Much of Georgia’s most acclaimed golf is located in the northern portion of the state, linking the cities of Atlanta, Athens, Augusta and Savannah. Thankfully, Davis Love III helped bring an exciting piece of strategic and heroic golf to the Valdosta area, just north of the Florida border.
This public-access track finds the PGA icon walking a line between influences, with one foot in the Golden Age designs of Seth Raynor and one in the more adventurous modern designs of Tom Fazio or Pete Dye. Both will be in view on the front nine.
Several holes loop around a sunken construction pit that since been reclaimed by nature following Kinderlou Forest’s arrival. The pit, now flowing with water and promoting marshland life, provides a series of risk-reward questions for players as they come around the scimitar-shaped par five at No. 4, with a crossing creek adding further intrigue. Players will then make a forced carry over the pit to reach the par three No. 5.
Across much of the course, however, players will notice the deep, geometrical greens that Love has utilized across his portfolio, a tribute to Raynor’s style.
I'm surprised this course is not ranked higher. It is also the home of Valdosta State, so I consider this to be a university course as well. (but maybe that is just me?) Course has a great layout. No gimmicks here. Very long, challenging yet able to attack. Greens roll very true. Course was in great shape when I was there in June 2019. Club house guys were great. Good atmosphere, good golf. Great course. I could see this hosting a US Open qualifier soon. Worthy of hosting an Open but let's face it, it is in Valdosta. Go Blazers.
Kinderlou is a Davis Love design in Valdosta, GA. From the tips almost 7800 yards, as I am a mere mortal this review is from the blues just under 6500. All roads do not lead to Valdosta, but if you are heading south on I75 heading to FL, it beats a sharp stick to the eye.
The first hole is welcoming. Favor the right side off the tee for the best angle and be wary of the deep greenside bunker left. The 2nd hole is a quasi- reachable par five. Off the tee there is a long carry over a ravine with fairway bunkers right and left. I would suggest playing it as a 3 shotter. However, for those wild and crazy golfers you can run it on from the left side, right, not so much. The 3rd is a dogleg right. It is rated as the 5th handicap hole. I disagree. Play it to the left, this will avoid the fairway bunkers right and more importantly take the tree out of play that blocks approaches from the right. The signature hole is the par 5 4th. It is long and requires good decision making and executing 3 good shots. With water right and ravine left play smart. The par 3 5th looks more intimidating than it is. A relatively short par 3, all you have to do is hit a good shot to carry the ravine. The par 4 6th also looks tougher than it is. Yes, there are a lot of fairway bunkers, just hit a good drive. For your second shot, it is at least one more club and perhaps two, as long is better. The 7th is an uphill short par 4. There are 4 bunkers across the fairway in the landing zone. Choose your distance wisely off the tee to set up your birdie oppty. Closing out the front is a long par 4 dogleg right with a myriad of fairway bunkers. The cross bunkers are a good 25 yards short of the green.
The back starts with supposedly the easiest hole on the course. Off the tee everything will roll right. Aim down the fairway/rough line on the left. I would also suggest an extra club on the approach. Good birdie hole, especially if you follow my direction. The 11th offers proof that success has many fathers and failure is an orphan. A non-reachable par 5 with a split fairway, the left offers a clear look at the green and favors a lower trajectory approach. Conversely, the lower right side offers a better angle, but the approach requires higher loft. In our group we had 2 go left and 2 go right and we all parred. Surely, a sign of the apocalypse. Favor the left side of the fairway on the par 4 12th. As with 9, the greenside bunker on the left is NOT a greenside bunker. The par 4 13th is my favorite hole, yes, I birdied. A dogleg right, do not get cute. Hit your tee shot down the middle and it will funnel down the hill to give you a good look at the green. Favor the right side on your approach as everything will feed left. The 14th is a non-reachable par 5. I know some of you will not heed my advice, as the yardage gives you the illusion that you can get there. Don’t do it. It is a dogleg left with a creek running down the entire left side. If you are foolish enough to go for it, you must be left, hence the warning. The 15th is the longest par 3 on the course with a large bunker left. Favor the right side and leverage the slope as balls down the right side will funnel onto the green. The 16th is a cool hole. Off the green favor the right side as there is a BAB on the left. This has a Biarritz green, so while the approach is downhill and you should take one less club, choose wisely. The 17th is the last par 3. It has a small green with 3 bunkers in the front protecting the right, center and left. The 18th is a tough finishing hole. Dogleg left with a bunker on the inside elbow. The approach is uphill, take an extra club to carry the false front.
Good not great