My Quest to Check Off Golf's Best Experiences
The Golf Bucket List
What a fun day at Peachtree. The members have a great golf course to enjoy here. Bring comfortable walking shoes, as this one is very up-and-down with hills everywhere. With that said, this course was designed with walking in mind, with manageable walks between holes. Thanks so much to our hosts for a great day. You probably know who you are!
#12, Par 4, 431 Yards
#11, Par 3, 180 Yards
Once you turn the corner of this sharp dogleg, you must be cognizant of the large bunker short of the green. Chance are that you'll want to lay up short of it.
April 8, 2013 was quite a day, and it also presented quite a sports dilemma! For those with a good knowledge of each year's sports calendar, you'll know the first weekend of April as the weekend that hosts the Final Four each year. Well, in 2013, my alma mater made the Final Four, and the stars aligned correctly, such that I was able to obtain tickets and make the trip. April 6th was the National Semifinals, and my team advanced, so that meant we had all of Sunday and basically all of Monday in kill in Atlanta, with tipoff on Monday evening not until after 9 PM. So, what to do? Well, Sunday wasn't much of a decision. I asked a friend to recommend a decent public track around Atlanta, and was given a few names. The most convenient to where I was staying was Cobblestone Golf Course, a municipal course in the Atlanta suburb of Acworth. This webpage isn't here to talk about Cobblestone, but if you're curious, I would definitely recommend it. Excellent value and a really cool design that weaves its away around Lake Acworth.
So that brings us to Monday. As the sports fan would know, there is a small golf tournament each year the weekend after the Final Four. With the Final Four in Atlanta, that tournament happened to be about 2.5 hours down the road. So, here's the conundrum: Choice 1: Head out at the crack of dawn and try to score tickets to the Monday Practice Round of The Masters, and then leave in time to make it back to the Georgia Dome in time for the National Championship game. or, Choice 2: Maybe I can check a course off the bucket list? With the Masters in the area, and patrons coming in from all over the world who would be trying to play the state's best courses, I thought it would be a 1 in a million chance to get on one of the well-known tracks in Atlanta. Assuming this was a lost cause, I began researching the trip to Augusta. However, before I got the chance to dig too deep into the planning, I learned that I had a Noon tee time at Peachtree on Monday.....stars had aligned!
Peachtree is one of those classic old clubs that does its own thing. This couldn't be more evident that the first thing you see from the road (above). If you're a member at Peachtree, you don't need any sign telling you where the entrance is. "Private Drive" says it all, and yes, I passed it and had to turn around! Not only does this sign tell you something about the feel of the club, but also how lucky I was to be there. I've heard that Peachtree is one of the harder nuts in the Top 100 to crack. I was told there are around 25 members at Peachtree that are also members at that other club down the road that was hosting The Masters, so this is a well connected membership, and one that doesn't need to flaunt the quality of its course. And what a course it has!
Peachtree was the brainchild of Bobby Jones. He had already built Augusta National with the help of Alister MacKenzie in 1933. However, Augusta is a national club, with few local members, and Bobby Jones was no different. While Atlanta isn't far from Augusta, he still needed clubs to play in Atlanta. East Lake was his most well known stomping grounds, but Bobby was beginning to get fed up with the pace of play at East Lake, and in 1947, finally had had enough and vowed to break ground on a country club in Atlanta that would be it's version of August National. With this, Peachtree was born.
Since Dr. MacKenzie had died in 1934, Jones needed to find another designer to work with on Peachtree. He enlisted the services of Robert Trent Jones. While Robert Trent Jones had designed a dozen or so courses, Peachtree was his first major assignment, and it would probably be fair to say that it kick-started his career.
While Robert Trent Jones was involved in the design, there are still many features that remind me of Augusta National. I certainly haven't played Augusta National yet, so I can't compare and contrast by experience, but haven't seen it on TV so many times, there were still times when I thought I was looking at the gorgeous, large, rounded bunkers, or the beautiful stone bridges, or the steep hills and tricky greens.
So, off we go. Peachtree has four sets of tees. The tips play from 7,414 yards, so that certainly wasn't going to happen, especially since this was April, and I am a northern golfer who had way too much rust. The next set of tees up are the Medal tees, which measure 6,659 yards, and play to a par of 72 (Rating/Slope 72.6/134). This seemed about right, and I'll quote those distances below.
#18, Par 4, 394 Yards
If you're walking Peachtree, the finishing holes aren't for the "out-of-shape." The second shot on #16, and all of #17 and #18 play up hill! The 18th is a strong finish with a fairway bunker protruding from the left side of the fairway and three bunkers guarding the front of the green. Being an uphill approach, bring plenty of club to avoid the traps and carry all the way onto the putting surface.
#16, Par 5, 510 Yards
#17, Par 4, 391 Yards
#14, Par 3, 167 Yards
#13, Par 4, 385 Yards
A blind tee shot, but relatively speaking, this hole is a breather after the tough 12th. Two greenside bunkers guard the front and right of this green.
#10, Par 5, 503 Yards
#8, Par 4, 363 Yards
#9, Par 4, 382 Yards
#7, Par 4, 423 Yards
#6, Par 3, 194 Yards
#5, Par 5, 520 Yards
#4, Par 3, 142 Yards.
#3, Par 4, 382 Yards
#2, Par 5, 511 Yards
This was probably my favorite hole at Peachtree. Such a cool par 5. The drive wasn't terribly demanding, but the approach into the green gave many options, and the ability to make a birdie or less if you want to take on some risk. The approach to this huge green is downhill and with water guarding the front and to the right of the hole. Left of the green presents a very difficult up and down to a very difficult green and slopes back to the water, so it is by no means a safe bailout area.
The first hole at Peachtree is a fun dogleg right hole that eases you into what you're going to see for the rest of the day. That is, big bunkers that must be avoided, sloping fairways, and fast tricky greens. The bunkers on the right of the fairway can be carried with a good drive, or you can stay left of them if you're not ready to take such an aggressive line on the first tee. The third picture below shows a bit of the slopes that you'll face into some of these greens.