Reynolds Plantation Takes Rightful Place of America’s Great Golf Resorts

There are a number of rewards that come with embracing the golfing lifestyle. At the top of the

list is golf travel.

Seeing the country while playing the game of golf provides a never-ending treasure of rich

memories. And those memories reach the highest level when visiting one of the great golf resorts of

America.

There are a number of heralded resorts that offer all of the elements – multiple great golf layouts

on one site, a variety of accommodations that range from comfortable to luxurious, outstanding

restaurants, and plenty of other activities to fill the hours not spent on the golf course.

The names roll off the tongue – Pinehurst, Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, Palmetto Dunes

on Hilton Head Island, Doral and Innisbrook in Florida, Pebble Beach, Whistling Straits. The mere

mention of these places transports golfers into daydream mode, and plants the seed for plans that

will result in the next great golf trip.

Reynolds Plantation, in the lake country of Georgia – about 75 miles northeast of Atlanta – is

one of those properties. In fact, after considering all of the factors, it might be at the top of the list.

Reynolds Plantation is a 10,000 acre collection of properties and golf courses developed along

the picturesque shores of Georgia’s massive Lake Oconee. It is conveniently close enough to Atlanta,

and all of its travel connections, despite seemingly being light years away from all of the hustle and

bustle.

Twenty years ago it was a little known upstart of a golf resort that was tucked away in a very rural

part of the Georgia countryside. With the addition of golf courses, a variety of accommodations,

residential properties and acclaimed restaurants, it has grown into one of the most special golf

locations in the country.

Of course, when talking about world-class golf resorts, every discussion must begin with the

quality of the golf courses. Reynolds offers 99 holes of golf open to the public – plus another

outstanding 18-hole private layout – all within the confines of the property. It is the ultimate

combination of convenience and excellence.

“You would be hard-pressed to find this combination of outstanding golf and accommodations

on one property anywhere in the world,” says Mark Lammi, director of golf operations at Reynolds

Plantation. “Plus, with the variety of great golf courses, designed by great golf architects, you could

play here for the rest of your life and never get bored.”

Lammi, a native of Easton, Pennsylvania, knows all about the attraction that Reynolds Plantation

poses to golfers from the North. He studied the golf industry in the Penn State Professional Golf

Management Program and it didn’t take long for him to decide that his golf future was on the shores

of Lake Oconee.

“Once you make the move to Georgia’s lake country, you get stuck here,” Lammi admitted. The

golf is the first attraction. Everything else solidifies the decision.”

The first golf course that started drawing attention to Reynolds Plantation was the Plantation

Course – designed by Bob Cupp, with collaboration from famed professional golfers Fuzzy Zoeller

and Hubert Green. It opened in 1988 and immediately shined the spotlight on Reynolds Plantation.

The Plantation Course used the rolling hills of the interesting natural terrain and combined it

with vistas of beautiful Lake Oconee. The fairways were cut from among the towering pine trees and

the layout demands shotmaking skills from the golfers. It is the shortest of all courses at Reynolds

and is appealing to players of all skill levels.

Another Bob Cupp design, The Landing, actually predates the Plantation Course. At the time

of its opening, in 1986, it was known as Port Armor and stood as one of the more difficult courses in

Georgia. It was later purchased, the name was changed, and it was added to the Reynolds Plantation

collection.

The Great Waters Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature design, opened in 1992. It features the

most holes (nine) directly on the shores of Lake Oconee of any course at Reynolds Plantation and

immediately achieved a national reputation.

A renovation of the green complexes and the bunkering in 2009 enhanced the quality of the

Great Waters Course. It recently was chosen to host the first-ever Big Break Invitational, a 72-hole

made-for-television tournament that featured a select field of 40 past champions from the Big Break

television show. It was televised live on The Golf Channel.

The National Course opened in 1997, featuring 18 holes of natural beauty designed by Tom

Fazio. An additional nine holes were added in 2000. Fazio made use of impressive elevations, as well

as some inspirational vistas of Lake Oconee to create an unforgettable experience.

Dense forests of hardwoods, pines and flowering wild dogwoods provide the backdrop to some

of Lake Oconee’s most dramatic lakefront topography. An extensive renovation in 2014 included

converting the greens to Champion Bermuda.

Rees Jones joined the all-star team of golf course architects at Reynolds Plantation in 2002, with

the opening of his Oconee Course. Again, much of the lake comes into play on this challenging

layout, but Jones added some additional dramatic features.

The Oconee Course is an idyllic sanctuary, providing a pure, undisturbed setting for golf. Jones

added a series of small waterfalls, flowing from greenside creeks, that enhance the beauty at the same

time they increase the difficulty. The finishing three holes are an unforgettable crescendo to the trip

around the Oconee Course.

The Creek Club, designed by architect Jim Engh, opened in 2007 and provided a private course

for both residents and visitors to Reynolds Plantation. It is a stark contrast to the rest of the courses

at Reynolds Plantation, with

distinctive bunkering and a more rugged

look to the entire layout.

That assortment of world-class golf at

Reynolds Plantation should be enough to

attract avid golfers from around the world.

But there is plenty more to the vacation and permanent lifestyle at Reynolds Plantation that has

quickly made it so attractive.

The vacation options range from the highly rated Ritz Carlton Lodge – a relaxed version of

the luxury that has become attached to the hotel chain’s reputation – to an assortment of cottage

options.

There are 2, 3, 4 and 6-bedroom cottages and houses available for rent though the main office

at Reynolds Plantation. All offer the lakeside charm and convenience that enhance a visit of any

duration.

One phenomenon that has been a noticeable part of the vacation growth at Reynolds Plantation

over the years is the fact that some of the vacationers don’t want to leave. In fact, a growing community

of part-time and full-time residents has evolved along the shores of Lake Oconee. As a result more

amenities in the way of shopping, dining and services have developed in the surrounding areas.

Speaking of dining, the evolution of the culinary scene at Reynolds Plantation has attracted

national attention in recent years.

There is a great variety of restaurants on property. The Plantation Grille is the comfortable and

casual “neighborhood” gathering spot that features nightly specials. The Landing Restaurant has

signature dishes such as the “Nothing but Crab” Cake, Fish & Chips, and a down-home meatloaf.

The Overlook at Great Waters is a second-floor dining room with huge glass windows that provide

spectacular views of Lake Oconee. It features fine dining without exorbitant resort prices. Georgia’s

Bistro specializes in local cuisine that capitalizes on seasonally fresh ingredients from local farmers.

The Linger Longer Steakhouse in the Oconee Clubhouse is operated by the Ritz Carlton and

offers high-end steaks and an extensive wine list. Another Ritz restaurant is Gaby’s by the Lake –

outdoor dining with a charming lake view. It features a quality modern menu for “come as you are”

dining.

Once visitors are fed, rested and entertained by the great golf courses of the Reynolds Plantation

property, they might be motivated to improve their golf games.

One way is by spending a few days with Top 100 instructor Charlie King and his staff at

the Reynolds Golf Academy. King is known for his philosophy that does not re-make the golf

swing from scratch, but attempts to improve the game of the golfer within their particular physical

limitations. His approach is popular with golfers of all ages.

Or, golfers might turn to a technological approach to improving their game. That can be achieved

with a visit to the Kingdom at Reynolds Plantation. This TaylorMade-operated facility originally

only was available to PGA Tour professionals. Now it offers an unmatched custom golf club fitting

experience for all ages and skill levels. Add the TaylorMade Putting Lab and the Kingdom brings the

ultimate in technology to the masses.

Need something more to convince you of the quality of recreational life at Reynolds Plantation?

There is great fishing, boating, tennis, hiking – or just relaxing in a hammock and enjoying the

natural beauty of the Lake Oconee area. Put everything together and it becomes quite evident why

Reynolds Plantation has skyrocketed to the top of the list of great golf resorts in America.