The Elite 18: CG&CC Claims Narrow Win as Hole No. 5 Voting Begins

  • Sunday, April 21, 2024
  • Paul Payne

By the narrowest of margins, the fourth hole at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club was the voters’ choice in the Elite 18 campaign.

The challenging par 5 – which actually was played as a long par 4 during last year’s Tennessee State Amateur Championship – edged the No. 4 holes at Sweetens Cove and The Honors Course by mere percentage points.

There were certainly no bad choices on the ballot, but the iconic Riverview course joins the Elite 18 lineup with the victory. Other winners thus far are:

No. 1: WindStone Golf Club

No. 2: McLemore Highlands Course

No. 3: Bear Trace at Harrison Bay

No. 4: Chattanooga Golf and Country Club

Now, onward to hole No. 5. Our panel of local professionals and top amateurs came up with 18 different fifth holes nominated among the 25 golf courses in consideration. With distances measured from the back tees, the top nominees are:

Council Fire Golf Club, par 4, 370 yards: Trouble is lurking everywhere from the tee with both sides of the fairway flanked by hazards and a well-placed bunker ready to swallow those attempting to cut the corner. For those successfully finding the fairway, only a short-iron approach awaits to an undulating green surrounded by an array of bunkers.

The Course at Sewanee, par 3, 230 yards: The course was redesigned by the renowned Gil Hanse in 2013, and this challenging par 3 known as “The Edge” is among the signature holes. Playing 230 yards from the tips, it requires a carry over water of 190 to an uphill infinity green bordered on the back by a canyon. Par is never a disappointment on this formidable test.

The Ooltewah Club, par 4, 423 yards: Finding the fairway from the tee is a must as mature trees on both sides of the fairway will impact the second shot after wayward drives. A meandering creek that runs the length of the hole bisects the fairway in front of the green to swallow any approaches that fail to carry the hazard.

The Farm, par 3, 167 yards: With a creek flowing along the right side of the hole, the first of The Farm’s strong quartet of par 3s is both beautiful and challenging. The long, narrow green allows for a variety of pin placements, so being on the proper level with the cup is necessary to avoid navigating the ridge that can lead to three putts.

The Honors Course, par 4, 513 yards: This dogleg left can be shortened with a high draw around the corner, with fairway bunkers claiming any errant drives. But challenge still looms as the approach favors a faded flight into an angled green guarded by a deep bunker to the right. Depending upon pin placement, the shot into the green can be a two-club differential.

You can make your preference known at the poll below. Voting will remain open until Wednesday at 6 p.m., with the final results revealed on Thursday when we introduce the candidates for the Elite 18 Hole No. 6.

Paul Payne can be emailed at

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