If you love golf, live in Georgia, or you’re planning a visit, there’s a wide variety of great courses and golf resorts to choose from that fit every budget. We want you to have the best golfing experience possible, so here’s a list of our top five venues.
The Best Public Golf Courses in Georgia
You may be pleasantly surprised to find that there’s a great track right around the corner, or close enough for a weekend getaway. Check the GolfDay Rating for a quick and easy way to be sure you are getting the most value for your money.
1. Reynolds Plantation
Less than 2 hours southeast of Atlanta and nestled into the rolling lake country of Lake Oconee, Ritz-Carlton guests have five great courses to choose from. Number one among them is Great Waters, consistently ranked among the Golf Digest top 100 public courses in the US from the time Jack Nicklaus designed it in 1992. The course is a demanding test of golf while offering magnificent views of the Georgia landscape and Lake Oconee.
The Preserve was designed by master architect Bob Cupp with input from Fuzzy Zoeller and Hubert Green—a pair of U.S. Open champions.
The National offers 27 holes, beautifully laid out by Tom Fazio while the eighteen-hole Oconee course was designed by nonother than Rees Jones, the “Open Doctor” himself.
The Landing is the original course at Reynolds Plantation, another Bob Cupp masterpiece sculpted among the pines along the lake.
2. Sea Island Resort
With three great courses to choose from as well as a world class performance center, Sea Island is among the finest golf resort destinations in the world. The Seaside course, a classic Colt & Alison design that was masterfully enhanced and updated by Tom Fazio, is ranked in the top 100 public courses by Golf Digest and also the site of the PGA tour’s RSM Classic each year in March.
The Plantation Course was originally designed by Walter Travis as a 9-hole layout, with an additional nine added by Davis Love and Mark Love to create a wonderful eighteen-hole track. Travis trademark features such as the Principal’s Nose and chocolate drops can still be found, as the Love brothers have created a timeless treasure with gorgeous ocean views.
The Retreat is the third eighteen-hole course at Sea Island, but no less enjoyable to play. Davis and Mark endeavored to expand and revitalize this Dick Wilson original, and succeeded with resounding success. Challenging yet playable, the Retreat course rounds out a trio of wonderful courses to perfection.
3. University of Georgia Course
About an hour east of Atlanta, the University of Georgia Golf Course is home to the Bulldog golf team, a perennial powerhouse that produced two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., we rate the UGA course among the top 10 University courses in the country.
In addition to students and alumni, the course is open to the public for everyone to enjoy. A first-rate practice facility and PGA professional staff will help polish your game, and you can pick up some UGA gear while you’re there.
4. Cherokee Run
We rate Cherokee Run among the top 25 Municipal courses in the country. Located less than hour east of Atlanta, the city of Conyers has provided a great place to play for residents and visitors alike. In addition to a wonderful layout designed by Arnold Palmer, Cherokee run includes a grass driving range and short game practice facility as well as a golf academy with a variety of junior golf programs.
5. Echelon Golf Club
A fabulous layout in Alpharetta designed by Rees Jones, Echelon Golf Club is less than hour north of Atlanta. Like just about every Rees Jones course, Echelon is a stiff test of golf with a USGA course rating of 77.2 and a slope of 149 from the tips. Scratch golfers will get all the challenge they can ask for, but with four sets of tees, everyday golfers can enjoy the course and test their skills as well without needing to bomb it 330 or stick a six iron from 200 yards.
The course is kept in beautiful condition and the greens are perfect, so get ready for a great day on the links—and the greens fees are more than reasonable (particularly in the afternoon on a weekday).
When it comes to public golf, the state of Georgia is second to none and perfect weather just about all year long. To find the best course nearby or if you are planning a visit, check out GolfDay for everything you need to know.
Most everybody has heard about municipal courses like Bethpage, Chambers Bay and Torrey Pines where the U.S. Open has been played, but there are a great many fantastic muni’s that are less famous—and you may have one right in your backyard.
In addition to the world-renowned Black course designed by A. W. Tillinghast in 1935 and last updated by Rees Jones for the 2009 U.S. Open, Bethpage State Park also offers the Blue Course (another Tillinghast original that was updated by Francis Duane), the Green (designed by Deveraux Emmet, updated by Tillinghast and later by Francis Duane), the Red (Tillinghast and Francis Duane), and the Yellow course (designed by Alfred Tull and updated by Francis Duane).
Built on the shores of Puget Sound, Chambers Bay is a classic links course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Host to the 2010 U.S. amateur and then the U.S. Open in 2015, Chambers Bay also offers a top notch practice facility as well as the Chambers Bay Academy with a variety of outstanding junior golf programs.
With breathtaking views from the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, the North and South courses at Torrey Pines, originally designed by William F. Bell, are something special. An annual PGA tour venue with the Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines also hosted the 2008 U.S. Open where Tiger Woods had one of his most memorable victories.
TPC Scottsdale offers desert golf at its finest, with two great tracks designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. The Stadium course is host to the Waste Management Phoenix Open each year, one of the most popular and exciting stops on the PGA Tour. When you reach the par 3 sixteenth hole you may still hear echoes of the raucous cheering from the massive “coliseum” crowd.
When John Harbottle III passed away suddenly in 2012 at the age of 53, he left us with two wonderful course designs to remember him by, the Olympic and Cascades at Gold Mountain Golf Club. Sculpted from the magnificent terrain and majestic pines of northwestern Washington, each course is demanding yet playable, and kept in beautiful condition by course superintendent Abel Anderson.
Jack designed a stiff test of golf with beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline for residents of New York and visitors alike. Ferry Point also offers a manicured driving range and short game facility that is as good as it gets, as well as being home to the Michael Breed Golf Academy.
Overlooking Lake Tahoe, the Championship course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and updated by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. is an experience not soon forgotten. The executive Mountain course is also an RTJ design, and while not as demanding as the championship course, every bit as enjoyable to play.
Only ten minutes from Hazeltine National (host of the 1970 and 1991 U.S. Opens as well as the PGA Championship in ’02 and ’09), Chaska Town Course is one of the finest municipal facilities in the country. Featuring an 18-hole championship course designed by Arthur Hills and a wonderful Robert Trent Jones, Sr. executive layout, Chaska also offers a complete practice facility and variety of Junior golf programs.
Alister MacKenzie is one of the towering figures in golf course architecture, and Haggin Oaks is home to one of his rare designs open for public play. Offering 36 holes as well as a variety of options for ladies golf, a terrific practice facility and junior golf program, the residents of Sacramento are fortunate indeed to have such a great facility available to their community.
Tanglewood includes two terrific Robert Trent Jones, Sr. eighteen-hole layouts as well as an eighteen-hole par 3 course. The championship course was the scene of Lee Trevino’s thrilling victory over Jack Nicklaus in the 1974 PGA Championship. A lighted grass driving range and complete short-game practice facility provide a perfect place to work on your game.
Designed by Donald Ross in 1921 and updated by Jim Hardy and Peter Jacobsen in 2008, Moody Gardens is a true classic. The Dallas Morning News ranked Moody Gardens number 13 among all public courses in the state of Texas. A quality range and short-game facility is available and junior golf programs are offered throughout the summer.
Southwest golf at its best, this Ken Dye masterpiece uses every feature of the beautiful New Mexico Landscape. Pinon Hills is also home to the First Tee of San Juan County, with a first-rate practice facility where junior golfers can develop their game.
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. remodeled this Willard Wilkinson layout in 1949, and it has been updated by notable course architects such as Alfred Tull and Stephen Kay. The latest update, by Rees Jones, was completed in 2014. Galloping Hill also offers a nine-hole executive learning course, all-weather practice facilities, and a golf academy.
A gorgeous Arthur Hills links-style layout through the Lake Erie wetlands, Maumee Bay also offers a grass driving range, complete short game practice facility, and first-rate accommodations at the Lodge and Conference Center.
Bryan Park offers 36 holes of golf with a demanding Rees Jones design (Champions) and classic George Cobb/John LaFoy layout (Players). In addition, the Bryan Park Golf Practice & Learning Center with Robert Linville Precision Golf School is among the top facilities in the country. Expansive grass driving range with twelve target greens, as well as putting and chipping greens with multiple bunkers provide low handicap and novice golfers alike the perfect place to hone their game.
Inniscrone was designed by Gil Hanse, opening to rave reviews in 1999. The classic layout provides a stiff test of golf for the most accomplished player, while additional tee boxes make the course fun for golfers at every level. Inniscrone also offers a grass range and short-game facility with warm-up balls included with your greens fee.
Less than half an hour from Cincinnati, Lassing Pointe is a wonderful Michael Hurdzan design laid down in the beautiful northern Kentucky countryside of Boone County. Golfweek ranks Lassing Pointe as the best public course in the state, and we certainly agree. In addition to a great course, Lassing Pointe offers a high-end practice facility and first-rate junior golf programs.
When Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry completed these wonderful 27 holes in the farmlands of western New Jersey, their next project was Erin Hills, a true masterpiece and site of the 2017 U.S. Open. In addition to three splendid 9-hole courses, Neshanic offers a 9-hole executive “Academy” course as well as a grass driving range, putting and chipping greens with bunkers and 2 additional practice holes.
Designed and built by the legendary architectural firm of Toomey & Flynn, Normandy Shores opened for play in 1941. Other notable courses designed by William Flynn include The Country Club in Brookline, MA, Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, NY and Merion (East) in Ardmore, PA. In 2008 Arthur Hills was commissioned to bring Normandy Shores back to its former glory, and he did so magnificently.
PGA Tour architect Chris Gray has done a masterful job bringing the TPC course at Harding Park back to the original vision of Willie Watson, who also designed the Olympic Club and holds a special place in golf history. In addition to the TPC course, Harding Park includes The Fleming Nine, an executive nine-hole course designed by Jack Fleming, an outstanding course designer in his own right and one of the most important figures in the history of San Francisco golf.
Are you looking for a great golf course? There may be a municipal jewel right around the corner that you didn’t realize was there. Don’t waste your time at a dog track!! Check out the GolfDay website for more information about the best golf courses around.