Golf Instructor John Marshall can hit the golf ball a long way. While some "big hitters" are merely the product of boasting, John has the hardware to back it up. He won the American Long Drivers Association Super Senior National Championship in '05 And '06, and is a five-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship finalist.
These unconventional results come from a somewhat unconventional method. John has long used?and now teaches?a swing developed by legendary long driver Mike Austin, who once crushed a 515-yard drive at the 1974 U.S. Senior Open, the longest ever recorded in competition. As an instructor at Steel Canyon Golf Club, John illuminates the principles behind this swing that generate high club head speed without sacrificing accuracy. Lessons combine one-on-one coaching to help students get comfortable with the technique, which is likely a little different from the swing they're used to.
A golf getaway for clubbers of all abilities, The Georgia Trail encompasses a nine-hole executive course, an outdoor miniature-golf course, practice facilities, and a full-service dining area. The executive course traverses 2,254 yards of diverse terrain, where five par 3s beckon to players seeking their first hole-in-one, and four par 4s—including one that measures a relatively lengthy 436 yards—ensure that drivers' self-esteem won't deflate from a day of inactivity. A 2.5-acre lake and multiple streams and ponds loom near critical landing zones on all but three holes, placing a premium on pinpoint drives or 9-irons that double as snorkels. Alongside the course rests a 25-station, all-grass driving range, where players can hone their orb-blasting form before a round.
The Champions Trail putting course challenges players across a par 42 layout that emulates a full 18-hole course with hazards that include bunkers, fairways, rough, and out-of-bounds areas. Putt-putt posses roll orbs across lush synthetic grass, which deftly stands in for natural grass as its kempt hedges beckon to lonely lawn mowers. After a long day of driving, putting, and kicking balls across the multifaceted facility, guests can retreat to Augusta's Restaurant and look out over their conquered terrain as they enjoy entrees and drinks from the full-service bar.
Golfsmith's online and in-store showrooms house an almost endless list of golf gear for men, women, and children alike. Clubs, balls, and accessories from brands such as TaylorMade, MacGregor, and Callaway give players precise control over their game, and polos and long-sleeved shirts from Nike and Snake Eyes garb players in course-appropriate attire now that tuxedo T-shirts no longer qualify. Along with the extensive collection of equipment and golf bags, Golfsmith also carries GPS systems to give players a high-tech edge.
Owned and operated by accomplished golfers, Accelerized Golf at Heritage takes a high-tech approach to improving swings and scores. The instructors rely heavily on visuals, especially technology that makes finding flaws and analyzing the golf swing a much simpler process. One of those tools, called Hotlines, uses more than 20 virtual markers to track the different positions of a student's swing. Instead of sending the results to NASA for in-depth analysis, though, the equipment provides instant feedback so tweaks to swing mechanics can be integrated on the spot. Students reap the benefits of Accelerized Golf's accelerated process during single and group lessons, and can retain their improvements by practicing at the facility in between sessions.
Upon their arrival to Fairways of Canton Golf Club, golfers feast their eyes on the club’s bucolic 18-hole course as it unfurls across 6,515 yards of rolling terrain and scenic Georgia pines. The pristine par-72 course fosters aggressive drives into generous fairways, which lead to small bermuda-grass greens teeming with subtle slopes and trick holes that lead to another dimension in Space Jam. Dimpled orbs graze the stratosphere at the club’s practice facilities, which include a driving range, a putting green, a chipping area, and a sand bunker. Back muscles weary from a day of smashing drives or wrestling a gang of rogue golf carts can recess at the club’s onsite Canyon Grill, which slings sumptuous fare such as philly cheesesteaks, pizza margherita, and pasta with a choice of sauce.
Set amid hardwood trees, winding streams, and undulating terrain, Woodmont Golf Club showcases Georgia?s first golf course designed by renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The 18-hole, 6,830-yard course eases golfers into the round with a relatively open front nine, but also sports the course?s most difficult hole?the 470-yard, par-four eighth. Comprised of three par-fives, three par-fours, and three par-threes, the somewhat unorthodox back nine brings various ponds and streams into play, which golfers cross on elegant wooden bridges or the backs of caddies wearing floaties.
The layout concludes with three memorable finishing holes, including the 573-yard, par-five 16th hole, dubbed the course?s signature hole, which is intersected by a creek three times, demanding error-free drives and approaches. A short par-four, the 17th hole tests the killer instinct of golfers' short-irons with an approach shot that must carry water to reach a bowl-shaped green, while the 18th hole challenges golfers' resolve with a steep, uphill, 505-yard par-five.
Woodmont Golf Club complements its course with a driving range and a putting green, as well as a golf academy helmed by Don Butzin, a 48-year PGA member whose work has appeared in Golf Digest. In addition to their golf-centric facilities, Woodmont Golf Club encompasses ten clay and hard-surface tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools, and The Woodmont Bar & Grille, a dining venue with panoramic views of the first green for those who haven?t spoiled their appetites by discreetly blending a fairway smoothie while on the course.