Sweetens Cove is TOO good

I’m a lurker on here and don’t post often, but I read just about every thread. Obviously, plenty of those have had a lot of hype about Sweetens Cove.

To that point, I am going to Louisville for work next week and I live in Atlanta. Is Sweetens Cove THAT good that I can justify driving to Louisville (6.5 hours) versus flying (1.5 hours)? If I drive, I will come within 10 minutes of Sweetens and definitely break up the travel with 18 holes out there. I am inclined to make the drive because of all I have heard about the course, but I need some to tell me I’m not crazy for deciding to make that drive.

I had a fun time playing out there. That said, I personally think solo golf is a little lonely. I’d be way more interested in a group outing than just zipping around solo in 2.5 hours.

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I’ve heard a lot, read a bunch including the article in Golfer’s Journal #2 and am heading down there next week myself. Looking forward to see if it lives up to the hype. I’m down to play a loop.

It might be TOO good. It’s definitely worth the drive from Atlanta.

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Yes, it’s different and not your conventional 18 holes but I thoroughly enjoyed my day there, solo.

I showed up when it looked like they said they “opened” and met Patrick sitting on the ‘porch’ of the ‘clubhouse’ cranking a vape and coffee. After paying for 18, snagging a t shirt, and chatting about Ohio golf a bit, I was off.

You can see all 9 holes from the 1st tee, and at first glance it feels a little underwhelming – wide open, not much definition of each hole’s corridor, brown everywhere (November for me), gravel roads, and not a sound in the sky.

I read up a bit on the course and was getting my first dip into the #parisirrelevant #alp #punchbowl #doubleplateau #redannnn world, So I just said to myself that for the first lap, I would just play the shot I got and not think about my score at all.

1st hole is one of the 2 par 5s. If you can carry a bunker in the left-center of the fairway you can get home in 2, else you have a lengthy carry to the green because #angles. Mounding blocks your view of a right pin, however a left pin can be seen from the fairway. I had a front right pin that day, which actually sloped front to back. No matter what club I hit (5 iron to 9 iron). My ball fed to the exact same spot on the back of the green – an uphill 30 footer that was incredibly make-able.

I was hooked from hole one. I think the course is a textbook on how good architecture is achieved. It’s rough around the edges, but it gets to the point: your angle of attack will normally shift round to round on any given hole, and when that happens at Sweeten’s, you are playing completely different courses.

The next 8 holes contain some ( and more) of the following:

  • A tree boldly guarding a green, any shot in line with it requires some modified ball flight

  • A par 3 that could require either a wedge or a wood from the same teeing ground depending on the pin only

  • 2ish drive-able par 4s by the above-average hitter, one with a green almost bisected with a deep bunker, and the other one with a purely diabolical green, unfortunately proving the value of laying up

  • The widest fairway imaginable with a double plateau green that is, literally, 2 plateaus with a swale

  • A phenomenal finishing par 3 with a giant kicker off the right

I thought I’d play 18 and move on to Sewanee that day, I played 54 instead, including some cross country holes I discovered after taking enough laps. I had some repetitive shots, but not nearly as many as I expected. The course was largely my own as an impending line of storms chased a lot of people off. By my last few laps, I was just dropping balls in places to hit shots that looked cool versus actually playing a round of golf. Patrick decided to mail it in early for the day and even offered that I could just keep going until the storm chased me away. I was Getting a little gassed by then so I declined, and I actually really regret not getting a few more in that day.

It’s been about 9 months since I went there, and it has changed my perspective completely on how I play golf. I drove 5 hours and stayed in a cheap hotel just to play it, and I’m trying to find time to do it again.

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Good stuff. Sounds like I’m making the drive. Cant wait to wet the beak on some #angles and nerd out for a bit.

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I will be around Monday afternoon/Tuesday morning if you want to try and play 9 together.

You sold me at “cranking a vape”.

Great write-up. Sounds like an awesome place to play if you find yourself in the area.

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If Golf is your Number 1 hobby, and the fact that you’re commenting on this board means it probably is, then Sweetens is absolutely worth it if you’re going to be in the area at all. I recently took my father in law and a friend–they didn’t “get” it–said that the greens were too crazy, etc. However, I’ve never heard him talk so much about a round even days later…

I think it’s one of the most incredible courses I’ve ever seen and, considering the less than spectacular piece of land it’s on, the pure architectural artistry is second to none.

In Atlanta twice for work in October and taking a pilgrimage day to head to Sweetens with a buddy. 2.5 hours in the car and we’ll grab the full day pass and just play 9 then fuck around till the sun sets. Can’t wait. Feels like it has to be done and I’m sick of talking about it and just going to make it happen.

My one question as something who has topped out at an 11 handicap and currently plays to a 15.8 is do the width and angles even matter? I’m into GCA and can’t wait to walk this track but wonder if the lack of execution will diminish my experience.

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Man, the phrase “lack of execution” sums up my golf game quite nicely.

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The width is forgiving off the tee, and lets you have a great chance to play your next shot with a full swing and regular stance.

The part about Sweetens that is so nice is the variability and fun that you can have into and around the greens. Being a non-robot that misses lots of greens, I notice that there is a game within the game for getting up and down around there.

Playing multiple loops will help you trial and error how you approach and play certain holes.

Have fun.

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I would love to know what you think of it. I’m like 6 hrs. driving distance and I’m thinking of taking a weekend with a couple buddies, but it’s hard to convince them to drive that far for a 9 hole course. I am certain they have not done any research on the course like we all have. I think a lot of us have fallen in love with the place without even seeing it. The descriptions of the greens alone makes me want to play it.

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This may be totally off topic but I truly think the beauty of golf is that we have fallen in love with Sweetens without ever seeing it. It is more than just playing golf but the idea of golf as it should be that we cherish.

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Their first error is thinking a 9 hole course…

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Yea exactly. There’s definitely a stigma there.

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I feel like there should be MORE 9 holes courses, at least good ones. Anyone with kids likely agrees.

Am I right in assuming that Sweetens is a no tee time necessary type place?

Depends on when you’re going. It’s a good idea to give them a call first just in case.

Thanks. I dropped them an email. It would be a Tuesday or Wednesday morning/afternoon.