Founded as Brookhaven Country Club in 1883, the club changed its name to Capital City Club Brookhaven twenty years later when Englishman Herbert Hayden Barker was also engaged to set out the 18-hole Brookhaven course as the first golf facility for the members.
Another ninety years would pass before the club’s second 18-hole course appeared. This time, Tom Fazio was chosen to fashion the Crabapple course on a property twenty-two miles further north, immediately next to the Pete Dye course at Atlanta National Golf Club in Milton.
Longer and tougher than the Brookhaven layout, the Crabtree course soon gained national prominence when it hosted the 2003 WGC-American Express Championship a year after it first opened for play. Tiger Woods won the event by two strokes from three other players.
Incidentally, this wasn’t the first time an important professional tournament had been held by the club as the Brookhaven course was formerly used for the Atlanta Open, most famously in 1945 when Byron Nelson claimed one of his eleven straight PGA Tour victories that year.
The Capital City club traces it’s history back to 1883. I love their club crest, which at the bottom says “Carpe diem”. For those of you who have forgotten your Latin, never took it or never saw “The Dead Poet’s Society”, it means seize the day. Capital City Crabapple is about 20 miles north and is a Fazio design.
The first hole is less than welcoming, but fair. A par four slight dogleg right has bunkers on both sides and the left one is a BAB. The green is two tiered with bunkers front left and right. Long is NG. Thepar 4 2nd is a real slight dogleg left. There is a BAB fairway bunker that will catch your eye off the tee. Pay it no heed, unless you really lay an egg it is not in play. Frankly, from a design perspective, why? Lots of trees right and you can cut the corner. Another oscillating green, club selection is key. Do not plop it in the left bunker. The 3rdhole was one of my favorites. A long down hill par 3 with a redan green. Left is death as there are two BABs. Classic design, yes, I birdied it. The 4th hole is a long straight uphill par 5. You have to be a real stallion to get home in two. Fairway bunkers left off the two and a couple more in the landing area just outside of about 150 yards. This undulating green has a false front as well as left and right front greenside bunkers. A straightforward hole that is anything but, a definite thinking man’s hole. The short par 4 5th is a fun risk reward hole. Big hitters can drive it, however with 6 bunkers between the tee and green running one on is extremely unlikely. The par 3 6th looks more intimidating than it is. Yes, you must carry a gunch invested ravine and 3 front greenside bunkers, better long than short. The par 4 dogleg right is another excellent risk reward hole. If you carry the bunkers on the inside elbow, it is a flip wedge. I think a better play is favor the right side and hit a full shot to the green. Good birdie oppty. The long par 4 8th is tough. You must tee off out of a shoot and the preferred ball flight would be a slight draw to a large landing area. This is the only hole on the course without a bunker and is surprisingly, the number one handicap hole. The 9th hole is a par 4 and longer than 8, yest is the number 5 handicap hole. A gaggle of bunkers protect the right side. Another undulating green protected by greenside bunkers left and right.
The back starts off with an in your face long par four. A dogleg that is slightly right and downhill. The green slopes left to right with a front right bunker. We had 3 shots hit this green and none stuck. I think it is best to come in from the left and run it on. The par 4 dogleg right 11th gives some relief. Favor the right side off the tee to avoid running out and into the bunker on the outside of the elbow. A two tiered green where the back third slopes away and is also difficult to hold. The par 5 dogleg left 12th is an interesting hole. Big hitters can get home in two if they blast it over the bunker on the inside elbow. A split fairway where the right side is significantly higher than the left and is segregated by multiple fairway bunkers. If you play it as a three shotter come in from the right. I am not sure why the long 14th is rated as the 12th handicap. Trees left with a creek and 10 bunkers on the right? It is downhill and you should probably take at least one club less on the approach. The 15th is the longest par three and is uphill. Over the river and through the front greenside bunkers to a guitar pick shaped green. The 16th is the longest par 4 and has a cavernous bunker in the middle of the fairway in the landing zone. Left or right? Either is the answer. Left is wee bit better, but there are two additional fairway bunkers on the left side. The green is well protected with a BAB right. The 17th is another long par 4 dogleg left. One can cut the corner but beware of the staggered bunkers protecting the inside elbow. Another well protected green with a myriad of bunker front right and left. No rest for the weary, the 18th is another long par 4, dogleg left. The approach shot is through a shoot to the green with bunkers left and right.
This is a tough course, definitely not a fun course. It wears you down.