THE FAB FIVE OF THE GEORGIA GOLF TRAIL
Story by: Mike May
Of the 20+ golf courses that are part of the Georgia Golf Trail, five of them are located in rural sections of the state, tucked away in five state parks. While they may be off the beaten path, so to speak, they are worth making the effort to go play.
“Our state park golf courses in Georgia are terrific golf destinations, which are incredible designs which are very well maintained and fairly priced,” said Doug Hollandsworth, Founder, Georgia Golf Trail. “The affiliation of these golf courses with amenity filled state parks makes them a perfect place to visit, especially with your families.”
|Arrowhead Pointe has been compared to golf courses at Reynolds Oconee because of the creative and imaginative layout.
HIGHLAND WALK GOLF COURSE
There are many scenic selfie ‘hot spots’ at Highland Walk Golf Course (706-245-6770) at Victoria Bryant State Park in Royston. There are a number of uphill and downhill tee shots at Highland Walk. The easiest downhill tee shot is at the par-four 1st hole. The tee shot which requires the most amount of concentration is on the 7th. The tee shot at the 7th is downhill and the approach is uphill. A well-struck tee ball at the 7th will soar forever in the Georgia sky. The number one photo ‘opp’ locale is the signature hole -- the 17th. Here, your tee shot, which is struck from a raised and terraced tee box, will travel over a ravine to a somewhat narrow fairway. From there, you can go pin seeking to a flag perched on a raised, sloping green. At 17, pars are precious and birdies are worth a fist pump.
ARROWHEAD POINTE GOLF COURSE
At the Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course (706-283-6000) in Elberton, visiting golfers will discover a 6,800-yard course situated on a peninsula within the Richard B. Russell State Park. Arrowhead Pointe deserves to be called the ‘Crown Jewel’ of the Georgia Golf Trail. Here, the water views are simply stunning -- with 10 of the 18 holes skirting Lake Richard B. Russell. The 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th holes are perched on a strip of land that is surrounded by Lake Russell on three sides. The degree of difficulty of those four holes is superseded by their joint magnitude of beauty. Arrowhead Pointe has been compared to the more expensive and upscale golf courses at Reynolds Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia because of the creative and imaginative layout, which includes many scenic views of the nearby lake. One exception to the Reynolds Oconee comparison is that there are no visible lakefront homes at Arrowhead Pointe, which is consistent with the state park golf course theme of "no crowds, no houses, and no noise."
|The Creek Golf Course also tests your golf aptitude and it starts on the tee of the first hole -- considered “the hardest first starting hole in Georgia.”
THE CREEK GOLF COURSE
The Creek Golf Course (706-557-3006) at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Social Circle is affordably priced, as Golf Digest Frugal Golfer has listed The Creek as the “4th sweetest deal in the USA.” In addition to being a fairly priced golf experience, this golf course also tests your golf aptitude and the sternest test is the tee shot on the par-four 10th hole, formerly the opening hole, which used to be considered “the hardest first starting hole in Georgia.” Here, your tee ball is a downhill shot into a blind left-to-right bend. Don’t forget to ring the bell in the fairway after you hit your approach shot to the green. Another memorable hole at The Creek is its signature hole – the 5th. Here, a water wheel and bridge are located on this hole which form a backdrop that makes it one of the most peaceful and picturesque backdrops in the region.
BRAZELL’S CREEK GOLF COURSE
The Brazell’s Creek Golf Course (912-577-7745) at Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park in Reidsville is a well-designed par-71 layout. Georgia's own Denis Griffiths designed all 18 holes – a stern, competitive and fun test of golf. This course is just under 7,000 yards from the tips and includes five sets of tees. The signature hole is the 15th hole -- a 207-yard par 3, which plays over scenic wetlands to a large, undulating island green. At Brazell’s Creek, a 1,500-yard winding bridge through a canopy of trees connects the front nine with the back nine. The holes on the back nine were built on a windswept open landscape which has a links-style look to it. On the other hand, the holes on the front nine are tree-lined and the greens have some creative contours.
|The Lakes Golf Course was designed by Steve Burnes and features native sand for the many bunkers and waste areas.
LAKES GOLF COURSE
The Lakes Golf Course (912-285-6154) at Laura S. Walker Park in Waycross is the southern-most golf course on the Georgia Golf Trail. It features large, undulating greens. The fairways and landing areas are defined with gentle, links-style mounds that accent the course’s three large lakes, which have alligators in residence. The Lakes Golf Course was designed by Steve Burnes and features native sand for the many bunkers and waste areas. Also, loblolly pines are a common sight along the fairways at the Lakes GC, which is an easy course to walk. After pursuing ‘Old Man Par’ at the Lakes GC, golfers are encouraged to quench their thirst and hunger cravings at the Back Nine Grille which is located inside the clubhouse.
For more information about those five golf courses and others on the Georgia Golf Trail, access www.GeorgiaGolfandTravel.com.
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