Hold on tight, because the ups and downs in the history of Skitts Mountain is a tale even taller than its peak! Trying to decipher truth from myth is harder than navigating our corn maze, but that's just on par if you know some of the real characters that helped shape the history of the area, including the golf course that occupied the property for over 60 years. We're talking unbelievable twists and turns, starting with the mountain's very name.
The proper, original name of the mountain is "Skitt Mountain", but tell a local, and they'll tell you to take a hike because that's irrelevant. Even better, the name change isn't the most confusing part, that honor belongs to how the name even came to be!
According to some, the mountain's name is believed to be a corruption of the word "skit," reflecting the tall tales or skits told by pioneers who once populated the area, while others claim the name's origin is attributed to the Skitt family, renowned Cherokee Indians who were among the area's first inhabitants. The Skitts were part of a small group of Cherokee who managed to evade the infamous Trail of Tears, a forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans to Oklahoma following white settlers' discovery of gold in North Georgia. They found refuge behind their namesake mountain and remained unnoticed by federal troops who were tasked with rounding up Cherokees from the gold-rich regions. While visually appealing, the terrain around the area is rugged and hilly, which may have led the government to deem it as not valuable enough, thereby sparing the small Cherokee settlement any intrusion or disturbance. While both of the origin stories seem to check out, they lead us to our favorite: the mountain is actually named Skitts Mountain because of the middle child in a family that lived at the edge of the golf course. He was so well known for being full of something that... well... rhymes with Skitt that it just stuck, like most of his chip shots.
Speaking of chip shots, that brings to mind the game of golf, which to most long-time residents means one thing: Skitts Mountain, the golf course. It has a fascinating history that dates back to the 1950s. Originally known as Mossy Creek Golf Course, it is one of the oldest golf courses in North Georgia.
According to an article by Johnny Vardeman in the Gainesville Times, Billy Jenkins, a retired White County educator who has played it since it was just three holes back in the 1950s, has compiled an informal history of the course. He has known it since age 12. He retired after more than three decades in education, including the principal of White County High School.
The article goes on to say, "The late George R. Brown, a native of the Mossy Creek area, built the course in his backyard just for friends and family at first. In 1956, he acquired some adjacent farm land and built a nine-hole course. Some of the land was still under cultivation, and corn rows were evident in some of the fairways for a while. Brown later bought a bulldozer, and the corn rows disappeared."Later, it continues, "Brown had been the architect, construction superintendent, and labor force for the nine holes, Jenkins said. He also had laid out another nine holes before he sold the course to J.P. Ballard about 1970. Much of the current 18-hole course is Brown’s design. (The article was written in 2015.)
Before the name became Skitts Mountain Golf Course, it was known as Brown’s Golf Course. The name was changed to Mossy Creek in recent years, but many golfers still refer to it as “Skitts.”"
The course has been graced by esteemed players such as Tommy Aaron, the 1973 Masters champion, who recalls playing there when cornstalks were still present in the fairways. Aaron's memories highlight the course's humble beginnings and its evolution over time.