Clinchview Golf Club in Bean Station, Tennessee, is more than just an excellent golf course. It is also a community-minded operation with reasonable green fees and great views of the Smoky Mountains.
BEAN STATION, Tenn. - The Clinchview Golf Club is one of those courses you find sometimes that manages to be more than just a golf club.
Somebody in the community gets hurt, has a hard time paying medical bills? Hold a scramble at Clinchview, charge a few bucks. Hundreds show up.
The Little League team needs some help with traveling expenses? Hold another tournament, charge a few bucks. More hundreds show up.
It's a family-owned, family-run operation with family in mind. You can bring a cooler of beer and the Keck family won't mind, but they don't sell alcohol on the premises: Churches and schools are some of their best customers.
On top of that, it's a fine golf course. The Keck family bought it back in the mid-80s and has been steadily putting money into it. They re-built the cart paths, renovated the irrigation system and re-designed and planted new landscaping. All the tee boxes are attractive.
They lengthened the course, installed some bunkers - where there had not been a single one previously - and added women's and senior's tees. They also did some lovely stonework, in the form of walls and small stone bridges that take you over what little water there is.
It's built on the site of an old dairy farm and has some very nice, gentle, rolling terrain. Like most courses in this part of east Tennessee, it has some inspiring views of the surrounding hills and the Great Smoky Mountains.
"It can be stretched to 6,900 yards," said Kelly Keck, the son of Jack and Muriel. "A lot of people say it's all there right in front of you, saying 'come and get me.' But, at the end of the day, your scorecard can get pretty high."
The course has many trees, with mostly tree-lined fairways, and some moderately nasty rough. The Keck family also dug some ponds to give the layout a little watery flavor, but the drink won't overwhelm you.
The greens are excellent: small to medium-sized bentgrass greens with some very challenging slope and undulation. What makes that even more impressive is the fact that they are the original greens from when the course was built in 1967.
Clinchview is another of those courses in east Tennessee that combines a good play with even better green fees.
The most you'll pay is $36 on weekends, including cart, and that goes down to $31 on weekdays. Seniors can play for $23 Thursdays and Fridays.
For that, you get excellent conditioning and some very nice holes, like No. 4, a 322-yard, sharp dogleg that is very drivable; the green is at a 90-degree angle to the fairway, and if you can carry the trees guarding the dogleg, a birdie is likely and an eagle possible.
No. 3 is a 194-yard, uphill par-3 to a green that drops off on three sides. No. 4 is a mid-length par-4 that requires a draw up to a fairway shelf, and No. 6 is a mid-length par-5 with a blind tee shot.
By now, you may be wondering: What the heck is a "Bean Station?"
The town was named after William Beans (they later dropped the 's'), the first settler in Tennessee.
The course and the area have some interesting history: It's said Jesse James spent a considerable amount of time here, and the bricks that make up the wall on No. 3 are said to have come from slave labor.
The Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Morristown is a good place to explore the area, and just a short drive to Bean Station and other attractions.
It still has that new smell, since its grand opening was in early June.
The property is near Interstate-81 and convenient to Knoxville and other area attractions; the Smoky Mountains are a short drive away.
The College Square Shopping Mall is right down the street, as well as a lot of restaurants, including the excellent Sagebrush Steakhouse.
Rooms have free high-speed Internet and microwaves and refrigerators. There is a small business center, a good continental breakfast, indoor swimming pool and small fitness center.
August 6, 2007