The US state of Georgia was named after British King George II and was founded in 1732. Situated on the Atlantic coast and bordering Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and both North and South Carolina, it was part of the Confederacy from 1861 and was the last state to be restored to the Union, in 1870.
During the Civil War, it was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict at places such as Kennesaw Mountain.
Less than sixty years later it would be the birthplace of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and later, frighteningly, was where a nuclear bomb was actually lost in 1952 during a training exercise!
The state capital, Atlanta, boasts the busiest international airport in the world. The home of Delta Air Lines, in 2021 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport served over 75 million passengers and saw more than 700,000 aircraft movements.
Sport in Georgia
The state of Georgia is a venue for more or less all major sports. The Atlanta Braves play Major League Baseball and have won the World Series twice since reincarnating from the Milwaukee Braves.
In NFL the Atlanta Falcons have won seven Division Championships and two Conference Championships.
The Atlanta Hawks play NBA basketball out of the State Farm Arena, and have claimed one Championship, four Conference titles and fourteen Division titles.
The Atlanta Flames played hockey out of the state until 1980, when they were relocated to Calgary. There are also numerous professional rugby and soccer teams.
But perhaps as much as anything Georgia is noted for its devotion to golf, with the Augusta National Golf Club permanently hosting the annual Masters Tournament, an invitational event officially recognized as one of four major golf competitions.
Taking place during April, it is the first of the major championships to be played each year.
A Brief History of Golf in the Peach State
Golf first came to Georgia in the late eighteenth century when a group of enthusiasts from Savannah banded together to form a golf club.
Within the space of around a hundred years the state had become one of the most visited in the whole of the USA by eager golf tourists.
Not only is it the home of the Masters, but Georgia also plays host to some of the very best and most desirable golf resorts and courses in the whole of the country.
Possibly the most famous golfing icon to emerge from Georgia was Bobby Jones, one of the finest amateur performers of all time. In 1930 alone he won four titles – the US Amateur, US Open, British Open and British Amateur.
To this day the Peach State welcomes amateurs and professionals alike to some of the most beautiful and splendidly functional venues on the circuit.
What are the 20 Best Golf Courses in Georgia?
Opinions vary according to experience and personal taste, but these are rated amongst the very best of the Georgia golf courses:
1. Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta
The home of The Masters, enough said. In fact this is the only major tournament which is always played at the same venue.
The 1931 creation of Bobby Jones and of his architect Alister MacKenzie, this par-72 course was designed with the Old Course at St. Andrews in mind.
Much renowned for its beauty, the course is noted for its flora and for the absence of any rough. It is only available for use by professional players.
2. East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta
This private golf club was actually Bobby Jones’ home course when it was part of the Atlanta Athletic Club, as is evidenced by his memorabilia which can be seen on display at the clubhouse there.
The venue hosted the Ryder Cup in 1963, as well as being the site of the Tour Championship, the final round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Noted for its lakes, it is the oldest golf course in Atlanta.
3. Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands), Johns Creek
Famous golf designers Robert Trent Jones and Joe Finger are credited with being responsible for nine holes apiece at the Highlands.
It staged the US Open in 1976, and has subsequently hosted the USPGA on three occasions, as well as the Women’s PGA and the US Amateur.
This private golf club itself is rated as being one of the best 36-hole venues in the United States.
4. Seaside Golf Course, Sea Island
Tom Fazio brought together the individual contributions of Charles Alison and Harry Colt to create the current layout on Sea Island’s seaside course.
This much sought-after resort offers golf packages to its guests which include both accommodation and transport.
Uniquely it features red wicker baskets, as opposed to flags, at the holes.
5. Lookout Mountain Golf Club, Lookout Mountain
Although geographically this venue falls within the state of Georgia, it is a member of the Tennessee Golf Association and has played host to the Tennessee PGA Championships and the State Amateur tournament.
It was originally designed by Seth Raynor, but was brought up to date some time after his death by Brian Silva, whose interpretation remained faithful to Raynor’s vision.
6. Reynolds Lake Oconee (Great Waters), Greensboro
One of six championship golf courses crafted by five noted designers, Great Waters is the creation of the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
A par-72 course, it commands fees in the region of 300 dollars which are available to guests of the resort.
An extensive restoration in 2019 helped fashion a more up-to-date version of the original Nicklaus design from 1992.
7. Peachtree Golf Club, Atlanta
Built in the late 1940s, Peachtree is an example of an earlier work by Robert Trent Jones. Influenced by Stanley Thompson, this design includes a much heralded and original punch bowl green at the tenth hole.
Notwithstanding this though the signature hole is really the fourth.
One notable feature is the water hazards on several of the holes, and the course’s similarity in many respects to the Augusta National has not been unnoticed.
8. Ohoopee Match Club, Cobbtown
A private golf retreat on the east side of the Ohoopee River, apart from the most cursory of contact details and coordinates its website tells you simply that it is for “members only”.
Built by Hanse, it has a natural brown aspect that blends wonderfully into its rustic surrounds.
9. Golf Club at Cuscowilla, Eatonton
Highly rated by Golf Digest magazine, this accessible golf course stands proud on the banks of Lake Oconee.
Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, it offers great variety; whilst the opening and closing sections wind through woodland the remainder is built upon open land.
A golf academy welcomes players of all abilities from the age of just three years old.
10. Hawks Ridge, Atlanta
Another private course, this time by Bob Cupp – the variable layout creates a sense of great excitement as it progresses along.
Its closing hole is a tricky par-5 with bunkers and water hazards all along the left side.
Cupp quite openly modeled much of it on the famous Augusta National, probably the most famous golf course in Georgia.
11. McLemore Club, Lookout Mountain
A Rees Jones and Bill Burgin creation, this course is situated up to 2,000 feet above sea level.
Its final hole has to be approached with some caution as if you miss the fairway your ball could potentially finish up disappearing down the mountainside at McLemore Cove, a drop of some five hundred feet.
A par-71 round, with some memorable holes.
12. Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island
A links-type private golf club with superb views looking out over the coast.
This course was designed by Greg Muirhead and Rees Jones in 1995 and is rated as one of the best golf courses in Georgia and indeed anywhere in the country.
It can be open to the elements but is well worth visiting if only for the clubhouse – not to mention of course the wonderful scenery.
13. Club at Savannah Harbor, Savannah
The Savannah Harbor club is special if only for its unique views of the town. But it also boasts a spacious clubhouse with a dining area, boardroom, and gift shop as well as the popular Legends Bar, Champions Grill and not least the Heavenly Spa.
A range of competitive rates apply and the club offers golf packages that include options to use its many facilities.
14. Atlanta Country Club, Marietta
Founded in 1964 amid scenic hills and local sites commemorating the American Civil War, the Atlanta Country Club is in the process of undergoing further renovation.
As well as the golf course itself the club offers a wider sporting experience in the form of tennis courts, a fitness center, a swimming pool as well as practice area, driving range and putting greens.
15. Butternut Creek Golf Club, Blairsville
An 18-hole course designed by Bill Watts which is pleasing on the eye and interesting to play, due to its variety and unique challenges at every hole including water hazards and undulating greens.
The Butternut Creek club is operated and owned by the Union County Recreation Department and sits below Ivy Log Mountain.
An annual pass starts at $600 and competitive family rates are available.
16. The Mountain View Course at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain
A family-friendly venue on a course which played host to the Buick Challenge over a period of more than a decade.
Designed by Dick Wilson, the course offers a particularly challenging sixth hole with tee and approach shots over water.
Golf Digest golf magazine awarded Mountain View four stars in its “Places to Stay” category.
17. University of Georgia Golf Course, Athens
One of the few public golf courses on the list, it is so called because it is located within the campus of the University of Georgia.
The par-71 field is designed by Robert Trent Jones and is considered one of the best university courses anywhere in the US.
A number of changes of elevation make the venue interesting for experienced golfers, it is also the only course in the city of Athens.
18. TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth
A 27-hole private golf course on the East Coast, designed by golf legend Greg Norman. The owners speak of Sugarloaf’s “membership with bragging rights”.
It has hosted the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, which is Georgia’s primary PGA Tour championship event.
Add to this a proud range of facilities and amenities and it is easy to understand TPC Sugarloaf’s popularity amongst players.
19. The Château Élan Golf Club, Braselton
The scenery at Château Élan does justice to the grandiose name by which it goes.
The challenging course winds through picturesque terrain, with nearly ninety bunkers alongside no fewer than three lakes.
The championship Château course is merely the best of three on offer, alongside a much favored clubhouse, bar and golf shop.
20. Stonebridge Golf Club, Rome
Arthur Davis designed this Floyd County course, which opened up for the first time in 1994. It offers players a unique view of Appalachians, Bermuda fairways, Georgia pines and bent grass greens.
Stonebridge prides itself on taking an ecological approach to its operation, seeking new and innovative ways to protect the natural environment.
Coaching and practice facilities are offered on site.
Enjoying Georgia Golf Courses and the State’s Natural Wonders
There is a double benefit to be had from visiting Georgia in expectation of playing some golf.
Because even outside of its splendid, often world-beating courses there is also a whole lot to enjoy away from the fairway.
In particular, it incorporates approximately 110 miles of wondrous scenic coastline and fifteen barrier islands, including resorts such as Jekyll and St. Simons Island.
The amazing diversity of flora and fauna combines as if by magic with unique shoreline habitats, while the Altamaha River Delta by itself is visited upon by more than 55,000 shorebirds each year.
All in all the sport it offers in a pleasing humid subtropical climate makes Georgia one of the ultimate go-to places for those with a penchant for wielding the wood and the iron.