On a recent golf trip to the foothills of northeast Georgia, I was introduced to the extraordinary Cateechee Club in the quaint town of Hartwell. Georgia native and course architect Mike Young designed a spectacular par 72, 18 hole championship golf course in 1997 which he carved from 420 acres of virgin forests and green meadowland. The site with a slope/rating of 137/73.0 features dramatic elevation changes, from high ridges that afford panoramic views to low-lying wetlands along Cedar Creek, which meanders throughout the property, coming into play on five holes. At Cateechee fairways and greens on the 6,900 yard layout are framed by pristine nature, not homes. As it was when it opened, Cateechee Golf Club is unencumbered by real estate development. In fact it has been certified an Audubon Signature Sanctuary as well as recently rated a Four Stars Destination by Golf Digest.
Cateechee is so much more than just a golf club. With an expansive clubhouse and grounds, the Club can accommodate corporate meetings and weddings, no matter what the size. The 40,000 square foot clubhouse provides ample space with event planners and an excellent catering staff on the premises to assure every facet of the ceremony is done to perfection. Kelli Shell, one of the owners, says, “It is very satisfying to be a part of an event venue with amenities people can enjoy. Our vision is to continue to have an impact on the local community and to remind folks, ‘All Roads Lead to Hartwell’.” Cateechee is located on Hwy. 77 twenty-three miles from Interstate 85 halfway between the University of Georgia in Athens and Clemson University in South Carolina.
There are multiple lodging options available for large or small groups at the Club. Guests can choose from the suites upstairs in the clubhouse with their own private lounge, a secluded golf cabin off the 10th hole perfect for buddy trips, or the large lake house with 16 beds. All overnight stays come with a free breakfast buffet and a key card to the large and well-equipped fitness center. Overnighters have the option to dine in or try the ‘Take & Bake’ options for those who prefer to eat in the comfort of their accommodations.
The Waterfall Grill at Cateechee is casually sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming. The extensive menu offerings are seasonally inspired with bold flavors that reflect a belief in the nouveau cuisine of today: fresh, eclectic, imaginative and always evolving. The classic American choices are complemented by an extensive wine list and full service bar. I had the opportunity to dine at the Waterfall two nights and enjoy the breakfast buffet one morning and everything was freshly prepared and delightful. As the sun sets, members and guests can enjoy the panoramic views sitting on the large veranda that encompasses much of the clubhouse. There is a private dining room near the Waterfall where intimate groups can enjoy special service. Groups can utilize the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Shuttle Van available on property. I highly recommend a visit to this Northeast Georgia Gem.
For more information visit Cateechee.com.
During my visit I met with PGA Professional Jeff Gotham, the Director of the new Leadbetter Golf Academy at Cateechee. Jeff is recognized as an award-winning clubfitter, having received two PING ‘Regional Clubfitter of the Year’ Awards as well as being a Titlist Certified Clubfitter. Gotham and the owners Kelli and Charly Schell partnered to construct a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor golf teaching facility complete with 3D Swing Efficiency by the Titlist Performance Institute and K-Vest. The facility became the home of the latest Leadbetter Golf Academy in 2018.
Along with the Academy, David and the Schells have established the David Leadbetter Foundation at Cateechee. The Foundation is geared towards improving life skills in underprivileged communities, applying the discipline and focus learned through golf. “The Leadbetter Foundation has meaning far beyond our facility. The Leadbetter brand is globally recognized and the Foundation will have a global impact as part of the David Leadbetter legacy,” stated Kelli Schell.
David added, “The game of golf has provided me everything I could have imagined in life and more. My goal for the Foundation is to inspire people and provide an opportunity to succeed in life no matter their race, locale or background. We want to meet their needs and expand their horizons.” David kicked off the fundraising for the Foundation by participating in the Leadbetter Tournament the day after the Masters at Cateechee which will be held annually.
Visit DavidLeadbetter.com/Academy/Cateechee for more information or call 706-856-3322.
David Leadbetter and the Leadbetter Golf Academies have grown exponentially over the past few years to where the network now spans 36 locations in 14 countries.