Surrounded by the majestic Cumberland Mountains, Goose Pond Colony’s 36 golf holes share the banks of Lake Guntersville with cozy cottages, a campground, and a full-service marina. The Colony Course, designed by renowned course architect George Cobb and opened in 1971, stretches 7,100 yards across a peninsula that juts out into the lake, a water-laden layout that will host the 2013 NJCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship. Players can see water from each of the course’s 18 holes, in the form of the surrounding lake, the two large inland ponds, and the sweat pouring out of overworked golf carts. Meanwhile, the slightly shorter Plantation Course is reached after a short ride north on State Route 79 and challenges players with its open fairways and bentgrass greens.
Goose Pond Colony’s proximity to a 69,200-acre waterway affords ample opportunities for recreational activities aside from golf, including boating, fishing, and paddleboarding. After a day spent reeling in largemouth bass, catfish, and wayward golf balls out of the lake, weary competitors can retire to The Docks Restaurant for soups, salads, and seafood.
Colony Course at a Glance:
Plantation Course at a Glance:
Designed by prolific course architect Gene Bates, the 18-hole, 6,734-yard Twin Bridges Golf Club course bobs and weaves around the Coosa River and its surrounding waterways, forcing golfers to avoid hazards on 11 holes. But the most challenging hole—the 554-yard 5th hole, a par 5—showcases another course challenge: bunkers. The sand traps at 5 pinch the fairway at three different places, shrinking landing zones for drives and second shots and proving that water isn’t the only cause for concern on the course. Twin Bridges also boasts a driving range with a practice bunker and an 8,000 square-foot putting green, where golfers can get a feel for the speed of the course’s bent-grass putting surfaces.
Certified as a Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International, Twin Bridges works to preserve its scenic setting through natural resource conservation, providing habitats for area wildlife, and building vacation homes for migratory birds.
Course at a Glance:
Golfers familiar with Callier Springs Country Club’s 9-hole course may have noticed something peculiar about the course’s water hazards: even during severe droughts, their water level hardly changes. That’s because—true to the club’s name—the waterways are fed by a system of active springs so plentiful that they once fueled the clubhouse, pool, 30 area homes, and too many toasters to count. Originally built in 1939, the course—which measures 3,146 yards from the farthest tees—was once a grassy lure for celebrity duffers such as Dean Martin and Andy Williams. Golfers can walk in their rarefied footsteps as they attempt to keep their orbs and golf carts from straying into the course’s meddlesome waterways.
Running alongside the Chickamauga Battlefield and National Park, Battlefield Golf Club's scenic fairways meander through forests and ponds for a fun, relaxing day of driving. The third hole tests golfers with an early challenge, skirting a pond that consumes misaimed balls and provides a convenient spying spot for FBI-employed swamp things. Hole seven's sunken green amps up putting difficulty while the 14th hole delves into shady woodland. After rounds, a newly renovated clubhouse ensconces guests in postgame comfort, with lounges, a restaurant, and fully stocked pro shop. Guests are asked to wear golf attire when on the course, maintaining decorum and preventing awkward encounters between golfers dressed as golf carts.
Heritage Golf continues the tradition of the Scots with a par 71 scenic course nestled between stately mountains in Blount County. Invite a friend or friend-sized golf club on an 18-hole excursion aboard a friendly golf cart to tackle the course's flat terrain and 113-slope rating. Open fairways offer views of the North Alabama countryside while multiple natural creeks interact with play and occasionally produce mermen willing to caddie in return for a single lock of human hair. Golfers of any skill level can find a challenge putting on bentgrass greens and driving over Bermuda fairways before retiring to the full-service grill, where hot and cold comestibles are available for purchase. Denim is asked to remain on the ranch, but collared shirts are welcome, provided pants accompany them.
Having hosted the Georgia Open, as well as receiving a 4.5-star rating from Golf Digest, The Frog Golf Club showcases some of Georgia's most luxurious links. Designed by legendary golf course architect Tom Fazio, The Frog Golf Club boasts 18 holes of immaculately maintained bent-grass greens and expansive bunkers, as well as a dedicated commitment to maintaining environmental stewardship over the grounds as evidenced by an Audobon Cooperative Sanctuary certification. Plaid-panted partners can practice their short game as they buzz around the grounds on a golf cart, scoping out sloping fairways and keeping walking legs spry for double-bogey boogies. Driving duos also get access to the club's range, where players can warm up their shoulders by clubbing balls off tottering tees before cooling their gullets with a drink at the nearby Frog Grill.
A slim parcel of grass, only wide enough to walk across, is the only thing preventing Creekside Golf and Country Club’s signature 18th hole from being considered a true island. The par 5 hole’s isolated bentgrass green presents a spectacular finish for golfers after they conquer the Richard Mandell-designed course, which challenges players with eight fairways split by a stream and myriad design obstacles. As difficult as the final hole is, it still doesn’t rank as the course’s hardest—that honor that belongs to the 14th hole, a lengthy monolith whose green is guarded by a creek, three bunkers, two trees, and Hades's erratic caddy, Cerberus. Before traversing the undulating fairways, golfers can warm up at the club’s driving range and putting green. They can also fuel up at the bar and grill or drop into the pro shop to replace any balls with defunct water wings. Whether digging up divots at the range or on the course, all players must leave their denim at home and wear collared shirts, making sure to conceal the screws that attach their heads to their bodies. Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,700 yards * Course rating of 71.5 * Slope rating of 134 * Four tee options * See the scorecard and take a course tour