LAKEMONT AT STONE MOUNTAIN:
A TRUE TREAT & TREASURE
Story by: Mike May
One of the many great aspects of playing golf at the Stone Mountain Golf Club (Stone Mountain, GA) -- located just east of Atlanta -- is the customer service you receive, before you pull out of your driveway and head for the golf course. At least two or three days in advance of your tee time, the pro shop will send you two different emails. The first one will remind you of your tee time and the actual date, just in case it slipped your mind! In that email, it informs you of the golf club’s policies on cart use, rain checks, cancellations, and if there’s a frost delay, which is normally not an issue, but it can be during some winter mornings. The second email will give you directions to the course from all parts of the greater Atlanta area. Since everybody doesn’t have a Garmin in the car or access to a smartphone, it’s nice to get written directions to your final destination!
|As the name indicates, water hazards are a common feature at this layout. Of the first 13 holes, water is present on eight of them.
The Stone Mountain Golf Club is located inside the Stone Mountain State Park and it costs $10 per car to enter the park. To help defray that cost, the pro shop will give you $5 credit on your greens fee when you present the paid ‘ticket’ inside the pro shop. That ‘Southern Hospitality’ is much appreciated, as every dollar counts these days!
Lakemont is one of the 20+ golf courses on the Georgia Golf Trail, which stretches from Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in north Georgia to Stone Creek Golf Club in the southern part of the Peach State.
Another appealing aspect of golf at Stone Mountain is that there are two 18-hole courses on site: Stonemont and Lakemont. As the advertisement says, the Stone Mountain Golf Club is: “One Lake. One Mountain. Two Incredible Courses.” Stonemont is the only Robert Trent Jones, Sr. championship golf course in the state of Georgia. Lakemont was designed by Georgia native John Lafoy. Both are worth playing on your next trip to Atlanta. And, if you get an early enough tee time, you can play both courses on the same day.
I have had the privilege of playing Lakemont. As the name indicates, water hazards are a common feature at this layout. Of the first 13 holes, water is present on eight of them. The course is not heavily bunkered, but its biggest defense mechanisms are the tree-lined fairways. There are countless Georgia pines that line the fairways, but that shouldn’t concern the average golfer because the old saying in golf is that ‘trees are 90% air!’ And, some part of Stone Mountain is visible from nearly any part of the course.
Before you hit your tee shot at Lakemont’s #1, make sure you are warmed up because the opening shot on this double-dogleg par five is somewhat demanding. It’s completely over water. Consider giving and receiving a mulligan at the first! Once you reach Lakemont’s 1st green, the view is stunning. The putting surface is adjacent to the lake and the famous Stone Mountain Memorial Carving (featuring the head shots of three Confederate Civil War Heroes -- General Robert E. Lee, General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, and former President Jefferson Davis) is clearly visible in the distance. You can also see the cable cars that move tourists up and down Stone Mountain. If your timing is right, you’ll hear the music generated by the Carillon, the 732-bell ‘musical machine,’ which sits across the lake and was a gift to the park from Coca Cola following the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.
Holy cow, all that on the first hole! The 2nd hole is an attractive downhill par three where you can chip & run for an ‘up & down’ par, if you are short with your tee shot. Number three has a stunning backdrop of the lake behind the green and another memorable view of Stone Mountain. The 5th is a short, left-to-right dogleg par four which only measures 350 yards from the tips. While on the 5th tee, you can see the lake in the distance. As you wind your way to the green, aim to the right of the three sand traps which sit between the water and the left edge of the green. The 6th tests your guts as you seek glory. As you get closer to the putting surface of this lengthy par three, the entrance to the green will get narrow. Beware of the lake as it runs along the left side of the sixth hole. A par at the 6th is a PGA Tour-quality effort.
|Number three has a stunning backdrop of the lake behind the green and another memorable view of Stone Mountain.
The journey on the golf cart from the 9th green to the 10th tee is like a trip through a national forest. For the majority of this commute to the back nine, it’s a scenic excursion through the woods. Get your camera ready as you might see a deer in the distance. The back nine is just as intriguing. The 11th is a short, dogleg par four where the second shot is struck over an abandoned rock quarry. At the par three 13th, you must carry a ravine with your tee shot. That is a terrible time to hit it ‘fat’ off the tee. The 14th is somewhat special because there is no water or sand. That, in itself, is worth noting. On the final four holes at Lakemont, the occasional sand trap and the nearby woods represent the biggest hazards on the tail end of your journey through the inward nine. In fact, you won’t see water again the 19th Hole, otherwise known as The Commons.
The final three holes – a par three, a par four, and a par five – at Lakemont are ones that you can birdie. The 16th is ranked as the third easiest hole on the course, the 17th is listed as the easiest hole at Lakemont, and the 18th is a straight-away par five which rewards the player who can hit straight off the tee.
Since the tips (blue tees) measure less than 6,500 yards and a shade more than 6,000 yards from the white tees, Lakemont is designed to allow the low handicapper and the high handicapper to feel equally challenged on the same day while in the same group.
Finally, one of the awesome aspects of playing golf at the Stone Mountain Golf Club is that it’s close enough to the city of Atlanta to make the course easily accessible to hundreds of thousands of area residents and visitors, but far enough away that you cannot see the city’s skyscrapers or hear the commotion of big-city traffic. It’s a golfing ‘cocoon.’ You just feel the breeze as it sways through those big Georgia pines!
Are you ready for your trip to the Stone Mountain Golf Club? To book your ‘date’ with the first tee, check out the course’s website (www.stonemountaingolf.com) or call to make a reservation – 770-465-3278. And, don’t forget your paid parking ‘ticket’ for the $5 discount in the pro shop.
The author of this story is Mike May, a golf correspondent, who is based in Wellington, Florida. Mike is an avid golfer and he encourages you to visit the Stone Mountain Golf Club for a fun, challenging, and memorable golf experience. Mike can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org