Set along the North Georgia Mountains near the shoreline of one of the most beautiful lakes in the Southeast, Lake Sydney Lanier, Chestatee Golf Club, a semi-private club in the town of Dawsonville, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The 18hole par 71 golf course was designed by Atlanta based and award-winning architect Denis Griffith, who is also responsible for the championship course at Brasstown Valley, the three courses at Chateau Elan and several of the Georgia State Parks’ courses, all part of the Georgia Golf Trail.
One of Griffith’s finest efforts, Chestatee Golf Club received a notable 4 1/2 star rating from Golf Digest. With its advantageous location, Chestatee is the Atlanta metro area’s premier daily fee layout with outstanding course conditions. Offering an entertaining but serious challenge the course stretches out to 6877 yards with a rating and slope of 72.7/140 from the tips, but has four other tees to make your Chestatee experience enjoyable and memorable. The preponderance of trouble lurks along the right side, but if you can keep your fade or slice in the bag the golfing gods will look kindly upon you.
The golf club has a three-tiered full length driving range, a practice pitching area, a bunker for working on your sand game and a practice putting green. Head Golf Professional Todd Gilchrist and his PGA professionals are available for instruction. Todd is a well respected club fitter who also is the PING representative for northern Georgia and southern Tennessee.
The opening hole is a 590 yard downhill par five with large mounds and a number of bunkers the only real impediments to this inviting dogleg right. Driving the ball into the comfortable short grass should get you to the green in three with a chance for birdie. The short par 4 second can potentially allow a good score. The downhill 160 yard, par 3 third begins the wet holes, with a well guarded two tiered green. The par 4 fourth has substantial length from the three back sets of tees with water all the way down the right that can impact both the drive and approach to a challenging and sloping green. Good Luck!
The slightly uphill par 3 seventh is 197 yards and could require an extra club to reach. The #1 handicap hole is the 8th, a par four considered by many Georgia players the most challenging as any in the Peach state. The fairway angles to the left with a lake looming off the right edge that can swallow tee shots that drift. Be careful with the approach. A finger of the lake is just in front of the green and a large front left bunker protects pin placements behind it. The par 5 ninth angles similarly to the 8th, but with a creek snaking down the right and very much in play on both the tee shot and second. The lay up area is not very wide with mounding left. A good 2nd shot will allow a short approach to a wide yet shallow and sloping green that is hidden behind a bunker.
The rolling terrain at Chestatee impacts play in a variety of areas including around the greens, where the ability to get the ball airborne and land softly is important. The bent-grass putting surfaces are gentle with a few false fronts and two tiered greens that have minimal levels.
The inward nine is shorter than the front. Remember reading ‘right is wrong.’ Well the par 5 tenth is a perfect example with a tree line right which includes a hazard just below the surface of the fairway. Stay left and play for three shots to the green again because there is a pond to carry in front of the target green. The par 3 eleventh at 185 yards requires a carry over water. One of the most interesting of the backside par 4s is the downhill 445 yard 13th, which offers the chance to grip it & rip it, setting up for an approach to a green surrounded by sand. The sixteenth, the last par 5, provides differing paths to the green. The safe route is down the left with a row of trees dividing the corridors while the more direct right is more adventurous with sloping terrain, trees and sand to deal with. Take a chance or play safe.
The signature hole is the gorgeous par 3, seventeenth at 190 yards with a spectacular view of the Chestatee River before it empties into Lake Lanier. The 445 yard par 4, eighteenth provides a demanding drive due to its uphill nature and length to the crest of the hill. With the lovely clubhouse in the background, the view for the approach is quite appealing.
The Clubhouse includes the well-stocked pro shop and the 72 seat Heron Grille, which is open daily for lunch and features a full-service bar. Thursday night they serve dinner, and on Saturday & Sunday mornings breakfast is available from 8- 11am. The facility and catering can host weddings, meetings and charity tournaments.
Hers is a novelty for you. The club has had the same owner, Brian Ferris, since its beginning in 1999. There are resident and non-resident memberships available at different levels. Contact General Manager [email protected] or call 706-216-7336. Go Play!
The Georgia Golf Trail
In the home of the illustrious Bobby Jones, The Masters and Tour Championship, the final tournament of the PGA TOUR and Fed Ex Cup, the Georgia Golf Trail is a selection of the finest golf resorts and clubs in the Peach State. From the mountains to the plains and on to the Atlantic coastline, the Georgia Golf Trail provides visitors and residents alike fine southern hospitality, outstanding golf experiences and amazing resorts throughout the state. Chestatee is just one of the fine golf courses you can play enjoying the beauty of the state. For more information go to ExploreGeorgia.org/things-to-do/list/Georgia-Golf-Trail.