I have played River Islands alot over the past few years. The previous owner/staff was not pleasant to deal with and they kept me away from this course for a couple years. Since the new owner/staff has taken over the course is really a pleasure to play. The staff has been nothing but friendly to us all year.
The new greens are great but they can be very fast and dont break as much as they look. The ball rolls true and they are always in good shape. The bunker refinishing is still going on but mostly complete it seems. They also have new carts with tracking devices in them that helps with pace of play. We were out there Saturday and a Ranger came up to us and told us he asked the group ahead to speed up for us, I thought it was odd because we hadnt had to wait on them but they are really trying to focus on pace of play. I always tee off early and usually when we circle back around to 15 or so you can see the first few holes backing up...hopefully they can get this under control but the course is so scenic that it is hard for newbies not to take in the scenery.
Hole 9 does not return to the clubhouse but there is a turn shack where you can pick up some food and drink as well as use the restroom. The cart girl comes around quite often as well but she doesnt have any real food with her so make sure you pick up food at the turn if you need more than crackers. There is an additional restroom and soda machine that can be accessed from both hole 4 and hole 16. The only thing missing are water stations, if I recall they used to have these spread out at various tee boxes but I havent seen any lately. I hope they plan to bring these back considering how hot and humid it can get in the summer.
Either way, this is a great course for locals (they have a local rate) and a good deal for vacationers that are willing to make the trip from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg when they want to mix it up from the other courses in the area.
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