As a Golf Writer, my travels recently took me to the town of Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville in Williamson County. After doing a little research, I discovered that the town gets its name from Benjamin Franklin, who was a close friend of Dr, Hugh Williamson (see the connection)? Prior to the Civil War, Franklin was one of the wealthiest towns in Tennessee. Even though the Civil War decimated the national economy, the area was able to regain its prowess; Williamson is now one of the wealthiest counties in the state and Franklin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. My niece lives in Franklin and says it’s not unusual to see well known celebrities around town and at the grocery stores. After all, they have to eat too!
If you live in -or frequent – the area and enjoy the game of golf, you have a few private clubs to choose from. Among them is the Westhaven Golf Club, home to a magnificent Arthur Hills championship golf course. Westhaven provides the perfect place for golf enthusiasts of all levels to enjoy the game in a casual and friendly environment. Since opening in 2009, Westhaven has received national recognition for its design and attention to detail. GolfWeek and Golf Digest both named Westhaven to their “2010 Best New Courses” list.
When I arrived at the course, I was met by an attendant who quickly whisked my bag out of the trunk and on to a waiting golf cart. He directed me to the golf shop where I was met by General Manager Mark Lammi. After chatting for a bit, we learned that we knew a lot of the same people and could have gone on for hours. I was hoping Mark was going to be able to join me for at least a few holes but other club events got in the way. I was left to challenge the course on my own, wife in tow with her trusty camera. Thankfully she photographs the course, not my golf game.
Before parting ways, Mark directed me to the practice area, a place I could have easily spent the day. In addition to a full length driving range where you can hit every club in your bag, there’s a short game chipping area with multiple bunkers, a fairway bunker for long range sand shot practice and a large practice putting green. The practice facility is open year round. In case your old clubs aren’t treating you the way you think they should (or vice versa) the golf shop has access to all of the top brands including Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Miura, Mizuno, PXG and more! They also have a great selection of high quality logoed apparel and all of the golf accessories you need to have an enjoyable round.
Westhaven has one of the best golf teaching facilities in the area. Their Golf Performance Center is staffed by six dedicated PGA teaching professionals who offer valuable instruction to help golfers get more enjoyment out of their game! You’ll find both indoor and outdoor facilities including four hitting bays, the latest TrackMan technology and the area’s only PXG Fitting Studio. Whether you’re looking for a quick fix to your putting woes or a long-term development plan, the staff has the expertise to help you improve your game.
Arthur Hills is one of my favorite designers. His courses all seem to blend in with the natural surrounding no matter where they are. The golf club at Westhaven is no exception. In addition, the fairways are carefully mowed and manicured with Bermuda rough and Bent grass greens. From the back tees the course measures 6,976 yards with a course rating of 74.1 and a slope of 137. Less masochistic golfers will find that either the Blue tees (6,513/71.9/132) or Green tees (5,953/69.1/128) will give them all the golf they can handle and still allow them to depart with some dignity. Ladies I spoke with found the course to be enjoyable from the Red tees (4,776/63.9/111). In all, Westhaven has five sets of tees: if you want to get creative, the back of the scorecard gives slope/rating/yardage info for 9 sets of combo tees, just don’t stray from the colors! Although the course is located in the Westhaven neighborhood, there are no homes lining the fairways which allows players to focus on their game.
I learned from the Westhaven website that all of the holes of names. Number 3 Is named “Otter” and is a par 5 that plays 484 yards from the Blue tees. The landing area has a lone pot bunker that needs to be avoided at all costs. Should you hit a good drive, Otter is going to present you with choice. There’s a creek that crosses the fairway about 100 yards in front of the green. There’s a little room to the right if you want to bail out, but then you’ll have to deal with two pot bunkers between you and the green. Should you decide to go for the green, beware of the lake to the left of the elevated green. I think I know why they call this hole Otter; if you pull your 2nd shot left, you “otter” drop another!
Number 7 (Snapper) is a par 3 that plays 180 yards from the Blue tees. Most players will hit a mid to long iron or hybrid into a boomerang shaped green that is guarded on the left by a pond. Should you need to bailout of the tee, there’s some room to the right of the green that will leave several pitch options for a chance at par.
Number 11 is a risk/reward hole aptly named “Decision.” If you have the distance off the tee, you have to give it a go. This short par 4 is listed at 280 yards but because it’s downhill it’s considerably shorter. It takes about a 240 yard carry to get over the thin strip of wetlands at the bottom of the hill. The green sits a few feet above the fairway and there’s a pot bunker in front that see its share of play. A few subtle undulations in the green can make a two-putt challenging. The safe play is to layup short of the wetlands, hit your short pitch up to the green and putt for birdie.
Number 14 (Harpeth) is the most picturesque hole on the course. This dogleg left par 5 plays 533 yards from the Blue tees and borders the Harpeth River. Play your tee shot downhill towards the cluster of bunkers. More bunkers dot the landscape on your way to the green, however the landing area for your layup shot is pretty open. Play your approach shot over a couple of pot bunkers to an elevated green that is long and very narrow. Par is a good score here.
Hole Number 17 is named Eagle, however at 531 yards from the Blue tees, there can’t be many of them! It sure is a beautiful hole and plays around a lake that guards the left side of the entire hole. Bunkers form the right side, forcing a tee shot towards the water. On your layup there’s plenty of room to the right past the last bunker. Play towards the green on your second and you may find the large cross bunker. The green is small and undulated. A more appropriate name – for me at least – would be Watery Grave!
Members of Westhaven can take pride in their Food and Beverage operations, Executive Chef Bill Brown serves up a wide variety of Classic American Cuisine on his seasonally changing lunch and dinner menus. His Weekly Chef Features enhance an already lush palette of menu variety and are very popular among members. The Club’s talented culinary staff do their best to offer locally sourced products and accommodate all dietary needs. Whether you’re dining in the recently renovated bar, main dining room or one of the private dining rooms, you and your guests will have a panoramic view of the golf course. The Turn Grille is a great place to grab a beer and a burger while you watch your favorite team on one of three big-screen TVs.
Westhaven Golf Club offers an unforgettable experience for hosting wedding receptions and events. There are a variety of venues on site and the staff will work with you to plan a custom menu that is sure to delight your guests. Their event facilities can easily accommodate up to 200 guests, but is also perfect for smaller, more intimate affairs.
This same knowledge and expertise goes into planning and hosting a golf tournament at Westhaven Golf Club. I played a few holes with a couple of guys who had attended outings here. They told me the staff was very professional in everything they did, from setting up bags on carts to a delicious buffet dinner and awards. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently.
There are a number of ways to become a member at Westhaven Golf Club and they can be found on their website. As a member, you’ll enjoy full access to all Club amenities including the 18-hole Arthur Hills designed golf course and the Golf Performance Center. Even if you don’t live in the Westhaven Community, you’ll have access to many of the community’s amenities including eight tennis courts, three resort-style pools and the fitness center. Westhaven is managed by Troon Privé, a division of Troon one of the leading golf management companies in the world. As a member of Westhaven Golf Club, you’re privy to all of the benefits of the Troon Privé Privilege Program including reciprocity with The Standard at the Smith House and the Nashville City Club – both private city clubs in downtown Nashville.
For more information or to arrange a tour of Westhaven Golf Club, visit them online at www.golfwesthaven.com.