Best Golf Courses In Georgia

The best golf courses in Georgia keep some pretty impressive company

Cuscowilla one of the best golf courses in Georgia
Cuscowilla
(Image credit: Cuscowilla)

The Best Golf Courses In Georgia

The best golf courses in Georgia keep some pretty impressive company. For in this state is Augusta National, one of the most famous and revered courses on the planet. The club was co-founded by Bobby Jones, one of the greatest amateur golfers of all time, perhaps indeed the greatest. He was born, and lived, in Atlanta, Georgia, and his influence and that of Augusta National is written across the golfing landscape of this state.

Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands)

Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands Course Hole 18

Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands' 18th hole

(Image credit: Gary Kellner)
  • Location: Johns Creek
  • Designed by: Robert Trent Jones and Joe Finger
  • Par: 72
  • Yardage: 7,613 yards
  • Green fee: Private

Bobby Jones was a member of Atlanta Athletic Club, dating from when the course was at a different site. The present Highlands course comprises nine holes designed by Robert Trent Jones – who had designed 27 holes on the property – and nine holes added by Joe Finger, in 1971. Bobby Jones, just before he died in 1971, wrote to the USGA asking that the US Open be held at his home club. It was – and Jerry Pate hit a 5-iron to 3 feet on the final green (above) to win that 1976 US Open. The course has subsequently held the USPGA three times, the US Amateur and the Women’s PGA.

Augusta National

Augusta National is clearly one of the best golf courses in Georgia, shown here its iconic 12th hole, Golden Bell

Augusta National's iconic 12th hole, Golden Bell

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Augusta
  • Designed by: Alister MacKenzie
  • Par: 72
  • Yardage: 7,510 yards
  • Green fee: Private

One of the most famous golf course in the world, and home of The Masters, the only Major played on the same course every year. Amongst many other things, it is noted for its flora, the slickness of its undulating greens, the absence of rough and its beauty and its exclusivity.

Cuscowilla

Cuscowilla


(Image credit: Cuscowilla)
  • Location: Eatonton
  • Designed by: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
  • Par: 70
  • Yardage: 6,719 yards
  • Green fee: Private

A beautiful track on the shores of Lake Oconee with much charm and variety to the holes. The opening and closing sections are through woodland, but the majority of the course is laid out over open land. There are only two par 5s, but the second one, the 14th is a 614-yard double dogleg uphill. Few courses can have a much range in hole distances as this layout, for its 11th hole is only 125 yards at is utmost, to a putting surface protected by bunkers both left and right with the lake waiting to drown a sliced tee shot.

East Lake

East Lake's hole 18, which used to be the 9th hole

East Lake's hole 18, which used to be the 9th hole

(Image credit: East Lake)
  • Location: Atlanta
  • Designed by: Donald Ross
  • Par: 72
  • Yardage: 6,886 yards
  • Green fee: Private

When this course was part of Atlanta Athletic Club it was Bobby Jones’ home course and memorabilia from Jones’ time is on display in the clubhouse. The nines have subsequently been reversed, so that the round no longer finishes on a long par 3 to a two-tiered green, but on a par 5 (above). The 15th is played to one of the earliest island green designs. The course hosted the 1963 Ryder Cup and is the home of the Tour Championship, the final tournament in the Playoffs for the FedEx Cup.

Hawks Ridge

Hawks Ridge 18th hole

Hawks Ridge 18th hole

(Image credit: Hawks Ridge)
  • Location: Atlanta
  • Designed by: Bob Cupp
  • Par: 72
  • Yardage: 7,215 yards
  • Green fee: Private

The routing offers risk/reward golf set among towering pine trees, played across a landscape with many changes in elevation, several water hazards and speckled with large white sand bunkers. The closing hole (above) has divided opinion – it is a par 5 with water all along the left flank of a fairway with many undulations and bunkers heading towards a peninsular green. The course is unashamedly modelled in parts on Augusta National. “It’s Augusta National with hardwood trees – so somewhere between Muirfield Village, Pumpkin Ridge and Augusta National,” its designer. Bob Cupp, described it as.

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain

Aerial view of Lookout Mountain

(Image credit: Lookout Mountain)
  • Location: Lookout Mountain
  • Designed by: Seth Raynor; Brian Silva
  • Par: 70
  • Yardage: 6,613 yards
  • Green fee: Private

Seth Raynor did the original design, however he died before the course was built. The Great Depression further hindered its construction and adherence to his design. But in 1997 Brian Silva was asked to renovate the course in accordance with Raynor’s vision and drawings. Raynor was a template architect, seeking to design replicas of famous hole designs. So the 4th at Lookout Mountain, for example, is a Biarritz hole; the 10th is a Cape hole and the 13th is to a Redan green. Although geographically in Georgia, the club is a member of the Tennessee Golf Association, and has hosted the Tennessee State Amateur and Tennessee PGA Championships.

McLemore

McLemore 18th hole

McLemore 18th hole

(Image credit: McLemore)
  • Location: Lookout Mountain
  • Designed by: Rees Jones and Bill Bergin
  • Par: 71
  • Yardage: 7,005 yards
  • Green fee: Stay-and-play packages

Good and beautiful holes abound here atop Lookout Mountain, 2,000 feet above sea level, but the one which will live longest in the memory is the 435-yard 18th (above). Hook off the tee and miss the 40-yard wide fairway and you will have hit probably the longest drive of your career as the ball bounces away down the mountainside to McLemore Cove 500ft below.

Peachtree

Peachtree 4th hole

Peachtree 4th hole

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Atlanta
  • Designed by: Robert Trent Jones and Bobby Jones
  • Par: 72
  • Yardage: 7,414 yards
  • Green fee: Private

Bobby Jones, who lived in Atlanta, wanted to create a course locally equal to the one he had founded at Augusta National. Many will say he succeeded. The rolling terrain, the pine and dogwood trees, the azaleas, the bunkering and the conditioning all have strong echoes of Augusta National. Step onto the 4th (above) and it will certainly ring a bell, a Golden Bell to be more precise.

Reynolds Lake Oconee (Great Waters)

11th hole at Great Waters

11th hole on Reynolds Lake Oconee  Great Waters course

(Image credit: Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee)
  • Location: Greensboro
  • Designed by: Jack Nicklaus
  • Par: 72
  • Yardage: 7,436 yards
  • Green fee: $280-$330 resort guests

The front nine weaves through a wooded area before the layout opens out with the final eight holes either flanking the lake or having clear views of it. The course underwent an extensive restoration in 2019 to fashion a modernised, rebuilt and reconditioned version of the 1992 original Nicklaus Signature course.

Sea Island (Seaside)

Aerial view of Sea Island's Seaside course

Aerial view of Sea Island's Seaside course

(Image credit: Sea Island)
  • Location: St Simon’s Island
  • Designed by: Harry Colt & Charles Allison: Tom Fazio
  • Par: 70
  • Yardage: 7,005 yards
  • Green fee: Packages available to resort guests

Colt and Allison designed the Seaside Nine in 1929, Joe Lee the Marshland Nine in 1974 and Tom Fazio melded the two together – and also changed parts of the design, particularly on the Marshland Nine – to create the current layout. Many holes have forced carries off the tee, but it has been called a second shot course due to the small greens with large run-off areas. A quirky feature is the red wicker baskets, rather than flags, on the pins in the holes.

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he worked as contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around 20 countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.