think that it has a great future as well."
Revised: 06/29/2022 - Article Viewed 6,679 Times
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About: Dave Daubert
David has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.