Soon after The Golf Club of Georgia opened in the early 1990s, it hosted a number of prestigious events, including the Georgia Amateur, US Open qualifiers and Georgia PGA tournaments. It was also a Champions Tour stop for six years until sponsorship problems ended the event. Other than the Georgia Cup and an annual college tournament, the club is nowhere near as prominent in Atlanta area golf circles as it once was.
This is largely due to the departure of the original Japanese owners, who spent a lot of money building up the club’s reputation as a competition venue. The membership then ran the club for the best part of a decade but they sold out in 2014 to businessman Ben Kenny, who also owns Horseshoe Bend Country Club in Roswell, and he immediately set about renovating the golf facility.
The Lakeside layout isn’t quite as penal as its Creekside sibling, but water is still a serious issue on about half the holes, including a terrific trio of par threes that rate high for beauty and challenge. Both nines finish with risk/reward par fives, where water protects the greens, and the signature par five 11th hole offers fabulous views from a putting surface perched on the edge of Lake Windward.
Golf Club of Georgia has two top ranked courses, both Arthur Hill designs. Lakeside opens with a par five with a significant slope right to left. It is possible to reach in two, but requires two excellent shots. The green is quite undulating and is guarded with left and right bunkers. The 2nd-4th provide excellent opportunities to get the round off to a good start. The 2nd hole is a short par four. The creek is initially on your right but runs the entire length of the hole and bisects the fairway to protect this very small green. The 3rd is the shortest of the par 3s followed by another short par 4. The 4th is significantly uphill so make sure you hit an extra club. The par 5th is downhill off the tee and then uphill to green. Off the tee aim at the right fairway bunkers. The 6th is a long Florida par 3 with a 200 yard carry over water. The long slight dogleg left 7th also has a right to left tilt, aim at the right fairway bunker. The green has a similar contour so aim right of the flag, but not too far, less you be in the deep greenside bunkers right. The par 4 8th is another scoring oppty. The 9th is a par 5 that would be tough to reach in two and not prudent. Fairway bunkers right and left, off the tee aim at the left bunker. There is a small water hazard on the right that should cause you pause to go for it. I threw caution to the wind and paid the price.
The back opens with a tough long par four. The ideal tee shot is down the right side just inside the fairway bunkers. The 11th is the signature hole and is a long par five that angles left. While you are driving out of a chute, there is no sense in going for it two. Play it as a 3 shotter. The green hugs the lake right and long. Left is best. Three good shots should set you up for par. It is a pretty hole and, in my opinion, does not warrant the number one handicap designation. The par 4 12th is a good scoring hole, favor the left off the tee. The green is guarded by front bunkers left and right and the lake on the right side. The 13th is another Florida par 3, albeit 20 yards shorter. The 14th is a tough hole. A long par 4, favor the left off the tee. This will leave you with a long downhill approach with a nice view of the lake. Anything right is death. The 16th is a long uphill par 4, favor the left side off the tee and avoid the right greenside bunkers. Make sure to hit an extra club. The 17th is another long par 3. Interestingly, only a yard longer than the 6th, with no water, it is ranked harder. The 18th is a good ending hole. A dowhhill par 5, Once again, play this as a 3 shotter. There is a large pond right that encourages conservative behavior as it extends about 80% of the way across the fairway. With a bunker short right and two behind the green, pick your desired yardage on your second shot.
Good not great
The golf course has some interesting changes in elevation and attractive Lakeside approach shots on the back nine.
Each nine finishes with commendable par 5s.