Peachtree Golf Club is located in Atlanta and it’s the course that the Joneses built. Bobby Jones was the inspiration behind Peachtree and Robert was the architect. Bobby and Robert were not related but Robert started to use his middle name “Trent” when Peachtree finally opened for play.
The original 9-hole course was completed in October 1947 but the following year, Bobby Jones was diagnosed with syringomyelia, a spinal condition that first caused him pain, then paralysis. Sadly, he would never play the completed course at Peachtree Golf Club.
Peachtree’s glorious location bears more than a passing resemblance to nearby Augusta National, certainly in terms of the tall pines, azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom. Fairways follow the natural contours of the landscape, often leading to enormous greens that are well protected by sand, water or both.
The par five 2nd hole gives an early indication of what lies ahead during the round, setting out along a ridge before it falls over a creek to a split fairway that leads to a pond-protected green. On the back nine, the par five 10th plays to one of the largest greens in the country when originally built.
A renovation program has improved the course immeasurably in recent years. Fairways were converted to zoysia grass and tree pruning has allowed old vistas to be enjoyed once again.
The last course on my trip to the Pinehurst area was to be played on my way back to Atlanta. I was thrilled at finally having an opportunity to visit Peachtree. It’s no wonder comparisons are often made to Augusta National. Peachtree is referred to as the course the Joneses built. Referring of course to Bobby Jones and Robert Trent Jones and what a joy it is. Bobby Jones found this property shortly after he worked with Alister MacKenzie to build Augusta. It was the similarity of the property that drew him here. Unfortunately he would not live to see its completion.
The first thing that hits you upon walking to the first tee is the rolling landscape, indeed just like Augusta National. The scale of the height differences, the look and feel of the green complexes and the beautiful bunkers and white Augusta-like sand.
Secondly, I’d have to say it bares no resemblance to anything I’d ever seen from RTJ with perhaps the slight exception to Valderrama, minus the cork trees of course. However, there are many similarities to St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto. Which at first seems strange as Stanley Thompson designed St. George’s. Upon further research this all becomes clear, RTJ started his career working for Stanley Thompson and was heavily influenced by him with his first and incidentally his best work.
Right from the start Peachtree really impresses with some interesting movement in the terrain. The second hole is a quirky par 5 dogleg right and down a steep hill. A good drive taking on the slope on the right hand side can offer up a chance to go for this green in two. To do so you need to take on the stream in front and right of the green.
The 4this an excellent par 3 playing up to a slightly elevated green that is wide but narrow and sloped from back to front. The tee shot plays over a small valley and a rather iconic bridge takes you across to the green.
The course continues on working its way around over and through this very interesting and dynamic property. The Joneses made perfect use of the features on this property leaving behind a wonderful course full of strategic and challenging holes, very interesting and undulated greens which are challenging and fun to approach.
It’s easy to see why Peachtree is often considered the best course in Georgia, on top of that it’s open year round. My visit was in July on a balmy morning about 85 degrees and no wind. The course was in the best shape of any course I played last year. That has everything to do with their green-keeping team and their superintendent Mr. William Shirley, who is one of the best in the business.
It’s rare to receive an invite to play Peachtree but if you are so lucky, drop everything and jump at the opportunity.
Peachtree only has 225 members and on the beautiful Spring day I played it we saw only two other group all day. The terrain is some of the hilliest I've played (although the Olympic Club Lake course is hillier). It is not an exaggeration to say that the only flat lies you are likely to get all day are on the tee boxes.
Many of the approach shots are to elevated greens, thus the course plays longer than the card indicates. The course has among the best conditioned and fastest greens I have played. The course also has an ever-present creek that winds its way around the layout and is always ready to catch a wayward shot or to penalize those that should have hit three wood off the tee but through their hubris take the driver.
Comparisons between Peachtree and Augusta are inevitable because Bobby had a hand in designing both; their respective topographies are very similar and Peachtree, like Augusta, was previously a nursery. Several of the vistas a Peachtree could be mistaken for those at Augusta.
Peachtree is a decidedly low key affair, the clubhouse is understated, the grill room is understated and the membership is both low key and low profile. I am a fan of golf clubs like Peachtree.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs
Peachtree was designed by Robert Trent Jones. It is one of his finest courses and jump-started his career as a golf architect. And guess who worked on the club with him? Bobby Jones (no relation), the founder and first president of Peachtree. Jones is credited as a co-architect of the course, just as he is credited with co-designing Augusta National several years later. Peachtree looks and feels like Augusta, with similar rolling terrain and vegetation. You may be interested to know that the clubhouse, the old Samuel House Plantation house, served as General Sherman’s 1864 headquarters in his march through Atlanta to the sea. Larry Berle.