It’s called the Tee Box at Southern Hills and could be a game-changer for the club and community

What is it about a tee box?

In Golf, the NEXT tee box is almost a reset, a new beginning. It’s a chance to keep moving forward, maybe rescue a round, or get that perfect shot that always brings a player back to the course the next day.

If you didn’t know, this week is Masters week, the annual tradition (like no other, they say) where the greatest golfers in the world gather on one of the most legendary golf courses in the world in Augusta, Georgia to compete for the most coveted prize of all, the green jacket.

In Cookeville, one new business is celebrating in style. It’s called the Tee Box at Southern Hills (TB) and could be a game-changer for the club and community.

“Our grand opening is now, Masters week, a magical week, and we are having one big Masters party at the Tee Box,” said John Croom, the newly minted Food and Beverage Coordinator at Southern Hills and The Tee Box.

Golfing, food and drink go hand in hand, after all.

Grand opening – The Tee Box at Southern Hills is celebrating the Masters in style.

Southern Hills Golf and Country Club is experiencing a shift in vibe if you will, and Croom says years of experience have inspired him.

“I have been an avid golfer who has been fortunate to have been a member of some nice country clubs or Golf clubs and have enjoyed the dining experience offered. These clubs have inspired me to take on this project at Southern Hills Golf Club,” said Croom.

The charm of Southern Hills has yet to be thoroughly explored.

“The dining facility and bar area are both beautiful, but these areas have been closed for some time,” said Croom. “This place was begging to be utilized, and I felt this was right for me. I love golf, food and the club experience. I look forward to bringing that experience to Southern Hills.”

Come for the Golf, and stay for the food and spirit.

“I want to bring the “club” atmosphere back to Southern Hills and, at the same time, offer fine dining with fresh ingredients to the members as well as the public,” said Croom. “This area has grown tremendously in the last couple of years, and I felt there was a need for this type of venue, previously you would have to drive a few miles to have this type of restaurant.”

What is the “club” atmosphere? Drinks? Yes, perhaps. Chatting with the crew, probably. But, at its finest, food is the centerpiece.

“What is so cool is that we now have families driving up in their golf carts to eat and have a couple of drinks,” said Croom. “We want to offer the community here the freshest fine dining with menu items you won’t get anywhere else.”

According to Croom, things are going to plan. The mission is drawing people from all over the Midstate. Word is spreading.

“We want to create a venue where people can enjoy the atmosphere,” says Croom. “Where you can play Golf, enjoy a fine meal and a nice glass of wine or cocktail before, during and after. Where you can host a wedding, corporate event, party or any event and know that the food, venue and service will be second to none.”

With every business, there is risk, of course.

Golf and restaurants are the same beast. It’s all about customer service and product pride. The customer knows when the owner is phoning it in, and Croom says staff is an important component in providing great experience.

That is just one of the places where the Tee Box shines.

“We have started with key people on board,” said Croom. “This begins with our kitchen. Chef Cheryl Gottro heads up the kitchen staff and creates our specialty items and menu items you are used to but with a twist.”

The back of the house is dialed in with experienced chefs and the plan is growth, but the menu is the most exciting part. Everything is made fresh, with fresh ingredients, “nothing frozen or prepared in a commercial factory/kitchen that you get everywhere else,” according to Croom.

As for the front of the house, where golfers guarantee, “I just need a new driver, and I would have shot even par,” Croom is usually front and center, greeting guests and assuring everyone is having a good time.

Oh, did I mention the menu is key?

“We prepare items like deviled eggs with candied bacon or candied jalapeno,” he said. “Smoked Gouda mac and cheese. Our potatoes are fresh never frozen rosemary-baked potatoes with spices.”

Are mouths watering yet?

TB also serves:

  • house-made chicken salad
  • Hand-patted fresh ground beef hamburger with your choice of cheese, pepper jack, cheddar swiss or American.
  • BLT with candied bacon or regular bacon.
  • Local hickory smoked BBQ pork sandwich or plate.

“Flatbreads are very popular,” according to Croom, “and the choices are Margherita, Marinara, Italian spiced cheese and tomatoes with basil chiffonade drizzle. We have pepperoni flatbread with marinara, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella cheese. Our BBQ flatbread is made with sharp cheddar cheese, Hickory smoked pulled pork, and red onion with housemade BBQ sauce.”

TB now serves breakfast and lunch, all made fresh “with fresh ingredients,” according to the event coordinator, but this summer, the restaurant and bar plans on having a dinner and brunch menu. Like golf, you can’t phone in passion, and Croom’s passion for both food and the golfing community is palpable.

Food, spirits and links. It is a tradition like no other.

“We truly hope to bring the ultimate club experience to the Southern Hills community,” says Croom. “We need to provide the very best dining experience with fresh unique menu items and invite all to our club! We look forward to having you here.”

For more information, follow TB on Facebook @Teebox or visit Southern Hills HERE for tee times and daily specials. Located at 4770 Ben Jared Road in Cookeville, you can reach them at 931-432-5150.

Photo courtesy of TB.

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