Located less than an hour’s drive north of downtown Atlanta, the late 1990s layout at the semi-private Woodmont Golf & Country Club is the first design project undertaken by Robert Trent Jones Junior in the state of Georgia.
In my previous career, I spent a significant amount of time traveling to Atlanta. During one of my last trips, I received a local’s advice to trek up to Woodmont G&CC in Canton. The drive up alone was worth it with stunning fall colors and gorgeous views of the Appalachians.
Woodmont’s staff were incredibly welcoming, and I was fortunate to play a quick round despite there being a number of players on the course. This club is definitely modern in its design, and while built around a community, its houses never once felt intrusive.
Woodmont’s setting, with wonderfully rolling topography, provided some solid golf holes. Some of the more memorable for me include:
• #1: This stout opening hole offers no gentle handshake. Up and down a hill, curving around a tree and bunker, your game will be immediately tested. An interesting run up option on your approach provides light reprieve.
• #2: Another difficult hole, this lengthy par three is fronted with bunkers, but long is deadly.
• #3-#4: The challenge on this duo of holes comes first on their interesting tee shots. Both play parallel to a creek, and each presents challenges should you try to avoid that creek (#3 has a fairway bunker, and #4 has rolling terrain). Both have bunkerless greens, a refreshing golf course feature, and the narrow #3 green was among my favorite approaches on the course.
• #8: After climbing up a hill, the tee shot on the 8th hole provided a terrific view of the course and property. At 470 yards from the tips, this par four is no joke requiring two deep shots to reach the green.
• #11: Conversely, the par three 11th hole, at 116 yards downhill, could not be more refreshing. Kudos to Woodmont for embracing par threes with a wide range of lengths – each required me to hit a different club.
• #16: This par five is strategically cut thrice by the property’s main creek. The player must first play over, and then short of the creek on the tee shot. It comes into play again up the left hand side of the hole and short of the green, should one consider playing aggressively. I cannot remember another hole where a natural stream came into play from virtually all angles.
• #17: Playing to a peninsular fairway, the 17th’s width gives players options off the tee. There is more room to play safely to the left, but that side also provides a worse angle and possible tree trouble. The right is the option with the best angle, but also the bigger trouble with the lake, and less room to go long.
It was not hard to see why locals recommended the trip to Woodmont. The course was a notch above many of the other public courses I had played over the years closer to Atlanta, and while its modern design was evident throughout, houses never felt intrusive, and manmade features did not feel contrived. Overall, this was a solid golf experience.
Woodmont Golf Club holds a special place in my heart. It was the first Robert Trent Jones, Jr course in the state of Georgia. The layout is unique with 5 par 3 and 5 pars. The front is significantly longer than the back. It is the anti-Nicklaus course with hazards on the right of 11 holes.
The first hole is a relatively straight forward par 5. There is a fairway bunker right in the landing area. However, big hitters can carry it and have an excellent chance at reaching the green in two. Be wary of the two greenside bunkers right. The 2nd is a mid-length relatively benign par 3. The green is protected by 3 bunkers, but heck, if I can make birdie, so can you. The 3rd hole is a relatively straight par four. The left fairway bunker really shouldn’t come into play but for shots right the creek comes into play. The 4th is long and has water right. I played safe, missed left and got the bogey I deserved. The par 4 5th looks more demanding than it is. The water should not come into play. For your approach take an extra club, this is one of the tougher greens on the course. The 6th and 7th are birdie oppties. The 6th is 130 yards, so what, par 3. The 7th has 2 fairway bunkers. If you are in the first one, you deserve it and if you are in the 2nd , congrats, that is a hell of a drive (or a really lousy approach shot) The long par 4 8th is deservedly the number one handicap hole. I coughed up another one here but was able to get it back on the pat 5 9th. The 9th is another hole that seemed to have bunkers in areas that would not effect most golfers. Even par at the turn, I had visions of grandeur.
The back starts off with another par 5. Downhill and a classic risk reward, but there is a creek and swamp that bisects the fairway about 200 yards out. The short par 3 11th is a flip wedge. Yes, you have to carry h2o, but at 111 yards, so what. Back to minus 1. The par 4 12th and par 3 13th are good birdie oppties. On 12, once again, fairway bunkers that have little or no impact. The 14th has a blind tee shot, favor the left side. A creek dissects the hole at a 45 degree angle in front of one of the narrowest greens on the course. Take your par and move on. The 15th is the most demanding par 3, anywhere from 180-200 yards over gunch. The hole drops off right and there is a hill left of the green. I overcooked my 5 wood and received a fortuitous carom to give myself a short birdie putt, that I promptly yanked. The par 5 16th is peculiar at best. The elevated tee provides a view of the hole and thus eliminates one of the potential excuses for mucking it up. A creek meanders down the right side and then arbitrarily crosses the fairway about 180 yards out and then pivots back to protect the green. Favor the left off the tee to ensure you are not blocked out. It is the number 2 handicap hole has a tough green and bogey was our best score. Back to even. The 17th is an interesting par 4. With water down the right, left is best. It is not a long hole, but most of the approach is carry. I overcooked my approach and had a 30+ footer. The Big Guy must have felt sorry for me as my putt trundled in for a birdie. Back to minus 1. It is sphincter puckering time, I have a chance to go red. Another omen from above, a short uphill par five. I steer my drive into the fairway, coax my five wood to behave and stay away from the fairway bunkers. This leaves me with a 134 yard uphill approach. I was looking for positive affirmation from my playing partners that the 8 was the right club, but they had abandoned me, as if I had leprosy. I over cooked it as well, to leave myself with a 20-25 downhill slider. I hit it on the toe to take some of the break out and mercifully it slithered to a stop about two feet from the hole. I tapped it in and savored the moment.
Woodmont is a decent golf course that will always be special to me, as the home of my first red score.