The course at the semi-private Achasta Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus Signature layout which lies within a gated foothills retreat in the North Georgia mountains. Unveiled in 2000, it was once part of the Linger Longer Development Company that also developed Reynolds Plantation and Great Waters along Lake Oconee before running into financial troubles when the global recession kicked in around 2009.
Situated a short drive north of Atlanta via the US-19 highway, Achasta’s Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens are set within the Chestatee River Valley, with this watercourse playing a major part in proceedings at more than half the holes, most notably on the par three 5th which is set out on a river island.
The layout extends to just under 7,000 yards from the back tees so it has had the length to host a number of important regional professional tournaments for the PGA Tour since it first opened, including 2007-2008 AT&T Classic Qualifiers, 2002-2006 Bell South Classic Open Qualifiers and the 2003 US Open Qualifier.
Achasta is a Nicklaus design located in Dahlonega, Georgia, home of one of the first gold rushes in American history. The first hole is a long par four. Off the tee, aim to the left of the righthand fairway bunker. The 2nd hole is a real birdie optty. A short par 4, aim right of the left fairway bunker. A reasonable drive will leave you with a flip wedge to a left to right redan green with a bunker in front. The 3rd is a demanding par 3. The tee shot is out of a shoot to another left to right redan green tucked behind a water hazard. The number 4 handicap hole! The 4th is a good risk reward hole. The first par 5 it is reachable in two. A split fairway that is bisected by a creek. To have a chance at getting home you must be on the right side. The Chestatee River is guarding the green. There is a bailout area left. While you can get home in two, unless you are inside 220 yards, paly it as a 3 shotter. The 5th is a unique par 3. It is situated on an island in the Chestatee River. This is the river where the gold rush occurred. Left is dead. The 6th is a long par five. Aim well left of the fairway BAB on the right side. The green is well protected with 3 bunkers. Play it as a 3 shotter. The 7th is a tough par 4. Slight dogleg left with the river running the length of the hole on the right and the largest BAB is on the left, starting about 200 yards from the green. The 8th is a birdie oppty provided you find the fairway off the tee. A short hole but it also has a fairway bunker right and a pond is on the left side and a pot bunker protecting the green in front. The front closes with a bang. The 9th is the number one handicap and is a long par 4. Technically, it is a split fairway, but play the hole as a dogleg left. Off the tee aim at the two fairway bunkers that are through the fairway. The river runs down the left side, no sense flirting with disaster. A safe tee shot will still leave you with a long approach over the river to a green with a bunker left and a grass pot bunker on the right.
The back starts with a demanding tee shot on a long par 4. The river is left and there is a pond on the right side. My advice, hit your tee shot straight. At over 200 yards the 11th is the longest par 3 at Achasta. You must carry a water hazard, but the real trouble is that pesky river on the left. The 12th is a big dogleg left. I know, usually Nicklaus courses go right. He did a great job keeping the river in play. With the river left, don’t be too conservative off the tee, less you end up in the fairway bunker right. The approach must carry a gunch infested ravine/creek that crosses the fairway short of the green. The 13th is a fun hole. A super risk/reward hole that is kinda/sorts driveable. Set up as a dogleg right a BAB protects the front of the green that is perched on the riverbank. Choose wisely. The par 5 14th is also a birdie hole. One of the straightest holes on the course the only real trouble are the fairway greenside bunkers. The 15th is a much tougher par 5. Once again, the river left with a fairway bunker right. Big hitters can try to go for it, but the river cuts across the fairway on a diagonal. For those of you playing it as a 3 shotter, further right gets you closer, but…. It is the number 2 handicap, good hole. The16th is more traditional, fairway bunkers left and right and greenside bunkers. The 18th is a demanding finishing hole. A long dogleg right with a large water hazard in the elbow that comes into play on both your drive and approach. Godspeed.
Fun golf course