The Barnsley Resort exists as a getaway for those fed up with the urban bustle, attracting visitors primarily from Atlanta and Chattanooga for weekend respite. Accordingly, the golf course continues the theme, offering an even more focused ability to get away, thanks to a route that largely isolates players from other foursomes thanks to its forested surrounds.
Although some of the holes continue across the open land that previously had existed as a farm, Jim Fazio took Barnsley Resort’s golf course off the beaten path, literally, and into the forest, creating a route that runs for more than 7,300 yards through the north Georgia hills. Golfers will spend the majority of their rounds without seeing anyone but the players ahead of them, and perhaps not even those individuals if pace-of-play is brisk.
Understanding that such a challenging route may still call for some additional hydration, Fazio is sure to bring the opening loop back to the clubhouse before sending players back out into the wilderness for another nine. Visitors may be at Barnsley Resort to relax, but that doesn’t mean Fazio won’t challenge them on the golf course.
This is a Jim Fazio design and one feature that I liked is that it is the antithesis of a Nicklaus design. Nothing quite like a happy hooker. With multiple sets of tees everyone should be able to find their comfort zone. This review will be off the teal tees, 6200+ yards.
The first hole is a welcoming dogleg left par 4. There are bunkers on the outside of the elbow but the fairway is wider at the turn. There are greenside bunkers right and left with a water hazard sneaking in on the right side. Number 2 is also a dogleg left with bunkers on the inside and outside elbow. While a wee bit shorter, it plays tougher as the fairway is much narrower. The par 3s really make this course. The first from the tips is an uphill 200+ yarder. From the teal it is a much more benign 135. With a bunker left the green lists to the right and right is NG. The 4th is a reachable par 5. Dogleg right and uphill, there is not a lot of trouble. The par 4 5th is a birdie oppty. Dogleg right, it is relatively short, so you can cut the corner, but there are a couple of fairway bunkers through the fairway. The 6th and 7th are much tougher holes. Longer and narrower. The 8th is a mcgilla par 3, 240 from the tips, albeit downhill, and 200 from the teals. The 9th is a par 5 and interestingly, one of 3 par 5s in a 4 hole stretch. While 9 can be reached in two be cautious of the water hazard greenside left.
The back starts with a par 5. I feel 10 is much tougher, but the card does not reflect that, tighter, more bunkers and right is trouble. The 12th is the easiest of the 3 and you gotta go for it, if you don’t, you probably never will. The 13th is a tough long uphill par 4. Avoid the fairway bunker right to give yourself a chance. The 14th is another long par 3 downhill. Water right, a bunker right and one in front. This green tilts right to left, hopefully the pin is left when you play it. Pretty hole. The par 4 15th is a dogleg left with a bunker on the outside elbow. You can shave yardage by cutting the corner. The 16th may be your best birdie oppty coming in. It is short, but to far left off the tee and you will have to navigate around a large pine tree. The last par 3 17th is another challenge. Rated the number 7 handicap hole water left, bunker front middle and bunkers left. It is a table top green to add more difficulty. The 18th is a strong finishing hole. Water all the way down the left side to a large two tiered green. Finishing with a par deserves a beer.