East Lake - Georgia - USA

East Lake Golf Club,
2575 Alston Drive,
Atlanta,
Georgia (GA) 30317,
USA


  • +1 404 373 5722

  • Rick Burton

  • Tom Bendelow, Donald Ross and Rees Jones

  • Daryl Batey


East Lake’s history is truly moving so we think it is worth sharing. Tom Bendelow originally designed the East Lake course as a golfing accompaniment for the members of the Atlanta Athletic Club. The course was laid out in the suburbs of Atlanta on the site of an old amusement park and the course opened for play in July 1908. A young six-year old called Bob was at the East Lake opening ceremony in the company of his father, Colonel Robert P. Jones.

East Lake Golf Club played host to the 1963 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Great Britain. Team Captains were Arnold Palmer (US) and John Fallon (GB). Britain adopted a new strategy for the 15th edition of Ryder Cup matches using a non-playing Captain for the first time. The US did not follow suit and placed Arnold Palmer at the playing helm. “The King” in his debut as Captain led his team in fine style to the second largest winning margin in Ryder Cup history. USA 23 - GB 9. The Ryder Cup was played at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1961 and at Royal Birkdale in 1965.

In 1913, the famous Scottish architect Donald Ross redesigned East Lake creating two loops of nine holes and in 1928 he returned to fashion a second East Lake course which opened in 1930 to coincide with Bobby’s Grand Slam victory celebrations. George Cobb made a few minor alterations to the original course ahead the 1963 Ryder Cup which culminated in a resounding 23 points to 9 victory for team USA against a beleaguered Great Britain & Ireland squad.

East Lake’s luck soon changed after the 1963 Ryder Cup as the Atlanta neighbourhood fell into urban decline. The Atlanta Athletic Club sold the second course to developers and moved out. But 25 members stepped in and saved the original course and formed the East Lake Golf Club. In the early 1970s public housing was built on the site of No.2 course and the area soon became a centre for poverty, drugs and violence. East Lake slowly but surely degenerated.

A charity with great vision bought East Lake in 1993 and decided to rebuild the course as a tribute to Bobby Jones. In 1994, Rees Jones was called in. Using the original drawings, Donald Ross’s original 1926 design was re-born. Today’s East Lake is the driving force behind the effort to revitalise this Atlanta neighbourhood. All profits from the club go to support the East Lake Community Foundation and as a consequence East Lake now stands as a symbol of hope as well as tradition.

We raise our glass to East Lake but we’ve just noticed that we haven’t mentioned anything about the course... click here to find out more or scroll down to read the course reviews.

In addition to hosting the 1963 Ryder Cup matches, East Lake played host to the 2001 US Amateur Championship. East Lake is also host venue for the Tour Championship, which has been held consecutively here in Atlanta since 2004.

Tiger Woods claims 1st win since 2013

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Reviews for East Lake

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Description: All profits from East Lake Golf Club go to support the local community. East Lake now stands for hope in Atlanta as well as tradition. Rating: 5.2 out of 6 Reviews: 6

East Lake, like Los Angeles Country Club, is a city course hemmed in in its entirety by a perimeter fence. The course is built on gently rolling hills and with the exception of holes 4, 6, 8 and 17, the holes are routed east-west to play directly into the wind or down wind. After a gentle starter into the wind, the par three second hole plays down wind. Gently sloping hills and typical at East Lake as are shaved fall-off areas surrounding the green.

The 551-yard par five ninth hole was my favorite on the course. It sweeps down the hill from a tee box at the top and you have to play your third shot over the lake to a very well protected green. The majestic clubhouse in the background adds to the grandeur of the hole.

The front nine plays on the west side of the clubhouse and the back nine plays on the east side; and on the back, with the exception of the seventeenth, the holes run parallel to each other as you play up and down the hill. The back nine is the more interesting of the two.

The "signature" hole at East Lake is the eighteenth, which is a par three finishing hole which plays 207 yards uphill into the prevailing wind. It is a real testing way to finish off a testing round.

The clubhouse is shrine to Bobby Jones and is one of the best in the world.

John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs

4 / 6
East Lake
December 01, 2016


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Once I had my trip to the Masters confirmed I started my quest to play some Major Venues. It was pretty fast and not tough at Atlanta Athletic, but getting to ELGC was not easy at all. My first request through the Golf Club was not successful and felt disappointed, but just 2 weeks before flying I was confirmed by a friend who I didn´t know he was a Member. Luck? Maybe!

East Lake Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

We flew the night before and landed 6am at Atlanta Airport, got the car and went directly to the Club. We were introduced to the Locker Room and I was lucky to get one from a 4 time Major Champion! A well deserved shower and a great breakfast watching 17th green where Bill Haas made that fantastic shot from the water to win the FedEx Cup some years ago.

Then we made a Tour through the Club House ... WOW! If you feel Bobby Jones is your idol like I do, this Club House for you is Disneyland! Memorabilia, Trophies, Luxury and Respect all together to tell us a lot about maybe the greatest golfer ever. It took us more than 1hr to visit every corner of it, guided by a very kind waiter who previously had given breakfast to us.

East Lake Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

After that some warming up to get the Airplane off our body and to the course. We played walking with a fantastic caddie and it was a true golfing experience. At every hole he had stories from the past and the Tour Championship, showing us where the pros where shooting tee shots and about pin positions and all other secrets of the course. Unfortunately we did not play fantastic par 5 9th because it was under repair and scheduled to open 2 days after. They have a substitute hole between 6th and 7th, a par 3 of maybe 145yds.

Back 9 plays a lot tougher than front and it did reflect in my score. But who cares, I was able to walk a course with such history and I am graceful for having the chance to play it. There are some great holes and final 4 are really tough (4 bogeys for me!). If you have the luck to play this course, do not feel it is just the golf round. You are walking Bobby Jones' playgroung. There is a very nice mark on par 3 11th where Jones made a hole in one. Another Top 100 I will remember for my entire life.

5 / 6
East Lake
May 17, 2016


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As I approached the course in my rental car, you could see that the club and surrounding grounds had a spanking new look that contrasted with a neighborhood in transition. The more I learned about how Tom Cousins had used this club renovation to turn around this neighborhood, the more impressed I became. Bobby Jones grew up across the street from the 13th tee box, and I had my picture taken in front of his house. I was hoping that standing in front of his house would cause some of his skill to rub off on me, but that didn’t happen. The clubhouse is a tribute to the great Bobby Jones and worth a trip all by itself. East Lake now hosts the Tour Championship every year. Watch it on TV. Larry Berle.
4 / 6
East Lake
November 23, 2014


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Keith Baxter
November 23, 2014
The above review is an edited extract from A Golfer’s Dream, which has been reproduced with the author’s kind permission. A Golfer’s Dream, by Larry Berle, tells the story of how a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses (following Golf Digest’s 2001/2002 list). Larry has exclusively rated for us every course in the hundred, using our golf ball rating system. However, Larry did not rate the 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the hundred. Consequently, in some cases, his rating may seem rather low. A Golfer’s Dream is available in Kindle format and also on Kindle Unlimited via Amazon... click the link for more. 
Living in Atlanta, I feel this is a great walk through history and it is the birthplace of golf in the US. Knowing Bobby Jones learned to play here and remained her till his death makes this place special. The clubhouse is the one of the best in golf and the staff here is second to none. When you enter the clubhouse you imediately see Mr. Jones's Grand Slam Trophys. It makes the round majical. They call it the box, because it is on the least amount of property that a golf course can handle. It is a pure test of golf on the most undulated terrain in Atlanta. The history here makes it dear to my heart and it is a course that I could play everyday, if I didn't want to break par.
6 / 6
East Lake
July 09, 2010


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East Lake is a first class golf course and a club with a proud history. Alexa Stirling, Watts Gunn, Charlie Yates, Charles Harrison and of course, Bobby Jones called it home (as does current Open Champion, Stewart Cink). From the moment you get through the main gates, you are treated like royalty; from the excellent caddying to the complimentary ginger biscuits in the locker rooms! Since being extended in 2008, the clubhouse features a large bar/restaurant area, serving great food and an amazing selection of drinks. As you would expect from the venue for the finale of the PGA Tour season, the course is genuinely challenging (especially after several changes were made in 2008). Three of the four par 3s play over water, including the famous 6th with its signature island green. The 7th is a killer uphill par 4, severely extended recently to include a deep hollow, which swallows anything landing on the right edge of the green. The par 4 8th might seem driveable for long-hitters, but a long bunker and a very tricky green punish approaches which are off-line. For many regulars, the par 5 9th is the gem of the course. A downhill tee shot presents a difficult decision as to how far over the lake you need to play the second. Lay up too short and you face a daunting approach to a smallish green; too long and you flirt with a large bunker catching balls in the left half of the fairway. The ideal second shot will leave you around 120 yards from the left half of the fairway to a pin which usually sits on the highest part of the green (back right). Much of the back nine alternates up and down a steady hill, including the energy-sapping par 5 15th, where a decent drive could set-up longer hitters with a birdie chance (if they can keep their breath up the slope). Probably the most radical change on the course in 2008 was on 17. Stewart Cink describes it as 'one of golf's best tee shots'. The drive starts over part of the lake before landing on a pristine fairway which slopes right to left, all the way down to the water's edge. Here's where it gets tricky: The new 17th green is a small, raised crown green, running towards the water with a surface which makes it almost impossible to stop most approaches from outside 100 yards. The pros have real difficulty here and so will you! East Lake's finishing hole is an uphill par 3 (again, over water) and is by no means an easy par. It's difficult to judge the distance from the tiered tees and bunkers await on either side of the green to gobble up stray shots. Anything can happen! If you can ever persuade a member to take you out at East Lake, you must jump at the chance. You'll never forget it.
6 / 6
East Lake
May 25, 2010


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One of the really cool things about East Lake is that it is a walking only course and caddies always accompany you during your round. Frankly, this always makes me feel like a professional golfer. In essence, you ask your caddy for the distance to the target, discuss the appropriate strategy for the shot, select the club that will maximize your chance of executing the shot, your caddie hands you the club, you step up and hit the shot. Then hand your club back to the caddy and you and him walk down the fairway with him carrying your bags…just like Bones and Phil. Really neat! I have had the great fortune of playing the course a number of times…maybe 10 times in the two years I’ve been playing. My scores have dropped from 113 to challenging the 80’s. The main reason for this drop is simply more experience playing the game of golf. However, another key reason is figuring out what makes this course so hard. In my opinion, it is the approach shots. There is never a clear shot to the green, they are always protected by bunkers and/or water. Therefore, you can not just grab your club and bomb away. Mad-bombers will be punished for every miss-hit whether it be a little too long or short, a slice or a fade. However, these bombers might think they have eluded danger if they don’t actually land in a bunker or hit the water. But any miss-hit on the approach will be punished. However it might be as subtle as being short-sided on your chip shot with the rock-hard and lightning fast greens sloping away from you back into a trap or a water hazard. We can all thank Mr. Ross for these nuances and making this world-class course a true thinking mans course. Aside from being a thinking mans course, this course is so historic that is truly an awesome experience to simply be on the hallowed grounds of East Lake. Not only is it a great round of golf, but a great life event. Check out my review on mprgolf.com 
6 / 6
East Lake
June 17, 2009


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mrpgolf
December 04, 2009
Well, I played it again and the magic simply seems to grow and grow. Without question, the most challenging course I have ever played regarding the approach shot. The course it simply brilliant and wonderful...but it like fine wine in that it gets better with age or in golf terms it gets better each time you play it. And that is the sign of a great course!
looper
December 07, 2009
Don't forget... take care of your caddie!