Looking back at my history of rounds in Georgia, I’ve only played at Heron Bay in Locust Grove, GA once a year since first visiting in 2011. I really should play here more often as it’s a great course. The Cole Reservoir behind the 4th and 12th greens makes for spectacular views at any time of year. The sculptured bunkers around the greens are a common design feature along with the creeks that cross fairways in front of greens to keep things interesting especially on the longer par 4’s.
Designed by Jeff Burton (who had a hand in designing a number of other courses in the area including Planterra Ridge in Peachtree City and SummerGrove in Newnan), Heron Bay opened in 2004 and plays 7300 yards from the tips.
I played from the member tees, 6547 yards with a rating of 71.6 and slope of 133. The back nine is more than 200 yards longer than the front side. Heron Bay is a longer course than nearby Georgia National but doesn’t play that way.
The first two holes ease you into the round with wide fairways and straight layout before things get more interesting. The 170 yard (all distance from member tees) 3rd is a the most difficult of the par 3’s with water hugging the right side of the green and a bunker to the left.
The 4th is the first of the long par 4’s (417 yards) and has the tee box set well back. At the green you get the first views of the Cole Reservoir.
The 490 yard 5th is the first par 5 and the number 1 handicap hole. The large lake in front of the green needs to be considered when playing your second shot and on approach to green especially if the pin is on the left.
The 350 yard, par 4, 8th is one of my favorite holes and a great chance for a birdie. May not need driver offf the tee – avoid bunkers on right and stay short of the creek in front of the green. Green is elevated and surrounded by bunkers.
The 9th is a great par 5 to complete the front nine. 520 yards long with a creek of the left which crosses diagonally in front of the green.
The long par 4’s on the back nine make this side more challenging. The 430 yard, par 4, 10th gets things started. Unless you hit a great tee shot you may have to lay up short of the creek that crosses the fairway short of the green.
The 11th is a short par 4 (332 yards) that plays downhill from the tee. Make sure you get safely on to the elevated green with your approach as it’s easy to be just short and see your ball roll back down into the hazard.
The par 5, 12th is a longer version of the 4th hole but gives better view of the Cole Reservoir as you approach the green.
The 16th is a 515 yards, par 5, with a blind second shot and numerous bunkers on the left hand side of the fairway approaching the green.
The 18th is a tough finish. 412 yard, par 4, with another creek and bunkers short of the green.
I believe the bentgrass greens here suffered in the heat this summer but following aerification in September have come back in nicely. On this visit the greens had been heavily watered and the run off caused soft and muddy conditions on the slopes in front of many greens.
The clubhouse has not yet received the ClubCorp updates that many others in the area have had. The bar / restaurant area is unchanged from Canongate days – only one TV at the far end of the dining room. Menu is unfortunately the same as all of the Atlanta area ClubCorp courses – quick to order but a bit boring!
The course is in Locust Grove, GA about 37 miles south of Atlanta and approx 6 miles from I-75. You can find more information about the club at www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/Heron-Bay-Georgia-National-Sun-City/Golf