Golf Courses & TravelOctober 11, 2011

Civil War Links

A compendium of golf courses with ties to the Civil War, presented alphabetically by state

The Civil War sign behind the fifth hole at Alfred Tup Holmes Golf Course in Atlanta.

The Civil War sign behind the fifth hole at Alfred Tup Holmes Golf Course in Atlanta.

ALABAMA

Both Joe Wheeler State Park G. Cse.

in Rogersville and the Fighting Joe Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals

in Muscle Shoals were named for Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler, who earned his nickname by being wounded three times and having 16 horses shot out from under him. After the war, Wheeler was one of the few Confederates to rejoin the U.S. Army and served as a major general of federal troops in the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Lakewood G.C.,

Point Clear sits across the street from the Grand Hotel, which served as a Civil War hospital. A Confederate cemetery lays next to the 18th tee of Lakewood's Azalea Course.

GEORGIA

Alfred Tup Holmes G. Cse. in Atlanta's Adams Park has one of the few remaining Confederate breastworks still visible in the city. A plaque behind the fifth green explains the nature of the Confederate defense system that protected Atlanta.

Augusta National G.C.

was built on a plantation known as Fruitlands. Its pear, apple and peach trees reportedly provided fruit that nourished Confederate armies in the first years of the Civil War.

Bobby Jones G. Cse.

in Atlanta was built on the site of Battle of Peachtree Creek, an attack by Confederate General John Bell Hood against forces led by General John Geary (the first mayor of San Francisco and later governor of Kansas). Much of the fighting occurred on the land on which the course now sits, but most historical plaques have been removed. One remains behind the fourth green.

The Farm G.C., in Rocky Face, was site of the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge in May, 1864, the first major confrontation in the campaign by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to take Atlanta and then march to the sea.

A 1928 newspaper account of Lookout Mountain G.C. (then called Fairyland G.C.) read, "Battlefield Becomes Unusual Golf Course" and stated the Seth Raynor design was laid out "on the site of the famous Civil War battle." Since the famed "Battle Above the Clouds" was fought in heavy fog, it's hard to know just where the fighting occurred, but we assume some it occurred on the spot now occupied by the course.

When Marietta C.C.

moved to a new location in the Atlanta suburbs in 1990, architect Bob Cupp designed its new course on the site of the Latimer farm, where Confederate General Joseph Johnston had constructed a network of earthworks in an attempt to slow General Sherman's invading Army. Some of the still-apparent trenches were utilized as hazards by Cupp, particular in the rough between the fifth and seventh holes of the club's Lake View 9.

Savannah G.C.'s first nine was built in 1900, with holes laid out within the line of Confederate fortifications that had been used to protect Savannah during the Civil War. Some of the features were utilized as golf course hazards, and early players often found bullets (called Minie balls during the Civil War) and cannon balls in the turf. In the 1960s, some of the Confederate breastworks were cut through to accommodate cart paths. Some of the ramparts are still visible today.

The 36-holes of Stone Mountain G.C.

sit beneath the mountain of the same name, on which several sculptors created the largest bas-relief in the world, depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, all astride their horses. The carving is best seen from the first green of club's Lakemont Course

or the elevated 16th tee of the Stonemont Course.

ILLINOIS

When the Hillcrest C.C. in the north Chicago suburb of Long Grove first opened (as Long Grove C.C.) in 1964, during the height of the Civil War centennial, the course was given a Civil War theme. Its five ponds were named Rebel, Sentinel, Yankee, Antietam and Gettysburg. The stream that fed them was named Bull Run.

Lincoln Greens Golf Course

in Springfield, built in 1957, was named for the city's favorite son, Abe Lincoln. In 1974, a new Robert Trent Jones design in Springfield was named The Rail G.Cse.

(pictured below) to honor Lincoln's early local occupation as a rail splitter.

The Rail

The General at Eagle Ridge

in Galena, overlooking Lake Galena was named for General Ulysses S. Grant, a resident of the town at the start of the Civil War. At the time of its opening in early 1997, the resort issued a press release claiming Grant had once visited the Old Course at St. Andrews and tried to swing a golf club. After whiffing several times, he reportedly said, "I fail to see the purpose of the ball."

INDIANA

The South Course of the now-defunct Cressmoor C.C. in Hobart had holes named for a variety of famous battles, including the Alamo and Custer's Last Fight. Eight holes were named for Civil War battles: Antietam, The Wilderness, Shiloh, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, Fort Sumter, Gettysburg and Bull Run.

KENTUCKY

Battlefield G.C.

, a residential development course built in 2000 on a portion of the site of the August, 1862 Battle of Richmond, is now county-owned. A Civil War field hospital was converted into the clubhouse. There are historical markers on the course.

A descriptive marker on the grounds of Fort Mitchell C.C.

in Covington (overlooking the Ohio River) described how the area served to protect Cincinnati across the river. In September, 1862, when Confederates appeared in the area, Union troops came across the Ohio on a pontoon bridge made of coal barges. The Confederates withdrew after a light skirmish on land now occupied by the course.

General Burnside State Park Golf Course,

on General Burnside Island near Somerset, is named for Union General Ambrose Burnside, who had led patrols along the old Cumberland River (now Lake Cumberland). Burnside's bushy whiskers gave rise to a new term — sideburns.

Lincoln Homestead State Park

in Springfield contains reproductions of early houses associated with Abraham Lincoln and a Press and Perry Maxwell-designed course that opened in 1957.

MISSISSIPPI

During the routing of the Dogwoods G.C.

in Grenada, the first hole was relocated at the behest of Civil War historian Side Bondurant to avoid cutting through a Confederate trench line that protected the 33rd Mississippi Infantry campsite.

Vicksburg C.C.

started in 1929 as National Park G.C., a John Van Kleek design built on the southern end of Vicksburg National Battleground Park. The road that wound through the park led to the clubhouse. Today, the course is no longer within the confines of the park. It is separated from it by I-20, and the clubhouse location has also changed.

MISSOURI

The original Kansas City C.C. was built on a portion of the vast battlefield of the Battle of Westport. The club moved in the mid-1920s and the old golf course is now Loose Park.

A plaque on a large boulder adjacent to the 15th hole ("Cardiac Hill") of Excelsior Springs G. Cse.

reads, "In memory of the soldiers of the Civil War who gave their lives in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Aug. 12, 1864." It refers to a skirmish in Missouri, not the much larger battle that occurred in 1862 in Fredericksburg, Va. But some historians contend the plaque has the date wrong, that the main skirmish occurred on July 17, not Aug. 12. But all agree the fighting occurred on what is now the southeast corner of the golf course.

NEW JERSEY

The original clubhouse of the now-closed Woodbury C.C. had been the mansion of Union Brigadier General George Bayard, who was killed in the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862.

NEW YORK

MacGregor Links in Saratoga Springs was built in 1921 beneath Mount McGregor, the southernmost spur of the Adirondacks where President Ulysses S. Grant chose to live when ill health overtook him. He died there in 1885.

NORTH CAROLINA

When Southwick G.C.

in Graham first opened in 1969, it was known as Confederate Acres G.C. for no apparent reason other than to appeal to golfers who might be Civil War buffs.

Mountaintop G. & Lake C.

in Cashiers, one of the newest members of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses,

has in its clubhouse suites named in honor of Confederate generals such as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Turner Ashby, all of whom fought alongside early Cashiers resident General Wade Hampton.

Wade Hampton G.C.

, a member of Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Golf Courses,

was named for Confederate General Wade Hampton, whose family had a summer home in Cashiers. Besides commanding a cavalry, Hampton was also a cattle rustler of sorts; his troops pulled off the famous Cattle Raid against Union troops during the Siege of Petersburg.

PENNSYLVANIA

The nine-hole Gettysburg C.C. wasn't built until 1948, and it was occasionally played by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who resided nearby after he left office in 1961. The club went bankrupt in 2009 and was taken over by a bank. The National Park Service acquired most of its 95 acres in early 2011. (A developer retained 15 acres containing the old clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis courts.) The golf course property had been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. The land has been given its historic name, Emanuel Harman Farm and is now a part of the Gettysburg National Military Park. The Park Service had tried to acquire it for 20 years.

SOUTH CAROLINA

The Robber's Row Course at Port Royal G.C.

on Hilton Head Island sits on the site of Union Army occupation in 1861. A town, built to serve the needs of the large Union base and its garrison, boasted a hotel, a theatre, two newspapers, and numerous stores and saloons, along a street dubbed Robbers Row. The course was built by George Cobb and Willard Byrd in the mid-1960s. When Pete Dye remodeled it in the early 1990s, archaeologists from the Museum of Hilton Head Island monitored excavation work to prevent damage to any Civil War remains.

Each golf hole at Secession G.C.

in Beaufort (where the Articles of Secession from the Union were drafted in late 1860) is named after a Civil War battle or event, listed chronologically. So the first hole is Fort Sumter, the last is Appomattox.

TENNESSEE

Andrew Johnson G.C.

in Greeneville was named for the 17th President of the United States, who took office when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated just a few days after the Confederate surrender at Appomatox.

The C.C. of Franklin

, built in 1964 next to historic Carnton Plantation and a Confederate cemetery, was closed in 2006 and its land acquired as part of the Franklin Battlefield Preservation Plan. Its 112 acres were the eastern flank of the vast Battle of Franklin that occurred in late 1864. Confederate General Pat Cleburne was among those killed in the battle. Old cart paths now serve as walking paths through the battleground area.

An area between the third and fourth holes on Forrest Crossing G. Cse.

in Franklin is reportedly where Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his cavalry crossed the Harpeth River to aid General Hood in the Battle of Franklin. Forrest was the most controversial of officers. He was considered the best of all cavalry officers, but also presided over the infamous Fort Pillow massacre in which hundreds of Union black troops were killed. After the war, he was a founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

Some five miles north of Shiloh Military Park is Shiloh Golf Course

in Adamsville. The cart path on the east border of the property was built on the road on which Gen. Lew Wallace (who later wrote Ben Hur) marched his three brigades toward Shiloh on April 6, 1862. Wallace's men took several wrong turns, got lost and didn't reach the battle until late in the day.

TEXAS

Cleburne Golf Links

in Cleburne runs along the shores of Lake Pat Cleburne. Lake, town and course were all named for Confederate General Pat Cleburne, who was born in Ireland. To honor his heritage, architect John Colligan says he designed the course in the style of an Irish links.

Fort Brown Memorial G. Cse.

in Brownsville, also known as the Univ. of Texas-Brownsville G. Cse., rests on the site of Fort Brown, where Robert E. Lee was stationed a year before the Civil War started. Confederates occupied the fort during the war until Nov., 1863, when forced out by a Union invasion. Confederates retook the fort in July, 1864. After the war, federal forces occupied it as protection against a possible Mexican invasion.

Stevens Park G. Cse.

in Dallas was founded in 1923 on land donated by Walter Stevens and his sister Annie Laurie in memory of their parents. Their father had been Dr. John H. Stevens (1824-1881), a Confederate medical officer during the Civil War, who moved to Dallas after the war.

VIRGINIA

Army Navy Country Club

, Arlington, Va. was built on the site of Fort Richardson, the highest fort protecting Washington D.C. on the Virginia side of the Potomac. A portion of the fort was incorporated into the design of the course. Earthen berm-ramparts exist on left and right sides of ninth fairway and circle around ninth green, as do old trench rifle pits.

The developers of the new Ballyhack G.C.

in Roanoke say the course name was based in part on the Civil War battle of Ballyhack, an event mentioned only in a Union officer's official battle report.

Bull Run G.C.

in Haymarket is named after the famous Battles of Bull Run, but the course location is ten miles away from the actual battlefields.

In the early 2000s, former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman teamed with golf architect Bobby Weed to create Cannon Ridge G.C.

in Fredericksburg. The course occupies a site on a ridge above the Rappahannock River where Union artillery provided cannon fire during the ill-fated Union attempt to cross the Rappahannock and defeat Confederates in the Battle of Fredericksburg. There are 26 markers indicating cannon revetments.

During the construction of Confederate Hills C.C. in the Richmond suburb of Highland Springs in the early 1970s, a casket was unearthed. Inside it was the fully clothed, well-preserved cadaver of a Confederate officer, a bullet wound in his head still apparent. The casket was turned over to a historical society, which wanted to halt construction until the area could be fully explored. Construction wasn't delayed, but builders joked that if they uncovered another casket, they planned to immediately re-bury it. The course, later renamed Highland Springs G.C., is now closed and overgrown. The residential development around the course retains the Confederate Hills name and the clubhouse is now a recreation center.

The Crater Battlefield G. Cse. in Petersburg was a Fred Findlay design. Built adjacent to the famed Civil War crater to preserve that portion of the battlefield from urban development, it started as 12 holes in 1928, with the final six added a year later. During construction, the remains of seven Union soldiers were unearthed. The course was closed in the fall of 1935. A year later, the Federal Government purchased the land and Petersburg National Battlefield was soon formed. The old clubhouse served as the first battlefield park headquarters.

The Crossings G.C.

in Glen Allen, in the northern outskirts of Richmond, is not only on the site of a previous course, Ethelwood C.C., a private club that closed when I- 295 was constructed in the mid-1970s, but is also on the location of a Union staging area known as the Half Sink Farm. The public course's original name, when it opened in 1971, was Half Sinke G.C.

The Widow Willis's farmhouse still remains on the grounds of Meadows Farms G.C.

in Locust Grove. A marker indicates the house was used as a Civil War hospital.

The gravestone of Confederate private William O. Preston (a relation of Stonewall Jackson's first wife) sits to the right of the green of one nine of the 27-hole Fairfax National G.C. in Centreville. Preston was killed at the Second Battle of Manassas (AKA Second Bull Run), which occurred nearby. The three nines are named for battles: Manassas, Bull Run and Wilderness.

Fauquier Springs C.C.

in Warrenton is on land that was the scene of the meeting of the Confederate Black Horse Cavalry, which conducted many raids in 1863. During construction of the course in 1956, many civil war relics were unearthed and contributed to the Manassas National Battlefield Park museum.

The Federal Club in Glen Allen is a most unusual name for a course in the suburbs of the old Confederate capital of Richmond. A portion of the land was the scene of the 1864 Battle of North Anna.

According to a historian of The Foundry G.C.

in Powhatan, it is the site of Robert E. Lee's last bivouac as a Confederate general. After surrendering at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, he traveled back to Richmond to reunite with his family, staying the night of April 14 camped in the yard of John Gilliam, a neighbor his Lee's brother, Charles Carter Lee. That spot today is just left of its 15th hole.

When Fredericksburg C.C.

was built in along the Rappahannock River in 1925, it utilized an 1819 Colonial mansion as its clubhouse. That mansion had changed hands seven times during the Civil War.

When Jerry Slack first designed Manassas Park Public G. Cse. in the mid-1990s, he worked around a series of rifle trenches in a park called Signal Hill, where Confederates originated the use of wig-wag signaling during the First Battle of Manassas. Slack positioned the third tee box near a preserved Civil War bunker. Several Civil War Minie balls were unearthed during construction. The course was later renamed General's Ridge G.C. to highlight the fact that the site was where Confederate General Richard Ewell established a winter encampment in 1861.

The land on which the Jackson's Chase Golf Club

sits in Middletown was a staging ground for an attack by Stonewall Jackson's troops against the Union Army in the First Battle of Winchester in May, 1862. Hence the name.

Lee's Hill Golf Club

in Fredericksburg has a plaque indicating the location of General Robert E. Lee's headquarters during the Battle of Fredericksburg was near the sixth tee. (It was from this position that Lee said his immortal line: "It is well that war is so terrible – we should grow too fond of it.") Another plaque by the eighth tee indicates the location of General Stonewall Jackson's headquarters in the same battle. There are Confederate trenches still visible near the 13th tee.

A portion of Nansemond River G.C.

in Suffolk, was the site of a Union fortress during its 11-month occupation of the city in 1862-63. Gun emplacements from a battery known as Hill's Point can be seen from spots on the course. Skirmishes took place near areas now containing the first green and fourth tee box.

The Olde Farm G.C.

in Bristol conductes an annual Blue Gray golf tournament.

The front nine of Shenvalee Golf Resort,

New Market, Va. occupies land on which the Battle of New Market was contested in May, 1864. This was the battle in which many young cadets from Virginia Military Institute took up arms and lost their lives. The resort's name, by the way, is a combination the words Shenandoah, Virginia and Robert E. Lee.

Stonewall G.C.

in Lake Manassas was named for Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and, ironically, was designed by golf architect Thomas R. Jackson.

Virginia National G.C.

in Bluemont, Va., stretches along the Shenandoah River for two miles, just below the Va.-W.Va. border. The land was the site of a Union retreat after the two-day Battle of Cool Spring in July, 1864, which involved a former U.S. vice-president (Confederate General John C. Breckenridge) and a future president (Union Rutherford B. Hayes). Several Union soldiers drown in the retreat. The course, designed in 1999 by Jerry Matthews, tries to retain a Civil War feel with 600 feet of stone walls and 4,000 feet of split-rail fence.

Yorktown C.C., which no longer exists, was created by architect William S. Flynn in 1926 on what is now Yorktown Battlefield National Park. Some holes played around fortifications that had originally been built during the Revolutionary War and were utilized again by Confederates during the Civil War. The course closed in 1941.

A Civil War mass grave is noted with a historic marker to the right of the 13th hole at Westfields G.C.

in Clifton.

WEST VIRGINIA

The first of the golf courses wasn't built at The Greenbrier

in White Sulphur Springs until after the turn of the century, but the grand old hotel existed during the Civil War and served as headquarters for both armies at different times. It served as a hospital following the Battle of White Sulphur Springs. Three years after the war ended, the hotel hosted a reunion of officers from both the Union and Confederacy. Among the attendees was Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, John Geary and Lew Wallace.

The modest 9-hole Hawks Nest G. Cse.

became part of the Hawks Nest State Park in 1999. The course, built in 1937 by Union Carbide Co. for its employees, was located on the site of a Civil War encampment.

A historical marker on the Locust Hill G. Cse.

in Charles Town indicates an Aug. 1864 engagement between troops of Confederate General Jubal Early (who, a month earlier, had taken his men to the very gates of Washington D.C.) and those of Union Gen. Philip Sheridan (who would ultimately defeat Early in the famed Virginia battle of Cedar Creek that October. Ironically, just before the Locust Hill skirmish, Early's men had been at a place called Bunker Hill.

Stonewall Resort,

a Palmer Course Design layout that opened in 2002, rests along Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park, created by the Army Corps of Engineers in the later 1980s and named for the Confederate general who was born in 1824 35 miles from the site. Back then, West Virginia was still part of the state of Virginia.