The Fall of 2015 brought me to the Chattanooga area to play Lookout Mountain and Black Creek. While a nine hole course called Sweetens Cove was scheduled for the last day of the itinerary, I had a long drive back home and planned on skipping it to leave in the morning. Rain decided to complicate the days we were down there and the maiden rounds at Black Creek were in just about as heavy of a down pour as I’ve ever played. The next morning driving up to Lookout Mountain, the rain continued and as I stepped in the clubhouse, was met with the rest of our group in a holding pattern. The course had taken on too much water to play.
I don’t know who, but some brilliant soul called Sweetens Cove to see what the weather was down there and was told the course was open, no rain in sight. Then and there we switched the round at Lookout to the next day and all headed to Sweetens.
I knew nothing of the course, like most everyone back then. I was just happy to play golf. The drive to the course did not seem promising but I held out hope the place was selected to play by the group for some reason. Pulling up and parking on the gravel, I stepped out my car, aghast. The course laid out before me, it looked pure and peaceful and delectable. As our group was just as amazed along with the countless others from then to now, the thrill and surprise of such a course out there in what seemed like the middle of no where instilled an exciting sense of discovery. Surveying the course after getting out of my car and still in shock, I photographed the view to capture it, before I came to my senses and it possibly disappeared.
I believe we paid $50 to play as many holes as we wanted. Rob Collins drove around the course in a golf cart and asked us what we thought. I talked to him about the place for a bit before I had to figure out how to coax my ball close to the hole at the Second. We hung out on the porch drinking Bud Lites, then would go out for another nine holes when the mood struck. What started as a day of rain dread turned into a wonderful day of enjoyment and discovery.
That is the story the photo that is in “Golf Architecture – A Worldwide Perspective, V. 7.” It appears in Derek Duncan’s article, who is now Architecture Editor for Golf Digest. For those unfamiliar with Derek, his “Feed the Ball” podcast is a fountain of course design insight and I have learned an immense amount by listening to it. Anyone interested in enriching their course design knowledge should absolutely give it a go, early and often.
A heartfelt thanks to Derek and Paul for including the photo. Being a big fan of Derek, then hearing from him that he was perusing the site and wanted to use that photo of Sweetens, was just as thrilling as that day of golf way back when.