The Reynolds Lake Oconee resort – originally named the Reynolds Plantation – occupies a huge ten thousand-acre property to the east of Atlanta where it operated as an old family hunting and fishing retreat.
The Oconee River was developed in 1978 to form a large man-made lake around which the Linger Longer development company sold real estate units, enabling the construction of six golf courses along a 90-mile stretch of Lake Oconee.
The Landing and The Preserve were the first two 18-hole layouts to appear here in 1986 and 1988, each of them designed by Bob Cupp. Jack Nicklaus set out the Great Waters course in 1992 and this was followed a short time later by Tom Fazio’s 27-hole National layout.
In Daniel Wexler’s The American Golf Resort Guide the author says that the Landing course “actually began life as the separate Port Armor Country Club before being acquired in 2009. Carrying the highest rating on the property, it is a challenging course which relies less on water than one might guess.”
This may be the first golf course built at Lake Oconee. With the prominence of the other Reynolds courses, this one is often overlooked. However, it is nonetheless a superb course.
The course is a good test of golf without being overly difficult. The key theme here is playable without making it easy. The natural uneven lies and the contours of the greens make for challenges that are not manufactured or contrived.
Also, the course is routed to make the most of the natural beauty of the surroundings. The best example is the par 5, 2nd hole, where the approach to the green is a bit elevated providing you a picturesque view of the lake as you make your second (and for most third) shot into the green. Then you play 4 & 5 along the shore and the course ends with 16,17, and 18 again along the shore. In between are some memorable holes as well.
The Landing is a good way to set-up a weekend of golf or perhaps downshift from the other more difficult courses at Reynolds.
The lion's share of attention at the highly successful Reynolds Lake Oconee facility has centered around the recent updating of the highly acclaimed Great Waters course updated by Jack Nicklaus and his talented team. Without question -- Great Waters deserves plaudits.
The Landing was the first of what would soon become a multi-layout facility. Opening in 1986 the design by Bob Cupp is still fun to play.
The routing is clockwise for the outward nine and goes in a counter clockwise direction for the inward side. The land plan is smartly done with housing sequestered to the perimeter and being, for the most part, out of view.
Given the need to accommodate on-course housing the totality of the holes has its ebb and flow moments.
Among the most noted holes are the par-4 holes at the 4th and 5th which come in close proximity to Sugar Creek.
The start of the back nine is also strong with three testing holes right away from the 10th thru 12th which feature two solid par-4 holes bracketed by a scenic and challenging long par-3 at the 11th.
As I mentioned, when you have a routing that has to account for housing you will get a fair share of decent but uninspiring holes -- and that's the case with the final three holes at The Landing.
Nonetheless, those visiting the mega-course behemoth should plan a round when there.
M. James Ward