The Providence Club in Monroe: A fun option for Atlanta and Athens golfers
MONROE, Ga. -- Golfers who live in Atlanta's northeastern suburbs can be frustrated by the lack of available facilities. There are plenty of golf courses 20 miles to the west, but that means typically driving into the teeth of traffic and paying higher green fees.
The Providence Club is a good option. Located in a real estate development by the same name, the course is in Monroe, less than an hour from downtown Atlanta and less than 30 minutes to downtown Athens. And it's a fun, well conditioned golf course that can be played at a reasonable price.
The course was purchased in March 2008 from the Eagle Greens group. New owners Jon and Jason Schwendinger made immediate improvements, from increasing the maintenance budget to changing the gas carts in favor of the more-desired electric ones.
This summer the owners rebuilt a broken dam, had the periphery of the lake cleaned up and the edges repaired with 10 truckloads of sod. Next, the club will begin the process of cleaning out and reworking the bunkers.
"When they get an idea, they go for it," said Dave Ayers, a PGA Professional who has been at the club for six and a half years. Ayers, who lives in the subdivision, is a respected teacher and junior golf advocate in the Georgia PGA Section. "They don't mind spending money to make the course better."
The golf course features Bermuda fairways and bentgrass greens that typically roll to a nine on the Stimpmeter. The course features rolling hills and doesn't often allow the subdivision's houses to infringe on the layout. The front nine is walkable, but the back nine has a couple long green-to-tee hikes. Water comes into play on four holes on the front nine, none on the back.
The Providence Club: The verdict
The Providence Club is a fun golf course to play from the first hole, a par 5 with only a touch of water on the right side to cause trouble. While none of the par 5s are overly penal, each has something to get your attention: No. 9 requires a drive over water and plays uphill about 250 yards; No. 12 is an uphill dogleg to the left; No. 18, the longest hole, has a tight out-of-bounds on the right and a trouble on the left near the spot most second shots end up.
There are a couple of par 4s that may be drivable for the big knockers. No. 5 is a sharp dogleg right that plays 353 from the back tees. The green can be attacked by anyone willing to fly over the trees and take a chance on finding the average-sided green.
A better option is No. 13, a downhill hole that plays only 340 from the back tees. The fairway pinches a bit when getting closer to the green, but it's not bad enough to prevent anyone from taking a big swing.
The prettiest hole may be No. 7, a 154-yard elevated par 3 that's surrounded on two sides by water and is protected by two bunkers in the front.
"I really like this golf course," said Terry Adair, a retired teacher whose home abuts the first hole. "It's challenging enough, but you don't feel like it's beating your up."
That's the sort of sentiment that Ayers hears from a lot of the patrons.
"You won't believe how many people come in and say, 'That's the best round I've had all year,'" Ayers said. "It's a fun course to play."
There are five sets of tees, ranging from 5,048 yards to 6,576 yards, which is more demanding than its 128 slope rating might infer.
Green fees range from $33 to a maximum of $50 on the weekends. Memberships are available; the initiation fee is $250, with $125 monthly dues that include range balls. There is a well-stocked snack bar/grill inside the homey clubhouse.
Most won't make the Providence Club a destination, but it's a great place if you're visiting relatives nearby or are in Athens for a football game. Athens and the northeast Atlanta suburbs of Buford, Lawrenceville or Duluth have plenty of hotels and motels from which to choose.
October 8, 2008