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Georgia Beckons Golfers Year-Round

Photo Credit: ChicagoReader

With its rich golfing history, panoramic views of mountains and seashores, and hundreds of open courses, Georgia is home to some of the most exciting golf experiences in the world.

Georgia boasts 523 golf courses – many of which are open to the public. The largest concentration is centered on the metropolitan Atlanta area and the coastal regions of Savannah. With temperate weather throughout the year, golfers can usually pick up a few rounds in Georgia during any season. Most courses are open 12 months a year (except in the extreme elevations of the north Georgia Mountains).

The Peach State offers a broad spectrum of topographical features that have drawn many of the leading golf course architects in the world, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio and Georgia’s own Bobby Jones. There are links in a wide variety of natural settings, from the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chattahoochee National Forest, to the low country and coastal islands of the Atlantic Ocean, to the broad sandy plains of Middle and South Georgia.

A Tradition of Golf Excellence

Georgia is best known as the home of the Masters Tournament each spring at Augusta National Golf Club. The Masters is one of the four major championships in professional golf – and the only major played on the same course each year. Augusta National has been ranked the number one golf course in the United States in numerous golf and sports magazine surveys, and is consistently ranked the top course in Georgia.

Bobby Jones – often considered the greatest golfer the sport has ever known –grew up in the Atlanta area. Jones is the only professional golfer to have won a Grand Slam, capturing victories in 1930 in all four major tournaments which were being played that year. (Tiger Woods’ Grand Slam spanned the 2001-2002 seasons). Two months after Jones completed the “Impregnable Quadrilateral”, he retired from professional golf. A year later, he and his partners purchased a former nursery and Jones built his “dream course” -- Augusta National, which has hosted the Masters Tournament since 1934.

While only members can play at Augusta National, the general public can compete on other courses designed by Jones. One of the best known and most accessible is the Bobby Jones Golf Course near downtown Atlanta. The par 70 championship venue covers almost 6,000 acres, mixing tree-lined settings along Peachtree Battle Creek with scenic vistas of Midtown Atlanta.

More than 500 Courses Across the State

Many other Georgia courses are frequently ranked nationally. Some of the best known include:

- Savannah Golf Club, the second oldest club in the United States.

- East Lake in Atlanta, Bobby Jones’ home course and a frequent stop on the PGA Tour.

- TPC Sugarloaf near Atlanta, a private club and PGA Tour site designed by Greg Norman.

- Arrowhead Pointe on Lake Richard B. Russell, one of the top-ranked municipal courses in the nation.

- Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club, where expansive fairways through marshes and forests have hosted several PGA and USGA tournaments.

- Oconee Course at Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee, another breathtaking PGA host course.

For a unique getaway, Brasstown Valley Golf Course in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia provides breathtaking scenery as well as challenging play. Consistently ranked one of Georgia’s top courses by Golf Digest and other organizations, Brasstown Valley is located two hours north of Atlanta. The Denis Griffiths-designed course winds among wildlife preserves, stream and ponds in the shadow of Brasstown Bald Mountain. Brasstown Valley has five sets of tees, enabling golfers of all skill levels to enjoy a day in the mountains. Make it a weekend getaway by staying in Brasstown Valley Resort’s lodge or a well-appointed cabin; dining at the restaurant; playing tennis; riding horses; or hiking through the property.

In addition to state-owned Brasstown Valley, eight Georgia state parks provide a variety of challenges amongst some of the picturesque surroundings in the country. The courses in eastern and southern Georgia offer affordable prices in a relaxing atmosphere.

Georgia has also competed successfully in college golf. Augusta State University is a recent national NCAA golf champion, with the University of Georgia placing second that same year. UGA, Georgia Tech, and several other colleges are frequent competitors in the NCAA tournament. Also, the University of Georgia golf course is also among the top collegiate courses in the United States, hosting the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic tournament.

This list only scratches the surface of the top Georgia venues for golfers. But with hundreds of public courses, a broad variety of lush natural settings, and courses that challenge players of all skill levels, there are few areas that can match the historical traditions and the contemporary opportunities for golfers in Georgia.

Questions or comments? Please email Michael Fenton at mfenton@atlantapacifcgroup.com.

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