Soak in the scenery at player-favorite Crystal Falls Golf Club north of Atlanta
Before players strike a shot at Crystal Falls Golf Club they are treated to idyllic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as they approach the clubhouse and as they contemplate the tee shot on the panoramic first hole.
Despite its remote mountain location in Dawsonville, Ga., 65 miles north of Atlanta, players are finding their way to the private course, which recently made tee times available through GolfNow.com. Gasngo, of Woodstock, Ga., is one of the 22 of 29 reviewers who have rated Crystal Falls five stars.
"I've played here a few times, and the course just gets better," he wrote. "Staff is awesome, course is fair for all levels, maintained very well, and I'm going back as much as I can. It's a hike to get to, but I don't mind."
Crystal Falls Golf Club: The course
On rolling, wooded terrain, bisected by Yellow Creek, Crystal Falls stretches 7,050 yards from the back tees. With wide Bermuda fairways and bent-grass greens, the course is playable -- reflected in its mild course rating (72.2) -- but also has pitfalls, evident by its daunting slope (140).
Course architect Denis Griffiths, known for his restraint and designing courses consistent with their surroundings, has guided projects in four different continents, but his work is best known around Atlanta where his name graces several of the region's most highly regarded courses, including mountain classic Brasstown Valley Resort (4.6 player rating on GolfNow.com), the elegant 27 holes at the Georgia Club (4.6) in Statham, and two courses at Chateau Elam -- the Woodlands (4.1) and Chateau (4.1).
The Griffiths creation that rates the highest however is Crystal Falls (4.8), which was opened in 2006.
"Denis Griffiths is a master and this is one of his better designs," wrote bulldog89. "I would highly recommend this course to the player with a 10 or less handicap index. Strong test (and) in great condition."
Even in the area north of Atlanta that is rich with competition, Crystal Falls rates favorably on GolfNow.com to other favorites such as Achasta Golf Club (4.4), Woodmont Golf & Country Club (4.3), River Pines Golf Course (4.2), BridgeMill Athletic Club (4.2), Cobblestone Golf Course (4.2) and Bradshaw Farm (4.2), and other privates that have opened to public play such as Bent Tree Country Club (4.5) and The Manor (4.3).
One GolfNow.com player went so far as to compare particular elements of Crystal Falls to nearby Augusta National.
"Greens in great condition, course is pretty wide open, and rough was not that bad," wrote u000004526166. "Several holes had Augusta-like rough, pine trees and pine needles."
Crystal Falls Golf Club: The verdict
Much of the enthusiasm for Crystal Falls comes from public course players who appreciate the serenity and private club amenities and atmosphere at a reasonable price. Weekend rates at the course top out at $65.
"Absolutely one of the most challenging, best conditioned, fun courses I have played," wrote wnmills850, of Fayetteville, Ark. "It is sad to realize that the terrible real estate market in this area basically negated this club's plans, as it would be a premier, exclusive destination. But what a great opportunity for a three-times-a-week golfer like myself."
May 21, 2013