Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro yields top-grade golf courses and much more

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

GREENSBORO, Ga. - About halfway between Atlanta and Augusta sits a self-contained golf destination that few others in the country can match. With six quality golf courses, first-class accommodations and many activities in addition to golf, Reynolds Plantation is a premiere golf resort.

Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Plantation
About halfway between Atlanta and Augusta sits Reynolds Plantation, a self-contained golf destination that few others in the country can match.
Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds PlantationReynolds Plantation Jackson HouseReynolds Plantation - Great Waters golf courseReynolds Golf AcademyRitz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation SpaReynolds Plantation - Oconee golf course - 17 and 18
If you go

Reynolds Plantation's golf courses were designed by some of the best in the business – Bob Cupp, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus and Rees Jones. And the 16,000-acre resort wraps around the shores of beautiful Lake Oconee, which also provides the ideal setting for fishing, boating and hunting. It's also the perfect launching point for golfers who want to attend the Masters. And with August National a drive of only an hour to the east, resort guests can stay and play in style - probably for about the same price as lesser accommodations demand in Augusta.

History of Reynolds Plantation

Like many beautiful stretches of land in the South, Reynolds Plantation can trace its roots centuries into the past. It rests within an area once known as Cracker's Neck, a favorite section of Greene County, which was named for Revolutionary War hero Nathanial Greene.

Greene County businessman and inventor Mercer Reynolds Sr. acquired about 7,000 acres and built a hunting retreat known as Linger Longer. Though Reynolds moved to Tennessee, he maintained the retreat, often returning to hunt and fish. Later, Mercer's cousin, James Madison Reynolds, gained nearby land for timber products in the area. And by the late 1930s, the family held about 10,000 acres, placed in a trust.

Reynolds' grandchildren received the land in 1985 and began to develop it. They've done a great job of maintaining the natural beauty of the lake and property and of preserving the historical significance of the land.

In fact, at Reynolds Plantation's entrance, look for Jackson House, a magnificent 1883 creation moved from town and restored. The Jackson House, considered one of the finest examples of Steamboat Gothic architecture still standing, includes floors made of the original pine.

The golf at Reynolds Plantation

Five of the six golf courses at Reynolds Plantation offer public play. All are outstanding. More important, they're unique.

Each designer took a premium piece of land and worked his magic. Send one group out to play every golf course and the each member might return with a different preference. Then again, Nicklaus' Great Waters course, which opened in 1992 and features nearly half its holes on the shores of Lake Oconee, might rank as the most popular with its splendid views and perfect mini-Verde greens.

"Every architect has a great classic period," said Bob Mauragas, vice president of golf at Reynolds Plantation. "And this was part of Jack's. He did a great job."

Cupp designed the two oldest golf courses at Reynolds Plantation – the Landing, opened in 1988, and the Plantation course, which debuted two years later. The Landing served as one of the hosts of the 2008 PGA Professional National Championship. Several golf publications have ranked the original Plantation course among America's best.

The National course at Reynolds Plantation also has received widespread acclaim. Designed by Fazio, this 27-hole gem opened in 2002 and includes many impressive holes - notably its newest nine, the Cove, with several holes along the lake. Jones designed the latest course to open publicly, the Oconee course. As the name of the golf course implies, Jones took full advantage of the water, especially on the spectacular, final two holes.

The practice facilities at every Reynolds Plantation golf course exceed the standard with large ranges, practice greens and short-game areas. The Reynolds Golf Academy also ranks as one of the best places in the country to attend a golf school. Headed by top-100 instructor Charlie King, the stand-alone facility next to the Oconee course features a short course, a range and indoor hitting bays.

The Reynolds Golf Academy shares space with the Kingdom, a TaylorMade fitting facility designed for the company's tour staff. Opened in 2007, it's the second Kingdom location; the original remains at the company's headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. Kingdom fittings are available for members of Reynolds Plantation as well. The Kingdom also offers the TaylorMade Tour Experience to visiting small groups who want the full treatment – fittings, accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton, new clubs, a clinic and a playing experience with a TaylorMade staff tour pro.

Staying at Reynolds Plantation

Staying at the Plantation is staying in style. The Ritz-Carlton, with its exquisite dining and accommodations, presents a rustic, hunting-lodge feel. And recently, Conde Nast Traveler named the hotel's spa as nation's fourth best.

The AAA Five Diamond-rated Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation stands on the shores of Lake Oconee, Georgia’s second largest lake. The lodges offers 251 rooms as well as two- and three-bedroom cottages and the 5,400-square-foot Presidential House, which sits along the lake shore next to the main lodge. Besides golf, the hotel also offers adventures such as fishing for largemouth bass, waterskiing or canoeing.

The free-standing, 26,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa features 19 private treatment rooms, including a couple's spa suite with royal tub and two wet therapy rooms with unique Vichy Rain Shower systems. Men's and women's relaxation lounges offer a sauna, steam bath and whirlpool, and guests of the spa are invited to use the indoor lap pool and tranquil pool area. A full-service salon complements the spa. Additionally, the resort's wellness center includes advanced cardiovascular equipment, a studio for Pilates and yoga, fitness classes and personal trainers.

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Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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