Holston Hills Country Club was opened as a 9-hole golf course in 1946. The original routing included a combination of holes from the current front and back nines. Current holes 2-6 and 12-16 did not exist, and the practice green by the entrance bridge was the 5th green played as a short par 4 from the current 18th ladies tee. Original hole 6 was a par 4 starting by that green and playing to an old green left of current hole 6. A particularly beautiful hole from the original routing was the 2nd, a downhill par three played from a tee behind the current 1st green across the Holston River to the current 10th green.
In the late 1960’s, Wytheville engineer and area golfer Harold Louthen redesigned the course to an 18-hole layout, primarily by adding holes 2-6 and 12-16. Holes 3 and 4 became 11 and 17 respectively, and hole 5 was converted to hole 18 with its current green location. A new hole 10 was routed to the old hole 2 green. The new course opened in 1969.
The 70’s, 80’s and 90’s saw a very active country club environment at Holston Hills, with golf, tennis and swimming in full swing during the summer months. The grill room and ballroom were also popular during that time. The original clubhouse underwent its first renovation in the early 70’s, and then was completely redesigned and rebuilt in 1999 to its present-day configuration. These decades saw a series of General Managers, including Eddie Dyson, Leo Ferrell, Bill Atwood, Steve Sayers, and Bobby Lincoln.
Holston Hills has a rich tournament history. The annual Member-Guest and Member-Member events were always filled, and the Club Championship was enjoyed by all with a flight system based on handicaps. The prestigious Labor Day Invitational was a match play event that brought the best golfers in the region to the club each year. Many high school tournaments were hosted over the years, the most notable of which was the 1978 State AA Championship, won by the Marion Senior High Scarlet Hurricane. Finally, the John Greear Memorial Invitational Tournament was hosted at Holston Hills for over 25 years.
The economic setback of 2008 took its toll on golf clubs all over the country, and Holston Hills was no exception. After floundering for a couple of years, the club was taken over by the Town of Marion in 2011 and converted into a semi-private community golf course. The transaction was financed by the Smyth County Foundation as part of its mission to ensure the community offers health and well-being facilities to area residents.
After 10 years, the last of which brought COVID-19 challenges, the Town of Marion decided that their presence at HHGC was misplaced. Toward the end of 2020, the Smyth County Foundation negotiated ownership of the property and began seeking alternatives for management. A small group of partners and Marion natives, several of whom have significant golf industry experience, were given a lease to operate semi-private facilities starting January 1, 2021.
In the short time since, several of improvements have been made to HHGC. The Wooden Pickle restaurant group was engaged to take over the food and beverage operation as the “WP Grill at Holston Hills”. A new logo was designed, a new membership program was implemented, the pro shop and grill were re-decorated, new golf carts have been purchased, paving repairs have been made, and the putting green and the first tee have been flipped. Many more exciting plans are in store in 2021.
The future is bright for Holston Hills Golf Course. The best is yet to come!