Gadsden may not be well known to people outside of Alabama, but this small town of about 36,000 not only played an important role in the Civil War, but it was an integral part of Alabama’s rise as a southern industrial power, being home to steel, textile, and other manufacturing facilities. From the late 19th century through the 1980s, companies such as the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Republic Steel called Gadsden home. As the economy changed, these companies moved out, taking a lot of jobs with them, but one business that has survived is The Gadsden Country Club.
The Gadsden Country Club was founded in 1919 on what was originally a peach orchard adjacent to the Noccalula Falls. The original club which included a 9-hole course was built on 50 acres of land, with an option of 50 more acres for 9 more holes at a future date. As it turned out, the other nine wasn’t built until 1942.
Gadsden Country Club sits nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The clubhouse is situated at the peak of 110 rolling acres in an elegant residential area and is known for its spectacular view. Inside you’ll find a fine dining restaurant and some of the best banquet facilities in northeast Alabama. There’s a full tennis complex and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The pool is a popular family gathering place from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Members and guests enjoy exceptional service while experiencing the ambiance one would expect from a casually elegant southern club.
Gadsden’s CC’s tennis facilities include 8 Har-Tru soft courts, four hard courts, a fully stocked Tennis Pro Shop with racquet restringing capabilities, re-gripping, diagnostics, and the latest demos to try when it’s time for a new weapon on the court. Certified Tennis Professional Paul Robin coordinates all tennis operations such as private or group tennis lessons and a junior tennis program for all ages. Weather permitting, the tennis facilities are available year-round.
The centerpiece of Gadsden Country Club is the 18-hole championship golf course. Since its original creation in 1919 by Scotsman George Black, there have been numerous changes; holes have been rerouted and the nines have been flipped. It is unknown who designed the second nine; some have attributed it to the infamous A.W Tillinghast who had visited the area years earlier and was thoroughly impressed. In 1997 world-renowned golf course architect Bill Bergin was brought in to weave his magic and reimagine the golf course.
Gadsden Country Club offers members and their guests five sets of tees with yardages ranging from 6,657 yards from the Gold Tees (course rating 72.3/slope 130) to the Red Tees for Ladies and Seniors which plays 4,884 (65.7/121). At 6,101 yards (69.5/128), the Blue Tees offer a good challenge and still let you leave with a little bit of dignity.
There are a lot of fun and challenging holes at Gadsden Country Club but none as memorable as the run from Number 15 through the 18th green. Make it around these four holes with a number around or below par, and you’ve probably had a pretty good round. Number 15 is the club’s signature hole, a picturesque par 3 over water that plays 157 yards from the Blue Tees. It’s one of only a few holes that doesn’t have a profound elevation change. It’s a 140-yard carry over the water with a small pot bunker in the back. Find the bunker and your sand shot can be intimidating with the water looming beyond the pin. Par is a good score here.
Sixteen is a 352-yard par 4 that has one of the most intimidating and challenging tee shots on the golf course. The lake you see between you and the green is only about 230 yards away and when the fairways are hard, there is a lot of roll. If you’re hitting your driver well, take dead aim over the trees on the right side, up the narrow sliver of the fairway that leads to the green. Laying up short of the water will leave an approach shot of about 125 yards into a fairly level green. Another hole where a par is a good score.
Number 17 is a dogleg left that plays 359 yards from the Blue Tees. The large pine tree in front of you screams “drive the ball over me,” and if you do so successfully, you’ll have about a 100 – 110-yard pitch shot slightly uphill.
The closing hole is the toughest on the inward nine and one that will surely test your mettle, Ideally, you want to play down the left side and find the fairway left of the fairway bunker on the right. Hit your drive right off the tee and the fairway falls off by the trees and cart path, leaving an extraordinarily hard second shot. Trees dot the landscape along the left side too and anything left of those trees will be tough as well. A good drive will leave a mid-iron into a small green protected by a bunker front right and a large overhanging oak tree front left. Once again, par is a good score here.
Gadsden Country Club has some pretty impressive practice facilities including a full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag, a separate chipping area, and two practice putting greens. The course is open year-round, weather permitting, but bad weather isn’t necessarily a game-changer. You can move your game indoors and play or practice on the club’s TrackMan system.
After your round, head inside the clubhouse for your favorite beverage and a bite to eat. When it comes to dining and good food, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better than what is offered at Gadsden Country Club. The dining facilities include a Gentleman’s and Mixed Grill, Casual Dining Room, Main Bar, and several private dining rooms that are used for banquet and private events.
If you’re serious about your golf game and want to take it to the next level, PGA resident pro Matt Ganshaw can help. Using the Trackman launch monitor and indoor simulator, he can help fix any of your swing woes. The pro shop is fully stocked with logoed apparel from all of your favorite manufacturers as well as tees, balls, and other golf necessities.
Gadsden Country Club is accepting new members and has a membership plan that will meet just about everyone’s needs and budget. Best of all, you don’t have to live in Gadsden to become a member, If you enjoy the social aspects of the club as well as the dining options and recreational opportunities they have, then this is the club for you. Gadsden Country Club offers several Membership categories including Resident, Non-Resident, Junior, Social, ad Corporate. There is typically a small initiation fee and quarterly F&B minimums but the low monthly membership dues will more than compensate. If you’re not quite sure about becoming a member, Gadsden offers a Trial Membership. For a $1,000 trial fee, you will receive 90 days of total access to the club including ALL of the amenities. Should you decide to join at the end of the trial period, your $1,000 fee will be credited o whichever program you choose.
For more information on Gadsden Country Club or becoming a member, you can call them at (256) 546-0451 or visit them online at www.thegadsdencountryclub.com.