The Reynolds Lake Oconee resort – which started out as the Reynolds Plantation – lies an hour’s drive east of downtown Atlanta, set within a huge 10,000-acre property that was formerly used as an old family hunting and fishing retreat.
The Oconee River was held back in 1978 to create a large reservoir around which the Linger Longer development company sold parcels of land for housing before constructing half a dozen golf courses along the shores of Lake Oconee.
The Landing and The Preserve were the first two Bob Cupp-designed 18-hole layouts to arrive at the resort in the late 1980s. Shortly after, Jack Nicklaus constructed the Great Waters course which was followed in 1997 by Tom Fazio’s 27-hole National layout.
Rees Jones then added the Oconee course in 2002 and five years later Jim Engh laid out the private Creek Club course.
In Daniel Wexler’s The American Golf Resort Guide the author describes the National course as follows: “The Bluff and Cove nines form the strongest combination, with the former peaking late at the 574-yard 6th, the 213-yard creek-flanked 7th, the 397-yard 8th and the 420-yard 9th, a dogleg right to a lakeside green.
The Cove makes several trips to the lakeshore but seldom is the water’s presence too invasive, leaving as favorites the 563-yaqrd 4th (a double dogleg where a creek menaces aggressive seconds) and a pair of stiff par 4s; the 449-yard 8th (a sharp dogleg right) and the 462-yard pond-fronted 9th.”
We're of the opinion that the Ridge and Bluff nines form the National's premier 18-hole configuration, but if you're visiting the resort it would be a shame not to play all three loops.