I appreciate landscaping and golf-course design the way many people appreciate art. That’s why I’ve spent nearly two years developing my second golf-course replica hole. Now that it is completed, I confess I enjoy staring at it as much as I do playing it. Whether it’s during the day or lighted at night, I look out at it with satisfaction and appreciation for its aesthetics and the little challenges it presents.

Several years ago, the grind of traveling from Pebble Beach to my CBS assignments and other business ventures was amounting to more than 500 hours a year in the air. We were in serious need of a geographic alternative that would mean less travel and more time at home with the family. Fortunately, we found the perfect proximity fix in Music City, USA: Nashville, Tenn., which arguably is the nicest community in the country. Although it was difficult leaving our dream home in Pebble Beach on a full-time basis, I knew it would never disappear from my life entirely.

Soon after we settled into our home in Tennessee, I became obsessed by the idea of crafting something special in our backyard like what I had done 10 years ago at Pebble Beach with a replica of the nearby par-3 seventh. Like the original design in California, this project was as much about making it a playground for our children as it was about golf. My son learned to ride a bike on our putting surface at Pebble. My youngest daughter relished using it as a stage to perform her dances and somersaults as the music played on the sound system. Making our Nashville endeavor the ultimate backyard for our kids was paramount.

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The first three names on the leader board are those of the Nantz children: Caroline, Finley and Jameson.

MORE: Jim Nantz’s newest backyard golf hole is a nod to Augusta National—and looks even cooler than his Pebble Beach one

The process began by calling my friends at Back Nine Greens to help with the design and address drainage issues. Soon I invited Dominic Nappi and Shane Witcombe to discuss my initial concepts. Shane had spent many years collaborating with high-caliber architects such as Tom Doak, and Dom had built some of the greatest artificial-turf backyard holes in the country for golfaholics like actor Mark Wahlberg and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Together, we tried to approach the project with imagination and an artist’s flair. Several holes seemed worthy of replication. For a while I considered a tribute to the par-3 sixth hole at Riviera, the George Thomas classic with a bunker in the middle of the green. The par-3 12th at Augusta next gained steam, but in the end, the lack of space in our backyard steered us to creating a miniature of the green complex of the par-5 13th-hole at Augusta National.

By breaking free of the par-3 phenomenon that is sweeping the nation, we envisioned a hole with a variety of looks and challenges. Each hitting area would reflect one of the tricky third shots Masters competitors confront at the 13th when forced to lay up. The L-shape configuration of my property, which once seemed a liability, now magically provided the points of view players always see at the Masters.


Nantz FaceTimed buddy Fred Couples to discuss the break from the left side of the green to the front-right pin. Couples, who has played in the Masters 39 times and won the tournament in 1992, suggested a little less severe left-to-right action.

The green is roughly a 25 percent scale model of the original. The key to authenticity was building a creek bed to resemble the tributary of Rae’s Creek, which from 20 yards away looks frightening to a golfer. Also, a must was accuracy of the putting surface so that it featured the same slopes and breaks—albeit on a much smaller scale—as the green down in Georgia. I even FaceTimed my old buddy Fred Couples and showed him the putt from the left side of the green to the front-right pin. Fred, who has played in the Masters 39 times and won the tournament in 1992, advised that we needed a little less severe left-to-right action than I planned.

Next came the aesthetic touches. We’ve boundaried the property with magnolia trees, azaleas and pine straw. As with my Pebble Beach edition, an outdoor audio system was a must. Yes, the CBS golf theme plays on a loop along with Dave Loggins’ “Augusta” and E.S. Posthumus’ “Thrill of Victory” with its stirring, high-energy track that graces the Masters telecast.

For variety we modified an elevated screened-in patio and turned it into a Topgolf-like hitting bay, replete with a remote-controlled fold-up screen and heaters for chilly evenings in fall and winter. It is from here and only here where immortality can be achieved. A hole-in-one to the back-right hole location will earn someone a nameplate on my Nashvillian version of the Rock of Fame—something that has inspired many a guest at my Pebble Beach property. Getting a little carried away, I added a “championship” tee from the pool deck that stretches the shot to about 50 yards. Using modulated balls that fly about half the distance of an ordinary ball, the shot will demand a full 56-degree wedge for most of us mere mortals.


Arnold Palmer with CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz before ceremonial first shot in 2007

Al Tielemans


Masters Champion Fred Couples poses with CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz at 1992 Masters

Augusta National


Jim Nantz, CBS Sportscaster, on set during the first round of the 2017 Masters Tournament

Rob Carr


Jim Nantz with Ken Venturi from the 18th tower at Augusta National

CBS Photo Archive

We included a few add-ons to make this a full experience. I always wanted a leader board that looked reasonably Masters-like. This has been accomplished, and the first three names on the board are those of my children, Caroline, Finley and Jameson. The “in progress” scoring has them at four under par on the second nine, but I’ve warned them that they have a dangerous group of legends—Nicklaus, Palmer and Player, as well as Tiger and Freddie, in hot pursuit. We also installed three 10-foot posts with directional signs pointed toward clubs around the world that have been important to me. If Bryson DeChambeau comes by, I hope he doesn’t uproot one of them and walk away in his best Paul Bunyan swagger, as he did at the Masters this spring. Two of the directional signs point to a nearby comfort station, which had once been our pool house. Inside you will find a slushy and frozen margarita machine, a hot dog warmer and a soft-serve ice cream maker. This is where we’ll go to celebrate your hole-in-one and your newfound residence on the Rock of Fame.

Although the backyard is dedicated to the children, I’m naming it Hello Friends Village in honor of my late parents. Everyone who knows me is aware of how that phrase became part of my broadcasts as a coded message to my ailing father to let him know I was thinking of him. Above the teeing area on the porch hangs a treasured photograph of Winged Foot that was presented to me years ago as a reminder of a magical Father’s Day in 1974 when my dad took me to that hallowed club to watch the final round of the U.S. Open. In some ways, I guess you could say that Hello Friends Village was 50 years in the making.

More From Golf Digest Legends This piece of memorabilia in Jim Nantz’s office is so ridiculous that you have to respect it Legends Jim Nantz reveals the tear-jerking origin of ‘Hello friends’ at Hazeltine in 2002 Golf Digest Logo Jim Nantz: An Augusta farewell to Masters legends Verne Lundquist and Sean McManus

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