The Elite 18: The Honors Course Chosen as Region’s Best No. 15 Hole

  • Thursday, May 23, 2024
  • Paul Payne

When the concept of compiling The Elite 18 first germinated earlier in the year, all of the local PGA professionals and a handful of the most decorated amateur golfers in the area were asked to first compile their own list of holes to place under consideration.

Throughout the process, there was a one specific hole that seemed to be prominent on everyone’s ballot – No. 15 at The Honors Course. It received the vast majority of the acclaim from those in the know, making it the most nominated hole throughout the campaign.

In fact, it made me wonder if we should even bother with the public polling for best No. 15 given the widespread support this hole had from those who had played all of the golf courses in the mix.

But the public feedback through the voting did nothing but ratify what I already knew, and The Honors Course’s No. 15 was indeed selected as the best among its brethren.

It joins other winners:

No. 1: WindStone Golf Club

No. 2: McLemore Highlands Course

No. 3: Bear Trace at Harrison Bay

No. 4: Chattanooga Golf and Country Club

No. 5: The Ooltewah Club

No. 6: Black Creek Club

No. 7: Brainerd Golf Course

No. 8: The Honors Course

No. 9: The Honors Course

No. 10: Cleveland Country Club

No. 11: Council Fire Club

No. 12: Black Creek Club

No. 13: Black Creek Club

No. 14: WindStone Golf Club

Advancing to the holes under consideration for the Elite 18 best No. 16, our panel of local professionals and top amateurs came up with 13 different candidates among the 25 golf courses in consideration. With distances measured from the back tees, the top choices are:

Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, par 5, 555 yards: The key to this hole is avoiding the row of mature trees on both sides of the fairway that make the tee shot feel claustrophobic. There are no fairway bunkers so a well-struck tee ball offers a chance of getting home in two. The elevated green is completely fronted by a horseshoe-shaped bunker, and the green has some ticklish slopes that make it a challenge.

Council Fire Club, par 4, 472 yards: This demanding par 4 is bordered to the left by Chickamauga Creek the entire length of the hole, with the picturesque view behind the green offering an elevated view of the hole’s beauty. The fairway slopes to the left with mature hardwoods along the left side impeding shots. Missing the fairway to the right also brings large trees into play and to an uphill pin. The green slopes hard toward the creek and the left side is guarded by a pair of bunkers.

McLemore Highlands Course, par 4, 464 yards: The tee shot is protected on both sides of the fairway by staggered bunkers on this lengthy hole. A waste area of native grasses and mountain stone in front of the green extends across the fairway, forcing some to layup short on their approach. The rolling green has bunkers to the right and long with wide collars.

Nob North Golf Course, par 5, 568 yards: The longest par 5 on the course, not too many golfers find the green in two. The line off the tee is to land between the fairway bunkers. A decision must be made on the approach to either lay up short of the hazard roughly 100 yards from the green or to be bold and fly the hazard in hopes of finding the putting surface.

The Honors Course, par 3, 206 yards: The final par three at Honors is a picturesque tee shot over water to a green that hosts a backdrop of colorful trees. The front of the green is supported by a bank of rocks that offer no forgiveness to tee shots coming up slightly short of the putting surface. No gimmicks and no reprieve, just a beautiful hole that demands a solid golf shot.

You can make your preference known at the poll below. Voting will remain open until Saturday at 6 p.m., with the final results revealed on Monday when we introduce the candidates for the Elite 18 Hole No. 17.


Paul Payne can be emailed at

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