ga-golf

Georgia State Parks Provide Budget Friendly and Beautiful Golf

With golf courses that leverage the spectacular and diverse terrains across the Peach State, Georgia State Park golf courses compare favorably to some of the state’s best private designs with less expensive rates. There are eight courses that span the state with relaxed environments that welcome families and golfers of all abilities. For those looking for affordable choices or destination courses will find the award-winning state park venues the perfect place to tee it up. Ranging from the north to mid to south Georgia, the golf courses are known for smooth running greens, tree-lined fairways and unique challenges, and all are open daily except certain holidays. No crowds, no homes and no noise are their specialty.

Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Richard B. Russell State Park, Elberton, the “Granite Capitol of the World,” has 10 of its holes situated along 26,500 acre Lake Russell with elevated tee boxes offering a panoramic view of the layout and surrounding nature. The course  was designed by Georgia’s own golf course designer Bob Walker and features constant elevation changes on a 6800 yard masterpiece. TravelGolf.com named Arrowhead Pointe as one of the top 10 courses in Georgia. The “Broken Arrow Grill” is a great place for a cold one and sandwich or a buffet for a large golf outing.
For additional information please call 706-283-6000.

Brazell’s Creek Golf Course at Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park in Reidsville is two courses in one. The front nine is typical Georgia golf with tree lined fairways and rolling terrain. Once you finish the front 9, you travel on a 1,500 yard winding bridge over scenic wetlands to the back, which is a sprawling links style nine with wide open windswept fairways, designed by Denis Griffiths. The 6821 yard, par 71 is a good test of golf on two distinctive nines. Rates are available by calling the course at 912-577-7745.

Georgia Veterans Memorial Golf Course at Lake Blackshear Resort,  just west of I-75 at Cordele is rated 4-stars by Golf Digest. Another Griffiths masterpeice, the Vet’s  6869 yards presents many challenges with mounding, significantly placed water hazards and bunkers. The Dwarf Bermuda greens are large and sloping with wide fairways that wind through stands of tall loblolly pines. The Resort has accommodations, great dining and a beautiful lake to enjoy while visiting Lake Blackshear. Take advantage of a golf weekend getaway with special packages. For additional information please call 1-800-459-1230.

Highland Walk Golf Course at Victoria Bryant State Park in Royston is a Griffiths design, with a name that is deceiving. It is in the highlands, but it is not a walk, it is a trek, and I highly recommend a golf cart. The 6451 yard course has steep, rolling hills that tumble into sloping Bermuda greens. Accuracy is key here. There is a Bluebird Cottage that can accommodate a small group of friends. Otherwise overnite accommodations can be booked at Tugaloo State Park overlooking  Lake Hartwell with play at Highland Walk. For additional information please call 706-245-6770.

The Creek Golf Course at Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge, has been in existence since 1968, with a redo by Griffiths in 2005. It is the toughest of the eight, and the opening hole was voted “the hardest starting hole in Georgia.” The 6431 yards doesn’t seem too bad, but the sound of balls hitting trees makes you think there is a hunt going on. The creek comes into play on five of the 18 challenges. The signature 14th par 3,175 yard piece of serenity comes complete with a working water wheel and wooden bridge. There are cabins available.For additional information please call 706-557-3006.

The Lakes Golf Course at Laura S. Walker State Park, near Waycross is situated on the northern edge of the Okefenokee Swamp. The 6595 yard  course plays like a links layout featuring native sand bunkers detailing the tree lined fairways. The are three lakes on the Steve Burns design that come into play, voted the “Best Municipal Course in Georgia” by Golf Digest. and the favorite of golfers in southeast Georgia. Recently they have added cabins for rent besides the campsites. The fare at the Lakes Grill is both reasonable and freshly prepared. For additional information please call 912-285-6154.

Meadow Links at George T. Bagby State Park near Fort Gaines is a 7007 yard links style course designed by William Byrd, ASGCA.  When it opened in 1998, Golf Digest ranked it as the “Nations 6th best affordable golf course,” and it has maintained its stature among the folks who play it on a regular basis. The layout was creatively woven into the gentle rolling contours of the countryside with gracious bunkering defining the fairways with large Tif 419 bermuda greens with subtle breaks. The view back from the 14th green under an ancient pear and 2 pecan trees is a stunning reminder of the beauty the state park golf courses provide. There is a lodge and cabins on property. Call 229-783-3714 for reservations and tee times.

Last but certainly not least, Wallace Adams Golf Course at Little Ocmulgee State Park in McRae is an O.C. Jones classic design that reaches 6625 yards with 2 distinctive nines. For those of us who will never play Augusta National, this beauty will make any golfer feel like they are playing at the Masters. The front bermuda fairways are narrow and bordered by loblolly pines, willows and magnolias while the back opens up to wider landing areas with challenging doglegs with smaller sloped bermuda greens. Accommodations are available in the 68 room lodge and lakeside cottages. Call 229-868-6657 for reservations and tee times or visit https://gastateparks.org/GolfPackages.

For young golfers under 18 years of age, a round of golf can be played at the golf courses for a special junior rate for green fees only but not valid on holidays or weekday mornings. Players will feel comfortable perfecting their golf game on the uncrowded, well-maintained courses surrounded by nothing but nature. Several State Park golf courses host summer camps and junior clinics throughout the year and some even have dedicated junior tees. To view the full details of Georgia Junior Golf Tour, upcoming events and related camps, please call 706-557-3006 or visit  https://gastateparks.org/GeorgiaJuniorGolfTour.

Those bringing along non-golfers and other family members will enjoy outdoor activities including swimming, biking, fishing, watercraft rentals, geocaching, hiking and more. Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites are affordable destinations for vacations and quick getaways. From waterfalls to lakes, salt marshes to mountains, the parks provide safe and beautiful environments. For more information on specific park amenities visit GaStateParks.org. Offering the best value and variety, the eight state park golf courses are part of the Georgia Golf Trail, featuring natural settings and picturesque surroundings, as well as fun and challenging play. You can check it out at http://georgiagolfandtravel.com/Georgia-Golf-Trail/.

Dave Daubert

David, Editor & Feature Writer, has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.

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