The Elite 18: Selecting the Best No. 3 Hole In The Chattanooga Area

  • Sunday, April 14, 2024
  • Paul Payne

The transformation at McLemore continues to attract attention throughout the golfing community on a national scale. The Highlands Course has become a bucket list destination for golfers given the spectacular finishing hole, but make no mistake – there is more than just the cliff-edge No. 18 that provides substance to this layout.

The second hole at McLemore – a challenging downhill par 4 requiring an accurate tee shot to shorten the carry over the imposing lake that guards the green – was the readers’ choice for The Elite 18 Hole No. 2, narrowly besting The Honors Course’s par 5 second hole.

With the opening of the ritzy Cloudland hotel this spring and the unveiling of the second course, The Keep, later this summer, the Lookout Mountain resort will likely become a golfer’s paradise.

And now onward to choosing the best hole No. 3. There were 13 nominations from the panel of local professionals and top amateurs from among the 25 area golf courses under consideration. The top five to make the Elite 18 ballot – all of which are par 4s - include:

Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, par 4, 437 yards: The dogleg right requires a solid drive to avoid the bunker guarding the corner. The green has the waters of Lake Chickamauga providing a spectacular backdrop on the approach.

Brainerd Golf Course, par 4, 408 yards: Driving the from a tree-lined chute, the concrete ditch that runs along the right side before dividing the fairway is hidden at the bottom of the hill but must be considered. The elevated green features the distinct flavor of original designer Donald Ross.

Council Fire Club, par 4, 397 yards: After the tornados in 2020 took down the iconic tree that made navigating the hole challenging, the hole still demands a well-placed tee shot right of the fairway bunker and short of the creek that bisects the fairway. The uphill sloping green is well-protected by bunkers.

Dalton Golf and Country Club, par 4, 408 yards: A challenging hole which bends to the right with bunkers protecting both sides of the fairway in the landing zone. The lengthy narrow green is guarded on the front left by a large bunker.

The Farm, par 4, 498 yards: The uphill hole that turns to the right has strategic bunkering protecting those who try to cut the corner. The approach shot requires a lengthy carry to the elevated green with bunkers guarding the front on this demanding hole.

You can cast your preference in the poll listed below. Voting will remain open until Wednesday at 6 p.m., with the final results revealed on Thursday when we introduce the candidates for best hole No. 4.

Paul Payne can be emailed at

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