Redesigned and rebuilt by renowned golf architecture firm King Collins, Overton Park 9 is a stunning example of what a public golf course can be. The 2,275-yard course weaves through Overton Park’s historic old growth forest in the heart of Memphis, TN, and features some of the most unique holes found on a municipal course anywhere. Over 10 acres of native grasses blend the course into the adjacent park and provide habitat for a diverse range of bird species.
The opening tee shot on the Overton Park 9 is where over a century of golfing memories have begun. With the tee box in full view from the clubhouse, this newly contoured fairway leads to a curving two-tiered green now protected by a devilish bunker on the left side.
A player-favorite regardless of age, this hole’s narrow gap between the trees must be negotiated to land on a richly contoured green with its right-to-left slope. A fortunate bounce will reward beginners, while precision will be required to find the pin for better golfers.
This slightly uphill tee shot to a dogleg left appears innocent enough — until you reach your tee ball. Hit your drive too far left and the forest trees can come into play. Too far-right, and the hidden swales and landforms can create awkward footing. Native grasses on large mounds frame a green with tricky slopes and runoffs for errant shots.
This is the first of our three consecutive "decision" holes. The 4th offers a variety of approach angles depending upon the pin placement on the sideways serpentine green. Two distinct levels with a swale in the middle give a nod to the classic Biarritz-style greens, but with a new twist.
Your next test is a true risk/reward shot: How do you negotiate "The X-Box?" This looming fairway feature hides a classic "Punch Bowl" green, requiring some course knowledge and skill. There are multiple ways around it, but only one score comes to mind should you land in it.
In the final trial of your three-hole test, number 6 requires a blind tee shot over the hill to a wonderfully chaotic green complex. You were asked to play these three "decision" holes in eleven shots. How did you do?
Local juniors know they have come of age as golfers when their tee shots can safely reach the other side of the Lick Creek hazard. With a stunning vista from the elevated tee and a wide fairway reached by yet another beautiful stone bridge, number 7 has everything a golfer wants in one hole. Mind your approach, as this green will prove to be the most puzzling and frustrating one on the course.
This uphill par 4 is the longest and most difficult hole at OP9. With a wide fairway in front of you, the architects force you to aim toward the "Heartbreak Hotel" bunker. The long second shot is guarded on the right by a grove of magnolia trees, creating an uneasy approach to a large contoured green.
This finisher bends softly to the left around yet another magnificent magnolia tree, away from the mounding and native grasses to a large, flowing green. Even an approach shot that narrowly misses presents a challenge to get up and down, requiring some true short-game creativity and imagination.