Course Review: The National at Reynolds Lake Oconee (GA)

Reynolds Lake Oconee, National course rankings:
Golf.com: #5 Georgia public

Designer: Tom Fazio (2000, 2014)

During last month’s trip to Lake Oconee, Georgia, our first 27 holes were played on The National course. The National features three nine-hole tracks: The Ridge, Cove and Bluff. On most days, two of the nines are open while the third is being worked on – we were unfortunately not able to check out the Ridge course, but were very happy with what we found on the Bluff and Cove tracks.

Designed by Tom Fazio and debuted in 2000 (the third nine was added in 2014), the National at Reynolds Lake Oconee is the only 27-hole course on the property and, while it is not considered to be one of the two “premiere” tracks at Reynolds, I have been told it is the sure number three and from what we saw that’s for good reason: The nines are really well laid out and interesting, and Fazio’s layouts feature beautiful views, great shot quality and plenty of challenge.

We played the first tees in for all of our rounds in Lake Oconee, which made for a comfortable 6,593 yards for the Bluff/Cove combination at the National. Bluff/Cove is the longest combination of 18 holes on the premise, measuring 7,034 yards from the tips. The other two combinations are in the mid- to high-6,900’s.

Flying in to Atlanta, everybody’s flights were well timed so we didn’t have to wait more than 30 minutes for everyone to get their golf bags and then have Jeff, our trip planner, pick us up curbside in a massive white van. Even with eight guys’ luggage and golf bags, we fit in easily with room to spare, making for a comfortable hour and a half journey to Lake Oconee.

We arrived at the National more than an hour ahead of our tee time, and were all still wearing what we traveled in from Wisconsin during March – there were a lot of open van doors in the parking lot for us to change in to golf clothes since we were not yet able to check in to the condos.

Day one was the one suspect day of the trip weather-wise, and I chose long pants. I regretted that decision as the sun made for a more than comfortable golf experience.

A quick group shot before heading out for our first nine – we played a total of 91 holes in three days while at Reynolds Lake Oconee:

Group-IMG_6421

Jeff, me, Greg, Dan, Nick, Mitch, Mike and Justin on the first tee of The National, Bluff nine at Reynolds Lake Oconee

While the layout of the National course was very enjoyable, there was a big difference in conditioning here versus on the Oconee and Great Waters courses. Oconee and Great Waters, which are Reynolds Lake Oconee’s premiere tracks, were over-seeded during the early season to encourage more lush, green conditions, while the National and other courses on the property were allowed to grow in more naturally.

That should be great for the regular season, but for a bunch of guys from Wisconsin it made for conditions that were less spectacular (as a caveat, the conditions on the other two courses were phenomenal): Still dormant grass and slower, sometimes choppy putting surfaces. Being the first course we played on site, we had no complaints and it was a terrific warm-up round.

Now for a walk-through of the Bluff and Cove nines on Tom Fazio’s National course…

The sand traps down the right side of the fairway are definitely in play off the first tee, as is the treeline down the left side of the fairway. It’s a fairly straightforward opening hole, though, which is welcomed following all the travel it took to get there.

01-IMG_6418

The National, Bluff course hole 1: Par 4 (386/365/313/278)

The second hole on the Bluff course has an absolutely diabolical green. With a middle-right pin location, a few of us thought we had perfect approach shots. We all watched as our balls veered further and further right until they were all well off and below the green surface. This is a tough pin to get to.

01-IMG_6423

The National, Bluff course hole 2: Par 4 (384/364/336/297)

01-IMG_6426

The National, Bluff course hole 2: Par 4 (384/364/336/297)

A look at the green from behind:

01-IMG_6427

The National, Bluff course hole 2: Par 4 (384/364/336/297)

With a fairway bending right and then finishing slightly uphill, the third hole on the Bluff course urges players to try cutting the corner for a better angle in – I tried and hit the right-side fairway bunker, making for a much more challenging approach.

02-IMG_6429

The National, Bluff course hole 3: Par 5 (550/526/500/445)

02-IMG_6432

The National, Bluff course hole 3: Par 5 (550/526/500/445)

The uphill approach to the third green:

02-IMG_6434

The National, Bluff course hole 3: Par 5 (550/526/500/445)

The first of the par threes on the Bluff course, the fourth is a beautiful one-shotter abutting the shore of Lake Oconee. Playing around 165 yards from the #2 tees, I hit a club longer than normal and hit the back-left of the green, caroming right and catching the back slope to find its way back toward the hole. I had about a fifteen-footer left, which I nestled up for an easy three.

Even with 91 holes, I didn’t have a single birdie on the trip. Our group had quite a few overall, though, including two on par threes by Jeff during our first 18, and two by Greg on the first nine of day two at Great Waters. These guys were throwing darts!

03-IMG_6437

The National, Bluff course hole 4: Par 3 (173/165/137/132)

03-IMG_6441

The National, Bluff course hole 4: Par 3 (173/165/137/132)

Continue reading

2017: An Exciting New Year

With the new year comes exciting news and opportunities, both for the Seifert family (exciting news to come!) and for the WiscoGolfAddict site.

If you’re like me, this off-season has already gone on long enough. As I sit here writing, I find myself peering constantly toward the sixth hole tee box, whether to watch for coyotes or to envision it without the snow, slush and standing water that’s keeping me from going outside for a walk. I can’t wait to be on that tee box this Spring, aiming just right of St. Anthony’s steeple to bounce left and downhill, bounding green-ward.

I’ve got my new [for me] Mizuno JPX-850 forged irons arriving on Monday, and the golf bug is starting to get its hooks in me. Unfortunately, we’ve still got a bit of Winter left to get through here but I do have one trip to look forward to in March to Reynolds Plantation in Lake Oconee, Georgia.

Closer to home, 2017 is sure to be a thrilling year for Wisconsin golf with the epicenter of that excitement being June’s first ever US Open in Wisconsin at my beloved Erin Hills (less than 30 minutes away).

Tee Times Magazine recently published its first Wisconsin online issue, including several articles written by yours’ truly on a couple of wonderful Wisconsin businesses, Fore! Milwaukee and Ontal Corporate Golf Wellness.

I’d previously been providing articles for Tee Times Magazine’s print and online publication for Minnesota, including a fun piece on Sand Valley Golf Resort which will officially open its Coore/Crenshaw course to the public on May 2.

Tee Times Magazine, Wisconsin

Tee Times Magazine, Minnesota

WiscoGolfAddict will be featuring some talented up-and-coming guest writers this year, including Matt from TruGolf.com* and some great golf equipment reviews [and more] from my good buddy and equipment enthusiast, John. 

Matt’s first article with us, “How to Improve Your Mental Game,” is a foray in to staving off the negative affects of golf’s off-season, sharpening your mental game to ensure a strong start to the 2017 season.

John, a plus-handicapper and fellow member of North Hills Country Club, has the new Callaway Epic driver en route and I can’t wait to hear more about it. You may remember him as the guy who beat me on his final swing for the long drive championship last year:

PS Final Round Cap

North Hills Country Club 2nd Annual Long Drive Competition

John and I will also be partnering up for the 2017 US Golf Classic, a $50,000 winner-takes-all two-man best ball tournament with May 19 state qualifiers (Wisconsin’s qualifier, limited to 50 teams, will be held at Hawk’s View in Lake Geneva). I’ll have more info on the event coming soon, including a registration code for my readers to take advantage of early sign-up.

My beloved North Hills Country Club will have another new member promotion this year, too, as the club zeroes in on its goal of 300 golfing members. I had four referrals join last year, and another seven who signed up after reading about it on my site but never mentioned me as their referrer until we met on the course. Not at all salty about that 🙂

Keep tuned in this year for terrific new content on everything golf: The course reviews you’ve come to expect and love, the 4-1-1 on exciting new gear, insight in to golf strategy and the mental game, a little creative writing and more.

From my family to yours, we wish a happy and healthy New Year to all our loyal readers.

Paul

 

* More on Matt:

Matt is an avid golf enthusiast and part of the TruGolf.com team. When he’s not working on his fairway shot, you will find Matt writing about his passion for the process of the game.

TruGolf.com
facebook.com/TruGolfSimulators
twitter.com/TruGolfSim
youtube.com/user/trugolf