Established in 1898, Atlanta Athletic Club originally operated out of East Lake, where it hosted the 1950 US Women’s Amateur and 1963 Ryder Cup matches before moving to its current Johns Creek location in the late 1960s. Robert Trent Jones Snr fashioned a 27-hole facility for the members then Joe Finger created an additional 9-hole course in 1971, allowing the club to form the Highlands and Riverside 18-hole layouts.
The Highlands course has been a popular venue for the USPGA Championships – the event was held here in 1981, 2001 and 2011 - and the US Open was also won by Jerry pate in the 1976 edition of this competition. By way of contrast, the Riverside course has only hosted a couple of national events. The first was the US Women’s Open of 1990 and the second was the stroke play section of the 2014 US Amateur Championship.
The course starts and ends with long, demanding par fives and it can be stretched to a mammoth 7,428 yards when the professionals are in town. The greens on the four par three holes are particularly challenging; the 200-yard 6th and 168-yard 11th are both protected by water, the 205-yard 8th is laid out in three levels and the 237-yard 17th is flanked by sand on either side of the hole.
In 2022, Trip Davis renovated the course, working on tees, bunkers and greens, as well as installing new drainage and irrigation systems. A main objective was to improve the flow of the course so the 3rd became a short par three and the sequence of holes from #12 to #14 became a risk-reward par five, followed by a par four set closer to the river, then a driveable par four with the river more in play.