Fred Gillham: ‘We’re Having to Chase Them Out of the Parking Lot’
Ross Creek Landing Golf Course will reopen for public play on Oct. 17.
Course owner Fred Gillham said the course, formerly a part of the Bear Trace network of Jack Nicklaus-designed courses across Tennessee, made the announcement Tuesday.
“We’ve got it ready to go,” he said. “To me it looks good but I don’t know anything about golf. But we are ready. People have been asking about and we’re having to run them out of the parking lot.”
Gillham said in late September there were a variety of issues that had to be taken care of before Ross Creek Landing would be ready to play.
“We have gotten the irrigation system fixed and we have the sprinklers going. Everybody who has come by to see it has been impressed,” he said. Gillham said pricing has not yet been finalized.
In late September, the course appeared close to being ready for play. The fairways were mowed to a playable height and overgrowth thinned on the course. Greens were sprigged earlier this summer and showed an abundance of growth. They had been verti-cut and sanded. Bunker work was continuing in late September.
“We got it done in about three months,” Gillham said.
The Forces Behind Ross Creek Landing
Gillham, Tommy Tinin and David Chasteen have been the driving force behind reopening Ross Creek Landing.
The course, one of five built by the State of Tennessee and designed by Jack Nicklaus, opened in 2001 and closed in 2013. Before it closed, it was largely considered the best of the Bear Trace courses and earned numerous honors, including being named Tennessee’s No. 1 public course by Golfweek. Hardly 40 miles north of the state line, it had been popular with Northern Alabama golfers.
It stretches to 7,131 yards from the tips and has a slope rating of 132.
Gillham bought the course from the state for approximately $2 million and operated it for a time before it closed. Chasteen is a vital part of the team working toward the reopening. He was behind the reopening of Chickasaw, another of the original Bear Trace courses that closed in 2015.
Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News.
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Featured image: Gregg Dewalt