Courtesy Reynolds Lake Oconee
Escape to the remote forests of central Georgia, experience inland Florida adventures, or tee off in the high desert of southern Utah at these three 18-hole destinations that will challenge and excite golfers. Best of all, their mostly sunny winters allow golfers to tee off throughout the season.
1. Greensboro, Georgia
Location: 81 miles northwest of Atlanta
What It Offers: Like Augusta National, host of the annual Masters tournament, azaleas bloom by the thousands at Reynolds Lake Oconee, a luxury golf destination in the scenic Georgia Pines along the expansive, serpentine shoreline of Lake Oconee. Four of Reynolds’ five resort courses, about an hour west of Augusta, are among the top courses in Georgia, with each offering a variety of architectural, topography, and shooting challenges.
The portfolio’s crown jewel: Great Waters, a masterpiece crafted by Jack Nicklaus that was renovated in 2019 and hosted the LPGA Drive On Championship last fall. Half of its holes are on Lake Oconee – none up to No. 9 – and none better than No. 11, a drivable downhill par 4 that requires accuracy and entices players to go from the tee to the green. From start to finish, the back nine play like a dream, because every hole (except number 10) nestles against the water, with numbers 14 and 17 – both par 3 – playing over bays, while a gallery of boaters and Swimmers cheering golfers on.
You will also be impressed by the other courses in the Reynolds lineup. In the National, three nine-hole layouts are painted with the ingenious brushstroke of a golf course stamped by Tom Fazio, on which tabletop greens, undulating fairways and more than 100 bunkers emphasize the natural landscape of Georgia. For another strong test of your game, the Oconee Course next to the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds checks all fields, especially the ninth hole guarded by the lake. The Preserve offers a fun and casual six-hole alternative – called Quick Six – where no hole exceeds 130 yards and the rounds end in less than an hour. And don’t overlook the Landing, Lake Oconee’s original course that was renovated in 2013. Known for its fast greens and Scottish traits, the Bob Cupp design is forgiving to tee off, and according to Wes Forester, Reynolds’ golf director, is the “most underrated course” in the collection.
Insider Tip: Refine your swing and golf equipment with a master club builder and builder at the Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee, one of only two TaylorMade facilities in the country. The Kingdom added a second club building trailer this year using the same cutting edge technology Tour players use.
What You Pay For: Great Waters starts at $ 195 in the off-season. The least you will pay is $ 40 in the Preserve.
Overnight (splurge): The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, renovated in 2020, with 257 rooms, combines upscale living with southern hospitality. Let yourself be pampered in the spa, explore the 21 miles of hiking trails and drink in the Barrel Room in the lobby, which is looked after by certified bourbon stewards. From $ 459
Where To Stay (Save If You’re With a Group): The Reynolds Lake Oconee Cottages stretch over 374 miles of scenic coastline and are ideal two-, three-, and four-bedroom options for a golf getaway with friends and family. From $ 460.