Fabulous foliage and weather make northern Georgia a fall golf paradise

By William K. Wolfrum, Contributor

The trees are slowly doing their part to usher in the fall season in northern Georgia. Each day the leaves show more and more color and soon leaves will feature the reds, oranges and browns that add the necessary color to fall in the Peach State.

Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
The expansive Chateau Elan Resort is on 3,500 acres about 45 minutes north of Atlanta.
Chateau Elan Winery and ResortChattahoochee National Forest
If you go

For travelers, the autumn months in northern Georgia present wildly varied options, as well as deals of all types and spectacular weather. From the hardcore golfer, to newlyweds looking for a romantic destination, to the outdoorsy who are looking for the next brilliant sight, fall in northern Georgia appeals to all interests.

For the golfers

The golf scene in Georgia from Atlanta to further north is beyond reproach. The choices for golfers will vary from one of Atlanta's outstanding municipal courses to brilliant specialty courses that will have golfers up at 4 a.m. waiting to hit the links.

Located about 45 minutes northeast of Atlanta is Bear's Best, which offers a golfer the opportunity to play 18 of Jack Nicklaus's best hole designs. The course showcases some of the great holes from such Nicklaus designs as PGA West, Muirfield Village, Castle Pines and Shoal Creek.

Bear's Best Director of Golf Todd Wagoner said that fall is the season for golfers to get out and play.

"This is just our peak time," said Wagoner. "We'll get some cold fronts coming in around mid-November and after that it's kind of hit and miss, but now the weather is fantastic."

Playing 6,650 yards from the back tees and very playable for most levels of golfers, Bear's Best green fees seem more investment than outlay.

Other courses include the challenging Crooked Creek Golf Club in Alpharetta, the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed Woodmont Golf Club in Canton and Cobblestone Golf Club in Acworth.

There are countless other quality courses throughout northern Georgia, and the dedicated duffer will have a full plate of new courses to try.

Resort living

The expansive Chateau Elan Resort is on 3,500 acres about 45 minutes north of Atlanta in Braselton. The vineyards and nature trails will get you outside and the 54 holes of championship golf will keep you there.

The Chateau Course, Legends Course and Woodlands Courses are all scenic and playable courses for all level of player.

Chateau Elan has also made a concerted effort to attract women and couples to their resort and golf courses.

"A lot of women come here with their husbands and its not automatic for the men go to the course and for the women go to the spa," said Chateau Elan Corporate Director of Communications Larry Mayran. "The pace is much for relaxed over the fall months and its much easier for them to learn the game, without feeling pressured."

Head Professional Geoff Sarazan -- grandson of golf legend Gene Sarazan -- said the free golf and great weather make for a busy fall.

The temperatures in September and October are just prime," Sarazan said. "And we do a lot to make sure our courses are women friendly."

With a winery that has garnered more than 350 awards and a 2.54-mile Grand Prix racetrack with a performance driving school, Chateau Elan has more than shown itself to be friendly to both sexes.

As with golf courses, resorts in northern Georgia run the gamut from full-on, old-school Southern to the European-styled.

Getting out and active

With the fall weather not being a hindrance, the North Georgia Mountains are waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers. Heading north from Atlanta, near Blairsville is the Blood Mountain Wilderness. At 4,460 feet, Blood Mountain is one of highest mountains in Georgia and the highest mountain on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.

The surrounding area has several camping grounds, all with access to dynamic hiking trails to give the outdoors' types the rush they love and the fall foliage that comes out earlier due to the higher elevation.

The beauty of Northern Georgia can also be witnessed at the nearby Chattahoochee National Forest, which boasts the most dramatic foliage changes in the entire state.

Finally, the fall months are a fest of festivals, including the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival in Hiawassee, and, of course, the North Georgia State Fair in Marrietta.

William K. WolfrumWilliam K. Wolfrum, Contributor

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

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