Before he sails off into retirement, Jim Stephens has put 18-hole Rock Springs Golf Course in Athens, Tenn., up for sale. The 31-year GCSAA member says it’s time to move on, and who could blame him? He’s 75, and his wife, Annette, is also in her 70s.
Right: Annette and Jim Stephens at Rock Springs Golf Course. Photo courtesy of Jim Stephens
“We’ve worked hard. The course is in good shape. We’re old enough to hang it up and travel a little,” Stephens says.
The price tag? $980,000.
Stephens purchased Rock Springs in 2009 when it was in bankruptcy. Is it profitable? “Yes. If managed properly, it will pay for itself,” he says.
Rock Springs is on a 75-acre piece of property, and Stephens has overseen a resurgence at the public course, which totaled more than 16,000 rounds last year and has its own water source. Among other assets are the clubhouse, carts, mowers and related maintenance equipment, and a cart barn.
Rock Springs has bentgrass greens, bermudagrass tees, and zoysiagrass fairways and rough. Stephens says Rock Springs’ par-5 fourth hole, which plays more than 500 yards from the tips, features the longest green in the state. “It is 100 yards long. If you’re just off the front and the pin is in the back, you need a pitching wedge to get to it,” he says with a laugh.
Stephens and his family have deep roots in Tennessee golf. He and his brother, Randy, built the nine-hole Scenic View Golf Course in Winchester, Tenn., in 1972. Jim’s son, Dominic, is the PGA club professional at Rock Springs.
Stephens says he and Dominic would be willing to stay on as advisers for the buyer of Rock Springs. “You couldn’t find a better place for beginners, ladies, seniors — really, anyone who wants to play the game,” Stephens says.
For more information, go to the Rock Springs Golf Course website.
Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.