OPINION: Hillbilly Golf is a rite of passage for Smoky Mountain visitors

HillBilly Golf

Hillbilly Golf is open seasonally in Gatlinburg (photo by Alaina O'Neal/TheSmokies.com)

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Hillbilly Golf is definitely an “I’ve been to Gatlinburg” checklist item. If you haven’t been there, have you really been to Gatlinburg?

Admit it, even the most high-brow among you have curiously followed the incline as it climbs the mountain, wondering what exactly was on top.

Go ahead and hop on – you’re on vacation! It’s okay to do something a little outside your normal entertainment standards. You can always blame it on the kids – or the moonshine samples.

Locals may think it plays up our Appalachian heritage in the wrong way, but Hillbilly Golf is a favorite when my out-of-town relatives visit. 

Hillbilly Golf
Guests at Hillbilly Golf ride an incline to play at the top of the mountain (photo submitted by Greg and Laura Akens)

Hillbilly Golf features two great mini golf courses. What makes it stand out from the other mini golf courses in the area is the location and the transportation.

A cart takes guests up the mountain to the attraction. You may think that “mountain” might be an overstatement, but “up” is not. If this was any steeper, you might blast off into space at the end.

But don’t worry, it’s a smooth and steady ride. The trip is short, and you don’t have time to be nervous about the ride. The cart holds about 6-9 people. 

At the top of the mountain, you’ll find two challenging courses. These can be made into world class courses with difficult holes for competitive families. 

Many Appalachian stereotypes can be found here: Moonshine stills, wagons and decoration outhouses. My aunt once compared it to visiting the set of Hee Haw

Read Also: Top 10 places to play mini golf around the Smokies

Hillbilly Golf
Hillbilly Golf has unique courses that play into Appalachian stereotypes (photo submitted by Greg and Laura Akens) 

It’s worth noting that if you do have a serious problem a fear of heights, you might want to choose a more grounded mini golf course. The courses are completely outside, so you will always be aware of your location.

Hillbilly Golf almost burned completely during the 2016 fire, and the incline was replaced. Owners wisely worked some of the damage into the landscaping for the course. For example, the root of a downed tree has been integrated into the course. 

Read Also: The real story behind the Gatlinburg fires of 2016 

This sign reads, “This 160+ year old Hemlock Tree was here prior to the Civil War and stood proudly over Hillbilly Golf for 45 years. Sadly, it was uprooted during the wildfires of 2016. Due to the efforts of the Hillbilly Golf team, its roots still watch over us!” (photo submitted by Greg and Laura Akens)

How to get Hillbilly Golf discounts

The cost of admission for Hillbilly Golf is $12.99 per person. Children 4-12 are $8.99, and children under 3 are free. These prices do not include tax.

Discounts offered at Hillbilly Golf include:

  • Seniors (60 and older)
  • Military and first responders (with ID)
  • Local residents (with ID)
  • Groups (15 people or more)

Spectators are the same price as players. Strollers and pets are not allowed.

Guests who play a second game can also do so for only $5.99, which is good for three days after the first visit if you keep your score card.

Hillbilly Golf is open from March through November and is open from 9  am -10 pm, weather permitting. During the early spring and fall months, the ride is dark and the course is lit. Visitors are treated to a view of the Gatlinburg lights that can’t be topped.

If Hillbilly Golf ever closes due to weather, guests will receive a raincheck. 

Insider tip: There is parking in available in front of the business, but it can be limited. Plan on spending an hour for one course, 90 minutes to two hours for both courses.

Snacks are available, but don’t arrive hungry, as real food is not available. 

Hillbilly Golf is located at 340 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN 37738. To learn more, visit the Hillbilly Golf Facebook Page.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.


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