The Club at Shoal Creek

This was originally Griffin Country Club which unfortunately went bankrupt and closed in January 2013 before being bought on the courthouse steps in May 2013.  It was closed for some time while the new owners made improvements to the course before re-opening as The Club at Shoal Creek.  Improvements included work on the bunkers and the installation of new mini verde greens. During the time that the course was closed it was used as a location for filming the popular TV series The Walking Dead.

The new owners are committed to making further improvements to the property.  Although this work is still in progress I found the tee boxes and fairways were well maintained and the new greens were in excellent condition.  Many of the cart paths still need some repair work.  The sponsored granite tee markers at each hole look to be a recent addition.   

The clubhouse building looked a bit tired so hopefully on the list for improvement.  From the parking lot the pro shop and snack bar are behind the left side of the clubhouse.

The course, which opened in 1968, was designed by Willard Byrd. Byrd, who passed away in 2004 aged 85, designed more than 100 courses including Atlanta Country Club and Dunwoody Country Club here in Georgia.

The par 72 course has four tee boxes which range from 6,910 yards at the tips to 5,424 yards from the Ladies tees.

The front nine is an anti-clockwise loop around Shoal Creek Lake and gets off to a straightforward start.  The dogleg left 1st is a 372 yard par 4 (blue tees) and the second is a straight 382 yard par 4 with a wide open fairway.

3rd, dogleg left 398 yard, par 4.  First time here it was difficult to judge how far my tee shot could safely be hit.  Long or short, the approach shot is downhill to a green protected by bunkers. Water is too far right of the green to come into play.

4th is the first par 3, 137 yards over water to a fairly small green.  There is a steep slope from the front of the green down to the water so make sure you take enough club.

Holes 5 through 7 are the toughest stretch of holes on the course.  The 5th is the first par 5 and plays 573 yards.   A tee shot to the right could leave you blocked by trees.

6th, 387 yard par 4 is the number 1 handicap hole.  The creek that crosses fairway forces a short tee shot leaving a long approach shot.

7th, 499 yard par 5, may be my favorite hole on front 9.  Slight dogleg.  Don’t hit too far right off the tee.  Approach shot is uphill to the green.

8th short par 4, 369 yards. Slight dog leg right. Be careful with club selection from the tee shot as you could run out of fairway on the left side.

9th. Great par 3 to complete front 9. 178 yards from the blue tees.  The green is set at an angle with Shoal Creek Lake to the left.  The clubhouse is on the hill to the back right of the green.

10th, the back nine starts with a 90 degree dogleg left 370 yard par 4.  I should have taken more time to understand the line of this hole before teeing off.  The 11th green is visible through the trees and fooled me into thinking it was the 10th green.

11th, simple downhill 152 yard par 3.  The creek is too far short of the green to come into play.

12th, 471 yard par 5.  Blind tee shot but it’s a wide fairway that goes uphill and to the right.

13th, 378 yard par4.  Took me until the 13th to be in a bunker. Sand was good. Not too much not too little.

14th, 357 yard par 4. Second half of fairway slopes right to left. Another hole with trees on the right that can block a wayward tee shot.

15th is a simple 163 yard par 3. There are bunkers front and back but the hole is so flat it’s hard to see them from the tee.

16th is an awkward 384 yard, par 4 dog leg right.  There is a 60 yard difference from the blue tee to the white tees.  It’s narrow off the tee and you need to hit left and long enough to avoid being blocked out by the trees on the right.

Holes 17 and 18 are a tough finish…

17th, 384 yard par 4, a dry creek crosses the fairway and from there the hole climbs uphill to the green.  Looks straightforward from the tee but this is the #2 handicap hole.

18th is a great finishing hole.  522 yards par 5, #6 handicap hole.  Elevated tee, plays down hill to the creek. Then uphill sharply to the green.  From the creek you can’t see the surface of the green and depending on pin position may not see the top of the flag.  There is a bunker on the up slope but none behind the green.

I enjoyed the fact that this was first and foremost about golf.  Overall it’s a nice layout and the playing areas are in good condition. Not much landscaping in the areas surrounding the course and there were some worn out areas of grass where players have driven their carts up to the side of the tee boxes instead of parking on cart path. With these things tidied up this place could be really nice.

There are homes around the course but most are hidden behind trees. Where they are visible they are some way from the fairways and don’t affect play. The course does cross public roads a few times. They are not busy roads, but care should be taken especially crossing from 14th green to 15th tee as it’s on a corner and hard to see if cars are coming from the right.

The Club at Shoal Creek is a semi-private club and very much open to public play.  Green fees are $25 on weekdays and $35 on weekends. These prices include cart and sales tax.  Twilight rates start at 2:30pm at weekends. Tee times can be booked on weekends and holidays by calling 770 228 4744.  On weekdays its first come first served.

The club also has a swimming pool, tennis courts and a driving range. There are great membership deals on the clubs website. A family membership for golf, pool and tennis is only $600 annually.  Check out the clubs website for more information at www.theclubatshoalcreek.com

The Club at Shoal Creek is situated a few miles west of Griffin, GA just north of Highway 16. It’s a 38 mile drive south from Atlanta.

For my food choice this week head west on Highway 16 to the town of Senoia (where they film The Walking Dead) for some great BBQ at Katie Lou’s Cafe on Main St. All meats are slow smoked onsite in their own smokehouse. www.katielouscafe.com

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