The long and short of golf at beautiful Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, just south of Atlanta
PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- You would think a golf course located at Callaway Gardens would be picturesque and, of course, you'd be right.
The longtime Georgia tourist attraction, about an hour's drive south of Atlanta, has two 18-hole courses, the Lake View and Mountain View. They have a great deal in common as far as scenery, but could not be more different in terms of strategy.
Lake View is very short and requires finesse. Mountain View is long and requires meat for breakfast.
"You've got to beat the hell out of the ball on just about every tee box," Callaway spokesman Roger Childers said of Mountain View.
Mountain View, designed by Dick Wilson, is where the pros teed it up for nearly a decade when the popular resort hosted the Buick Open.
"They loved it," said Childers, who moved to Callaway from a professorship at Florida State University. "Big greens, twice the size of Lake Views. No houses or condos."
Actually, neither course has houses or condos. Both take full advantage of this beautiful, little slice of Georgia, located in the foothills of the Appalachians.
There's enough elevation change to give both courses good movement. Lake View in particular is a beautiful course, winding through the azaleas that the gardens were originally formed to protect.
The founder of the resort, Cason Callaway, said of the original, nine-hole course: "Old men build golf courses for young men to play on. I'm going to build one for old men."
That meant a short course with wide fairways. That turned into the 18-hole Lake View, though you don't have to be old to enjoy it now.
It is still short, measuring only a little more than 6,000 yards from the tips, so you can give your driver a rest if you're a big hitter. But, Joe Lee, its designer, made up for lack of length with some tricky, little greens.
It's one of those old-fashioned, pre-boom-boom technology courses that can be a blast to play if you like a course that tests your irons, particularly your wedge play.
Pretty much every green at Lake View is well protected by bunkers that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In many cases, the greens are elevated and drop off sharply so that missing them hurts.
Add to that their diminutive size and it doesn't matter if you blast your tee shot 300 yards: You still need to get it in the hole.
Lee left tiny openings in most of his greens, so that the bump-and-run is available, but for the most part, you'll be coming in from on high, trying to land it softly on greens that will not hold anything else. Make sure you have your 60-degree wedge in the bag.
June 26, 2007