Georgia National is a beautiful parkland course in McDonough, GA and one I’ve always found to be very challenging. It’s a long course with a great variety of holes that make you think. Elevation change, fairway bunkers that are well positioned and several greens with false fronts. Get your drive out of position and a layup may be the best strategy.
Opened in 1994, this Denis Griffiths designed course plays 6,907 yards from the back tees with a rating of 74.1 and slope of 140. The two nines are well balanced in terms of distance but only one par 5, the 1st, on the front nine. The back nine feels a bit shorter thanks to three relatively short par 4’s. Georgia National has hosted a Women’s US Open Qualifier and the Yamaha Atlanta Open.
The par 3’s… The 3rd hole is 193 yards (from the blue tees that I played) with bunkers on the left side of the green. The 6th is shorter at 146 yards and plays downhill with a lake short right of the green and bunkers back left. The 11th plays longer than the 158 yards on the scorecard. The water should be easily cleared and there is space on all sides of the green. The final par 3 is the 17th, 151 yards. The back tees are further right than the main tee box giving a totally different angle of approach which changes the whole completely.
The par 4’s… On the front side I love the 8th hole, 409 yard, dogleg left with bunkers on inside of the corner. The second half of fairway is on a downslope towards a lake in front of the green. The safe tee shot is to the right of the bunkers onto the flat landing area leaving a long approach shot. A drive over the bunkers can get close to the water if there is a lot of run on the fairways and leaves a short approach shot. It’s a risk reward tee shot and this being the number 5 handicap hole shouldn’t be ignored!
The 433 yard uphill 10th is a good start to the back nine. Holes 13, 14 and 15 run parallel to each other – down, up, down – with trees separating the fairways. The 13th is a short, 325 yards, par 4 with a lake short and left of the green. The 415 yard 15th is the number 2 handicap hole and a longer version of the 13th – again water short of the green.
The round starts and finishes with par 5’s… The 1st hole is the only par 5 on the front nine. A straight 491 yard hole with well positioned bunkers on left of the fairway and protecting the front of the green. The 18th is a strong finishing hole. At 542 yards it requires three good shots. The second shot is the key – get the ball safely to the flat landing area at bottom of the hill and short of the hazard where the fairway narrows. This still leaves a difficult uphill approach shot to the green.
The cluster of holes immediately behind the clubhouse – 10, 11, 17 and 18 would make a great loop in an evening.
The course was in great condition when I played in late August – the greens were perfect with subtle breaks that were hard to read.
Georgia National belongs to the ClubCorp family and is clustered with Sun City and Heron Bay. The bar and restaurant area has been updated recently and the clubhouse was packed out on Saturday afternoon which is great to see. Service was a bit slow. Not the most impressive clubhouse building from the outside but the view of the course from the back terrace is great.
Georgia National is located in McDonough, GA south east of Atlanta, just a few miles from I-75 and is definitely worth a visit. You can find more information here… clubcorp.com/Clubs/Heron-Bay-Georgia-National-Sun-City