Okefenokee Country Club near Waycross, Georgia
Okefenokee Country Club is a private club just outside of Waycross, one of the Georgia cities that lays claim to being the gateway to the vast Okefenokee Swamp. With its name, you'd think the golf course would be a swampy thing, all alligators, snakes and mosquitoes, but it isn't. In fact, water isn't really evident until the back nine.
It does have the advantage of having the beautiful Satilla River playing alongside the 15th hole. With its dark waters, high banks and sandy beaches, the narrow waterway is just a tantalizer, though; you wish it made more appearances.
Okefenokee Country Club opened in 1977 in a different location, closer to people than to alligators. But it was moved to its current location in later years and now winds through a very attractive upscale neighborhood. Most of the holes have these neighborhood homes set back tastefully along the fairway perimeters.
The golf course is laid out on classic, south Georgia terrain, with gnarled old oaks dripping with Spanish moss, pines, palmettos and other southern flora and fauna - plenty of shade on a sweltering, summer day. You can hear the cries of swamp birds occasionally, and catch glimpses of hawks and other airborne predators.
It was designed by Joe Lee, who also did the famed Blue Monster golf course at Doral, near Miami. Lee is from the old school and likes to place his bunkers strategically, as opposed to some modern designers who use them as eye candy.
Okefenokee has fairway bunkers on most holes, and they are almost without exception there for a good reason. Some of them guard doglegs, others guard the best routes to the green. Hit close to them, usually over them, and you'll get extra yardage from the roll. Hit in them and you have, well, a bunker shot.
If you're in the wrong position in the fairway, you're usually hitting soft, high shots over them into the greens.
- Golf course review: Okefenokee Country Club
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