Music City really swings: Nashville, Tennessee serves up great golf, food and more

People don't call Nashville "Music City" for nothing -- and it's much more than the Grand Ole Opry. Practically every bar in town has live music every night of the week, and it seems that every fifth person walking on the street is carrying a guitar.

To see, taste and hear quintessential Nashville, head downtown to Broadway Street. If you're in the mood for barbecue, check out Jack's for casual dining or Rippy's (across the street) for sit-down dining. (And don't get the locals fighting over which is better -- passions for barbecue run deep in these parts.)

For budget-friendly accommodations 10 minutes from downtown, try the Club-Hotel Nashville Inn & Suites, which offers complimentary drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres in the evenings and an enormous breakfast buffet in the mornings. The pool area is unexpectedly posh, too.

Golf in Nashville

Five minutes from the Nashville airport, you'll find one of the best public golf courses in Tennessee, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, a 1991 Larry Nelson design. The course is part of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, home to world-class restaurants, spa and meeting facilities, along with golf.

Vying with Gaylord Springs for title of "Best Public Golf Course in Tennessee" is Hermitage Golf Course in nearby Old Hickory (15 minutes from downtown), with its 36 stout holes (President's Reserve and General's Retreat Course) and top-notch facilities.

Golf in the Nashville area

If you want to get away from the bright lights and clanging guitars of Nashville, head to Dickson (about 60 minutes) to get back to nature -- and to play some excellent golf.

GreyStone Golf Club is a meticulously conditioned 1998 Mark McCumber design that tumbles and rises among monolithic stone formations. GreyStone has hosted a litany of state championships and PGA Tour qualifying events, so it's tough enough to challenge the best but still fair for all players.

Just down the road, the cabins at Montgomery Bell State Park have been rebuilt from the ground up and are ideal for family vacations or golf getaways. The park's own golf course is always challenging, too. At just 6,100 yards from the tips, it has some of the most demanding, driving holes you'll ever see on a short course.

And don't think that just because you're out in the country you won't find outstanding food. In downtown Dickson, Lugo's offers gourmet dining and extensive wine and beer lists. On the road between GreyStone Golf Club and Montgomery Bell State Park is a Dickson institution, Catfish Kitchen, which is always packed with locals. It would be hard -- make that nearly impossible -- to find better catfish, hushpuppies or sweet red-pepper sauce anywhere. Seriously, the odds are better that you'll card a hole-in-one.

Nashville is much more than Opryland and neon lights -- there's something here for city folk, country folk and everyone in between.

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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Hi, I'm planning a golf trip to Nashville for the end of April and beginning of May. What are the course conditions usually like at that time of year?

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Music City really swings: Nashville, Tennessee serves up great golf, food and more