The two-time major champion joined the club in the Nashville suburbs through his friendship with Steve Smith, a member who owns several downtown lounges and restaurants and led a group that bought Old Hickory in 2018. Daly is now helping Superintendent Dan Johnson redesign tee boxes to add length and make the golf course more suitable for tournaments. Several other celebrities from the music world have also joined the club, including Kid Rock. Upgrades to the clubhouse and other facilities are also underway. “We’re looking to be number-one in the city, and it’s moving along pretty fast,” Smith said.
Nashville, Tenn. honky-tonk mogul Steve Smith promised changes to Old Hickory (Tenn.) Country Club when he led a group that bought it for $2.3 million in 2018 (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/old-hickory-tenn-cc-sold-nashville-lounge-owner/). And one of the world’s most recognizable professional golfers has had a big part in starting to bring those changes about, The Tennessean of Nashville reported.
John Daly, a two-time major champion, is now a member of Old Hickory through his friendship with Smith, The Tennessean reported, and several music celebrities are also members, including Kid Rock, Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson and Cole Swindell, according to Smith.
Daly visits Nashville periodically through his affinity for the city’s music scene and was invited by Smith to play at Old Hickory in the fall of 2018, The Tennessean reported. That led to Daly working with course superintendent Dan Johnson to redesign the tee boxes for golfers who want to play the championship layout, or back tees, as an option for higher-level play.
Daly’s input is also being used for other upgrades being made to the course, Johnson said.
“John is fun,” Johnson said. “We want the place to be first-class, but we also want it to be fun. Golf has been stagnant and stuffy.”
About six of the tee boxes are finished, The Tennessean reported, and plans are to increase the overall length of the golf course from about 6,600 yards to about 7,250 yards, according to Johnson.
“I love doing stuff like that,” Daly told The Tennessean by phone about his involvement with the changes at Old Hickory. “I told them they have got a lot of room and could make it a little longer. I know how to make a course longer without a lot of work.
“I had a blast doing it,” he added. “It’s a fun golf course because it’s always in great shape. The greens are always rolling smooth [and] great.
“They want it right, and trust me, they are doing it right,” Daly said, adding that he believes Old Hickory can be a suitable course for more tournaments, and perhaps even a PGA Champions Tour event.
Smith, who also has ownership stakes in Nashville establishments including Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s Bar & Grill, Honky Tonk Central, The Diner Nashville and Kid Rock’s new steakhouse, told The Tennessean that a future restaurant at Old Hickory that is part of a clubhouse renovation and expansion could also involve Daly. The restaurant, which will open to the public, is targeted to open in 2020, Smith said.
A new spa and salon, indoor tennis and racquetball courts, as well as upgrades to an exercise facility are also in the works, Smith said, noting that the golf course “is in tremendous shape” as other changes are made.
“We’re looking to be number-one in the city, and it’s moving along pretty fast,” Smith told The Tennessean.
Membership at Old Hickory is on an uptick, The Tennessean reported, helped by some of the high-profile celebrities who Johnson said are also pretty good golfers. “None of them are hacks,” he said about that celebrity members.
Added Daly: “I tell them [if they play golf], they can break golf clubs, not guitars.”
In addition to professional events, Daly also thinks the celebrity connections could help Old Hickory become a venue for large-scale charity tournaments that could be packaged with “hellacious concerts,” he told The Tennessean.
Known as a free spirit throughout his golf career, with the nickname “Long John” for his ability to drive the ball long distances, Daly described Nashville to The Tennessean as a “really goodhearted place” and one of his favorite cities to visit.