The Georgia Club in Statham looks like a 'Dawg' track, but even Georgia Tech fans will love playing golf here
STATHAM, Ga -- If you believe the Walker Cup was named in honor of Herschel Walker, The Georgia Club is the perfect place for you. This 27-hole golf course, part of a community development less than 10 miles from the hallowed hedges of Sanford Stadium, oozes red and black. Any alum or fan of the University of Georgia will absolutely love the place.
But the good news is even if you have no ties to UGA or even attended -- gasp! -- Georgia Tech, you will enjoy the Georgia Club.
The quality of service, from the pro shop to the grill room to the maintenance shed, is always exceptional, making The Georgia Club one of the most enjoyable places to spend an afternoon.
The Georgia Club opened in 2001 with 18 holes designed by Georgia architect Denis Griffiths, then added another nine holes -- some of them integrated into the original 18 -- in 2006.
Memberships are available, but the golf course is generally always open to public play and is a popular spot for corporate outings.
The course is known for its ability to challenge, but not overwhelm a golfer. A player with good length has the potential to dominate. (I played here once with current PGA Tour player Chris Kirk when he was a junior at Georgia and he shot a 64.)
The greens don't have a great deal of undulation, but they are generally oversized and receptive. There are some areas that require proper decision making -- a golfer must be true to his or her own game in order to succeed -- and Griffiths is one of the best at using bunkers as an optical illusion to deceive a player.
"This is a fun golf course," said Bill Adams, a financial officer for a local business who was playing it for the first time. "The greens are big and there's not a lot of rough."
The Georgia Club's three nines
The golf course is split into three nines. You could end up playing any combination of the layouts, depending on the maintenance schedule and the amount of play. The last time we played, the starter called an audible and sent our twosome out on a different nine rather than get stuck behind a handful of foursomes.
The Georgia Club's Red and Black courses are a mixture of original and new holes and play to a par 36. The Silver, which plays to a par 35, is one of the original nines. From the tips, the Red plays 3,598 yards, the Black plays 3,685 and the Silver plays 3,428.
All three layouts open with a par 5; the Red and Black each start with the nice one with wide fairways that permit you to come out swinging. The Silver, however, shows its teeth on the first hole, throwing a long (604 from the back tees, 554 from the middle) dogleg left. A player has two options: play it as a three-shot par 5 and you'll have a 150-yard approach into the green or try to cut the dogleg and risk ending up in a rough-strewn hazard that is almost guaranteed to eat your golf ball. This may be the toughest hole on the property.
There are other difficult holes. The par-4 seventh hole on the Red plays 453 yards from the back tees, is bordered along the right by a lake and has a mature tree blocking the right side of the fairway. The second hole on the Black is a 482-yard par 4 that begins a stretch of difficult driving holes.
But there are plenty of fun holes, too. The second hole on the Red is a short dogleg right and offers the long hitter the opportunity to bomb a tee shot over a stand of pine trees and reach the green. It's a great birdie opportunity.
One of the most scenic spots is a pair of par 3s situated on a pond on the Black. The second hole is only 136 yards and the eighth hole is 183 from the back tees.
Georgia Club: The verdict
The Georgia Club is a place you'll want to play over and over again. Because the fairways are generous and the greens oversized, your round of golf won't feel like work.
The Georgia Club has one of the best practice facilities in northeast Georgia. The spacious range has plenty of room and there is a practice green, complete with bunkers, for chipping and sand play, and two other practice putting greens. It's a good place to find quality grass tees and work on your game.
If you find yourself in the Athens area (or even Atlanta; it's only an hour away), the Georgia Club is definitely worth a visit. Even a Georgia Tech fan would agree it's a quality golf course.
September 21, 2012