If you are a member of a club in Georgia and keep a handicap with the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) then a fun way to gain access to some great private courses is to play in the GSGA Member Play Days. There are 21 events in 2016 starting in April at the Legends course at Chateau Elan and finishing in November with the season finale event at the Idle Hour Club in Macon. These are not tournaments but are organized like the real deal and played on days when these private clubs are normally closed for maintenance.
I played in the member play day in 2016 at the Brickyard Golf Club in Macon, 77 miles south of Atlanta on I-75. Until 2003 this club was called Riverside Golf and County Club. The original course was built in 1961 and after sale/name change in 2003 was redesigned by ex-PGA pro Mark McCumber in 2005 to be the course you play today. This is a course I had wanted to play for a while. It first caught my attention when it was listed in Golf Digest magazine as the 18th best course in the State. From the moment I arrived I noticed what a peaceful location this was and how everything was maintained to a very high standard.
At almost 7200 yards from the tips with a course rating of 74.9 and slope of 141 this is not an easy course. As a comparison to Scottish Links… Montrose Medal 72.4/135 and Carnoustie 75.1/145. There are three other tee boxes available but even the Forward tees (5700 yards) have a slope of 126. The par 3’s must have been easy though – I had a par at all of them! More info about the club at brickyardgolf.com
Dates for all events in 2016 can be found here… http://www.gsga.org/index.php/competitions/calendar/Member%20Play%20Days/2016 There are some great clubs here (Rivermont, Harbor Club and Pinetree Country Club to name a few) and I’m certainly looking forward to playing in a few events this year.
Typical entry fee for a Member Play Day is $65 and includes green fee, cart and lunch. Certain events allow GSGA members to bring along a non-member as a guest.
Instead of taking the interstate back north towards Atlanta, take US-23 towards Jackson and eat at The Blind Pig BBQ… blindpigbarbecue.com. The best BBQ joints have a real simple menu and The Blind Pig has just that – choose from ribs, pulled pork or turkey with sides of Brunswick stew, baked beans and coleslaw.