Steel Canyon Golf Club brings a fun, quick round to golfers on the north side of Atlanta
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- A lot of executive golf courses lack imagination. Steel Canyon Golf Club, a par-61 facility located in this northern Atlanta suburb, bucks the trend.
Although not perfect, Steel Canyon is an excellent alternative for those who need a fun round of golf for a reasonable price or a quality place to practice.
The 18 holes at Steel Canyon, designed by Georgia architect Mike Riley, are built on the former site of a landfill. The 120-acre site had been filled to capacity since 1988 and was drawing complaints from the neighborhood about the smell and potential to pollute the Chattahoochee River. The Fulton County government worked with a local developer to build the course and receives a percentage of the annual green fees. And the complaints about the odors have ceased.
Steel Canyon has one par 5, five par 4s and a dozen par 3s. There are plenty of elevation changes, moguls and mounds, and sand bunkers to keep everyone happy and interested. The course, formerly known as the Blue Heron, has holes that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They offer enough of a challenge to hold the interest of a low-handicapper and enough simplicity to prevent a duffer from being overwhelmed.
After undergoing a management change, the course recently reworked the greens, replanting them with Champion Bermuda grass. That will prevent them from being blistered by the hot and humid Georgia summer. The new greens have helped add legitimacy to the golf course.
"Having these new greens has made all the difference in the world," said Steve Ellis, who lives nearby and has played Steel Canyon at least a dozen times. "These greens roll really good ... I can't figure them out today, but they're rolling good."
There are three sets of tees. The reds play 2,773 yards, the whites are 3,284 yards and the blacks are a testy 3,783 yards.
The golf course is framed by a series of large steel power lines that run through and around the facility. Regulars know how to use the landmarks as targets for their tee shots. The power lines do not come into play on any of the holes.
The fairways on the longer holes are often sloped and have typically narrow fairways. The course opens with a pair of short par 4s. They are like most of the longer holes on the course, where it's okay to miss on one side of the fairway because the slope will push a ball back into play. Miss it on the wrong side, however, and you'll likely be getting another ball out of your pocket.
There are two dogleg holes, the par-5 sixth and the par-4 16th. The sixth plays shorter than its 501 yards because the second shot goes dramatically downhill, a fact that isn't noticeable from the tee. The bend in the 16th is protected by mounds on the left and traps on the right.
Riley has given a lot of thought into the development of Steel Canyon's par 3s. These aren't cookie-cutter holes placed in the middle of the field. There are elevation changes from the tee, both uphill (like the 213-yard 14th) and downhill (most notably the 187-yard fourth). And Riley finds a way to use the natural gullies and hills to keep things interesting.
And players will always be kept guessing by the greens, which have more slope and undulation that they appear. First-timers can find themselves playing into the wrong side of the green and confused when their tee shot rolls from one side to the other. The best example is the 138-yard 12th hole, where the green is cut out of a hillside and slopes to the right. There's no way to stop a pitch if you miss it left, and even a well-struck tee shot has the chance to roll away.
Steel Canyon G.C. also features a nice putting green, a chipping green and a large practice range that is lit for nighttime use. The rates are kept reasonable and walking is permitted.
Steel Canyon Golf Club: The verdict
Steel Canyon Golf Club is a fun course that's definitely worth a try. The staff members are friendly and helpful. The layout and the degree of difficulty are better than you might expect. The greens are very solid and the bunkers are filled with sand and in good condition, something you can't say about every public course in the area.
The serious golfer might get bored, but the average player is likely to enjoy it. And if you have a child who enjoys playing or an out-of-town relative who wants to scrape it around, Steel Canyon is ideal. You definitely get your money's worth.
July 5, 2012