Ep 43 - Rob Collins on Sweetens Cove
Rob chats about Sweetens Cove but also course architecture more generally as well as the importance of up and coming designers such as King Collins golf getting the chance to show off their skills. A fascinating interview subject, Rob is a breath of fresh air and will undoubtedly be a guest again in the future.
The Little Golf Course That Could by Dylan Dethier
Thanks to Dylan Dethier for capturing the heart of Sweetens Cove, our debut project, in this terrific New York Times piece
The Song of Sweetens Cove by Jay Revell
I’m sitting in a meeting room in Tallahassee, Florida...but my golfing soul is somewhere near South Pittsburg, Tennessee. For those in the know, South Pittsburg is home to Sweetens Cove Golf Club, the modern masterpiece of a course hand crafted by King-Collins Golf Design.
Always Time for Nine by Ron Whitten
If you're like me, slightly attention-deficit and unable to focus for a full 18-holes, then an absorbing nine-hole course like Sweetens Cove is just the ticket. Located a half-hour west of Chattanooga, just off Interstate 24, Sweetens Cove is guaranteed to distract you from worldly concerns and worries using a combination of charm, character and railroad ties.
Sweetens Cove: Unforgettable by Andy Johnson
Pure golf. That’s the sensation you feel the moment you step foot on the grounds of Sweetens Cove Golf Club, a gem tucked into the foothills of the Appalachia 30 minutes outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Callaway Golf Podcast
Thanks to Callaway Golf & Harry Arnett for having Rob on the podcast to discuss Sweetens Cove. Rob's interview starts at the 10:15 mark.
Sweetens Cove Golf Club Review by Graylyn Loomis
I often receive emails, texts, or comments on my reviews suggesting that I play various courses. That said, I have never had more people tell me to play a course than Sweetens Cove in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. Droves urged me to make the drive across the Carolinas, and with that, I was introduced to the cult following of Sweetens Cove.
Sweetens Cove ranked #59 on Golfweek's Top 100 Modern list
Here is a list of the top 100 courses in the United State built after 1960 according to Golfweek’s Raters, listed with the Golfweek Rater number, location, year opened and designer. Sweetens Cove makes the list at #59!
The Fried Egg Podcast with Rob Collins 11/21/16
We talk golf course architecture with golf course architect, Rob Collins. Rob is the principal designer of King Collins Design and responsible for the build and design of Sweetens Cove Golf Club.
Rob Collins nominated as one of golf's ``Most Influential Architects`` in Golf, Inc.
``I don't necessarily equate multi-million dollar fees with being influential,`` he explains. ``Today people want golf courses that are intellectually interesting.``
Rob Collins & Tad King honored by Golf Vacation Insider
Does the King-Collins Design team deserve a spot on this list even though they have only designed one new nine-hole layout and renovated two holes on a second course? Given the high praise their Sweetens Cove Golf Club outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee has garnered – people are throwing the phrase “best nine-hole course in the country” around liberally – we have to believe that this duo will be getting more chances to apply their rustic aesthetic to existing courses and perhaps a new tract or two in the near future.
Sweetens Cove featured in ``The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, v. 2``
Sweetens Cove received the highest average rating of ALL golf courses in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, & Louisiana.
``Sweetens Cove is one of the most audacious designs we’ve seen. (King-Collins) built one of the most diverse & entertaining set of green complexes found anywhere. This kind of fun, inventive, quick golf is more commonplace in the UK, which is why the game is so much healthier there than in America. If you leave (Sweetens Cove) smiling, don’t panic: golf is supposed to be fun.”
Ran Morrissett, co-author, The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, v. 2
Anthony Pioppi compares Sweetens Cove to the original version of Augusta National
``Sweetens Cove…harkens back to one of the most influential golf courses ever built in the United States (Augusta National) …. Collins and his partner, Tad King, have embraced the original MacKenzie-Jones tenets with gusto. Writing about Augusta then, MacKenzie could have been describing Sweetens today.``
Anthony Pioppi, To The Nines
Sweetens Cove claims the #1 ranking in Tennessee on Golfweek's ``Best Courses You Can Play`` list!
See the attached link for a terrific article by Martin Kaufmann about the unlikely ascendancy of Sweetens Cove to the top of Golfweek's rankings for the state of Tennessee:
Ran Morrissett's Golf Club Atlas Introduction
This month’s Feature Interview with Rob Collins tackles the age old question: if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
By that, I mean how do you credit an architectural firm that conceives an AWESOME design on spectacular land only to see the developer go in a different, non-golf direction? I first met Rob face-to-face this past February after his round at No.2. At that time, he showed me photos and drawings for a golf course outside Fernie, British Columbia. It had all those hallmarks that Lorne Smith of FineGolf would categorize as a very high ‘joy to be alive’ quality: shared fairways, huge central bunkering, a zig-zagging stream, minimal rough, and vistas of the snow-capped Canadian Rockies. Very tasty – a modern Jasper Park! However, the developer opted to go the home/park route and golf was scrubbed. What credit will King-Collins ever receive for such an unrequited effort? Essentially none. That’s why I promptly invited them for a Feature Interview and I believe that this firm is capable of grand things, well beyond the same old fare.
Sweetens Cove featured in Links Magazine
This was one of the most anticipated rounds for me on the trip to Tennessee. Sweetens Cove is a nine-hole course with an interesting history and a cult following. The course is located outside of Chattanooga in South Pittsburgh, Tenn., and after a few holes, I fell in love with the place ...
The Story of Sweetens Cove as told by Rob Collins in an interview with Jason Way
Sweetens Cove – the course and the story behind its creation – has fascinated me for some time. Golf geeks who make the trip to play this modern 9-holer return with the same two points of feedback. That course bold, beautiful, and great fun. And its creator and owner, Rob Collins, is a good dude ...
Prior to this afternoon, I had played 1001 golf courses, including every one of the 318 still existing courses that has ever been listed on a World Top 100 published by Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, and 8 other well know publications. This afternoon, I played Sweetens Cove and had so much FUN...the only courses I can think of that are comparable in terms of fun include Askernish GC (Scotland), Royal Worlington (England), Royal Dornoch, The Old Course, Brora, Sand Hills GC, and a few others...
Simply brilliant and brilliantly simple. Hope your phone is ringing off the hook. Thank you for your work and the results!
Rob Collins...and his team transformed a featureless and flat existing nine-hole course on the property into a fun and challenging golf experience that harkens back to the quirky links play at the likes of North Berwick and Cruden Bay....Sweetens embodies my favorite type of golf, and I can't wait to see the next courses Rob Collins and his partner Tad King create.
It's not totally unusual for a golf architect to leap out of the back room into prominence. David Kidd did exactly the same when he built Bandon Dunes in the late 1990s, and he hasn't been the only one. If the right opportunities fall into his path, I would be pretty confident that Rob will ascend to that level. His work at Sweetens Cove is remarkable: to take a flat, boring nine hole course and build something so visually dramatic and yet such damned good fun to play is, in my opinion, one of the more impressive golf architectural achievements in recent years. Some will say it is too bold; I disagree. The first and most important job of a golf course is to put a smile on the face of those who play it; well, I came off Sweetens Cove wearing the biggest grin for some considerable time, and I reckon that'll be true of the overwhelming majority who get to play there. I look forward to seeing where Rob's career takes him next; wherever it is, I reckon local golfers will be lucky guys.
Sweetens Cove is one of the most audacious designs we’ve seen. King-Collins built one of the most diverse & entertaining set of green complexes found anywhere. This kind of fun, inventive, quick golf is more commonplace in the UK, which is why the game is so much healthier there than in America. If you leave Sweetens Cove smiling, don’t panic: golf is supposed to be fun.