The Golf Club at Cuscowilla was nominated by Bill as a Gem and was added to the Top 100 website in May 2008. Since then, Cuscowilla has become a ranked course. Bill’s original comments are as follows: “Cuscowilla was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore this course is very reminiscent of a Scottish style course with ragged, deep bunkering, native grass areas. Designed for walking and greens that give you lots of options when your approach shot strays. It is a true gem that always makes you pay attention to each shot and never gets boring.”
Located on the shores of Lake Oconee (the second largest body of water in the state of Georgia), the golf course at Cuscowilla is an integral component of a residential development that also offers fishing and boating as alternative outdoor sporting pursuits.
Opened for play in 1996, the course starts and ends in woodland around the clubhouse but most of the fairways are laid out in the open within a gently rolling 700-acre estate.
The opening five holes offer a gentle start to the round before the toughest hole on the front nine is played at the 465-yard par four 6th. On the back nine, the monster par five 14th is another testing hole that double-doglegs, dipping down from the tee then up to the pin during its 623-yard journey from back tees to the green.
The four par threes at holes 3, 8, 11 and 16 are all fine short holes (varying in length between 133 and 233 yards) but many believe the best two holes on the card to be the elegant short par fours at holes 5 and 12.
Cuscowilla is one of my favourite Coore/Crenshaw courses in America. It was such a wonderful experience. The routing gives you a nice mix of everything. You’ll play in wide open spaces, you’ll play down tree-lined fairways, you’ll play over water, you’ll play towards and around Lake Oconee – and above all, you’ll be blown away by their minimalistic aesthetics and world class green sites.
The course really impresses and demonstrates how talented Coore/Crenshaw are when giving a fabulous piece of land. You’ll admire rich red sand in many of the best bunkers the dynamic duo has ever designed. Often times you’ll look around you and start comparing the architects with artists. Which came first, the shovel or the paintbrush?
I am a big fan of Coore and Crenshaw designs and Cuscowilla is among the reasons why. I just like their design aesthetic and philosophy. Make the course playable from tee to green; if you hit a decent shot and put most of the challenges near and on the greens so that even if you are not a long ball hitter you can enjoy the course without it being a push over.
The opening hole is gentle starter but the green is angled so you have to get your flat stick working right out of the gate. The 2nd hole is a more demanding par five that is well trapped and tree lined.
Like all their courses, being able to bump and run shots is a critical skill at Cuscowilla. The long par four 13th hole is a good illustration of this, it is one without bunkers but is anything but a pushover.
Making the experience even better, the course is located at Reynolds Plantation, which is a world-class resort. In my view I would rather play Cuscowilla than other courses that rate higher in Georgia such as Peachtree and Ocean Forest. It is a gem of a course and a great day’s golf.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs