While golf at Inness is still a few weeks away from opening to the public, our golf team recently previewed this outstanding and innovative new course in Accord. After years of construction, this latest design from acclaimed golf architects King-Collins Golf has affectionately been nicknamed “Sweetens’ Back Nine,” as it represents a continuation of the bold architectural themes that have made Sweetens Cove in Tennessee so admired. Both are nine-hole courses, and both offer a fun and refreshing approach to golf.
Off the parking lot of what was previously Roundout Golf Club, there is a newly constructed comfort station, with large floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook clear site lines to most corners of the course. Visitors will find a selection of craft beers, and healthy and artisanal snacks available as well.
Steps out the door is the first tee, and right behind it a massive, 55,000 sq ft shared green complex that combines the second and ninth greens with an even larger expansive double putting green. Beyond that is the visually stunning 30,000 sq ft shared green of the par three, third hole situated at the course’s highest point, slopping downward to the par four, sixth green.
This initial visual preview rouses a stunning combined sense of excitement and anticipation, but also one of foreboding. Our group had never seen greens like this with the massive mounding undulation. You could just tell that the three and four putts were coming, but also that there would be a lot of room for inventiveness and creativity in the shot-making.
We asked Golf Course Head Superintendent, Anthony Minniti, to share his perspective on the course: “This course is a challenge, and the greens and areas surrounding them state that. You may have a four putt, on a good day. You may play the course two times and get a completely different round the second time, based on where the ball bounces. It is very bold, and the greens are the biggest and most undulating I have ever seen or managed.”
Minniti’s opinion is a qualified one, as he boasts a degree in Turfgrass and Soil Science from UConn, along with a work pedigree that includes experience at some of the finest golf courses in the world, most recently The Creek and Shinnecock Hills. His perspective on how Inness compares in this golf-rich region is enlightening:
“What makes us different is that we have 3.5 acres of greens and 30 acres of fairways, which is equivalent to that of an average 18-hole golf course, yet we are nine holes. The greens are massive and very undulating. There are expansive fairways that you have a very decent shot at landing somewhere in the shortgrass, on some hole, off the tee.”
Minniti also points out that, like Shinnecock, there is no rough at Inness. The sprawling fairways run right to the edge of the native grass. As Inness is just starting out, Minniti shared that there are a few anticipated concerns that will need to be ironed out.
“There are a few pinch points in regard to flow of play, but we will be figuring out those as we go throughout this season. Another challenge which I will be monitoring this season will be green speed and playability. The greens are very undulating and finding the right speed/ consistency for them, while still allowing it to be playable and fun will be a fun task,” he says.
Head Pro, John Deforrest, PGA is also very proud of the course. John had previously been the pro at Roundout and has been excited to see the transformation into Inness. His suggestion to tackle the eighth hole from two different tees was a good one. The first time our group played it as a short par four from the back tees, while the second time we played it as a 280-yard drivable par four.
Inness is described as an “intimate country refuge and members club.” Its 225-acre campus includes 40 hotel rooms (28 cabins and a 12-room farmhouse), a restaurant and lounge, the 9-hole golf course, a sports outfitter, swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking trails, an events barn, a farm shop, and a three-acre organic farm. The starting rate for the hotel’s summer opening (peak season) is $365 and includes full access to the property. Inness is a partnership between architect and restaurateur Taavo Somer (Hotel Kinsley), designers Post Company (formerly Studio Tack), and development team CBSK Ironstate and Lee Pollock, in addition to King-Collins Golf.
The public may experience the Inness property by purchasing a day pass ($130) to evaluate membership. Single-day access is limited to three passes per person, per year. Go to www.inness.co for more information.