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Locke

Is golf in Atlanta as bad as everyone says?

9 posts in this topic

Hi,

I imagine this question would sound strange anywhere other than a forum full of golfers... My wife really wants to move to Atlanta from Wichita for a role change within her company, however I'm worried about how this will impact my newfound obsession with golf.

She would be working inside the perimeter as its called... near the GP Building so I'm guessing in order to have a decent commute we're looking at living in downtown.

I searched these forums for everything "atlanta" and "georgia" and got a lot of negative feedback. To summarize:
  • Its expensive - $50+/round on weekends
  • Its crowded - tee times are difficult, plauged with slow play
  • The best courses are country clubs (initiation fee probably puts them out of reach)
  • The best country clubs are invite only anyway
  • Traffic makes driving to the courses tedious, esp driving from downtown

So is this accurate? In Wichita I'm ~20 minutes away from 8-10 courses, sub $40 fees and rarely a need to make tee times. Am I in for golf heartbreak in Atlanta?
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I hate to say it, but the average family income in ATL is probably higher than that in Wichita. Thats probably why the rates are higher. If they are always full, then that also means people can afford to play. I would do a search for a group of country clubs that work together. For instance, Hampton Golf Clubs here in Jax have 3 courses and their members can play all 3 anytime.
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It's not as bad as you've heard. There are plenty of public courses in Atl and plenty of bargains too. Living in down town will naturally present it's own set of problems, but living in a big city like that is pretty cool too (I think everyone should live for a while in or near a big city, the vaired culture and stuff to do alone is worth the agrivation). Also remember that here in Georgia we can play golf all year long.
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It's pretty bad. I was down there in ATL for a year, and found a difficult time finding an affordable green fee (>$50) for a quality, well kept course. All the well kept courses within 40 min of the perimeter are well over $50. There are only a small handful of courses that are in decent shape that can be played for $50ish.
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Wow. $50 for a weekend tee time is good. Hawaiis not so bad but NY (where im from) IS TERRIBLE
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Really, having to pay $10 more per weekend to play golf is a bad reason to turn down a better job, and better locale . Even if you played every weekend, 50 times a year, which you cannot do in Kansas, it's only 500 bucks.
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My hometown...

I think the golf is actually pretty good in metro ATL (and the restaurants are FANTASTIC -- great town to get a bite!). However, other posts are correct that there's not a lot of decent cheap golf courses around; and yes, most of the better public (and private) tracks are way out in the suburbs--although i don't think that's necessarily that different from most other big cities. However, with the bad economy, there are lots of online specials run by courses, especially if you can sneak out on a weekday. Check out golfnow.com for examples if you'd like. There are also dirt cheap private memberships available, including the Canongate group, which allows you to play from a large number of courses.

In terms of where you live, if you don't have kids then living in town is OK, but if you do have kids unless you're planning on private schools i wouldn't recommend it! Btw, ATL traffic unfortunately will probably be a big shocker to you coming from Wichita...as perhaps might be the elevation changes at many ATL courses compared to the Midwest!

So...

My favorite ATL public courses:

1. Bear's Best (my home course, way up in northeast 'burbs; pricey, but excellent layout and conditions; optional forecaddies as well; feels more like a private club experience)
2. St. Marlo C.C. - usually very good conditions; real estate and the "feel" of the course remind me of TPC Sugarloaf (which is private; used to have the AT&T; classic there before it dropped off the schedule); used to be expensive but great deals can be had online;
3. Stone Mountain G.C. - i like the Stonemont course better than the more scenic Lakemont; usually very inexpensive, and both courses due to the park are incredibly scenic; conditions usually are good now that it's run by Marriott Golf.

It sounds like you're more of a beginner, and there ARE some in-town (and even cheaper) options:

1. Charlie Yates - i guess technically an "executive" course, but by no means a pitch & putt (i believe the 7th hole is a 200+ yd par 3 guarded by water, and there are a bunch of par 4's too); course is right next to East Lake, build as part of a community rebuilding project (not the nicest neighborhood); haven't played there in years, but conditions used to be great, as were the practice facilities
2. North Fulton GC - run by American Golf; decent track, not expensive, although conditions are 50-50 and there's no driving range
3. Bobby Jones GC - similar to N.Fulton

Also, you'll get to experience the PGA Tour Superstores, which to me has been the biggest & most amazing golf store you might ever see in terms of selection, hitting bays/instruction, etc, as well as great deals!
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My hometown...

Thanks for this! This is exactly the type of reply I was looking for.

I appreciate all the replies actually. I probably should have been clearer in my original post that I've spent 3 years in Tampa, FL which is the biggest metro I've lived in. To me the traffic was absolutely insane so I think thats my biggest worry about Atlanta. Sure you can play year round, but if the traffic means you can only play Saturdays I''ll probably end up playing less overall due to other activities that compete for Saturday time. It sounds like I really need to get a local real estate golfer type and think hard about where to live. I'm hearing location, location, location in the replies. We dont have kids but maybe downtown isnt the best choice. At this point it sounds like we're headed that way. Like one of the posters said its hard to pass up promotions and increases in pay in this economy despite the higher cost of living.
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If looking to live in town as a couple without kids (still probably not "downtown"--very few live there actually), the best areas are probably Virginia-Highlands or Midtown. The good news about golf commuting is that you'll almost always be heading the opposite direction of work traffic. And those areas are actually pretty short drives to Stone Mtn, Charlie Yates, N.Fulton, and Bobby Jones.

If you're really committed to golf, and especially if you're living in-town, definitely check out the Canongate group ( www.canongategolf.com ) if you think you can leverage a private membership from your wife as payback for the move! At least last year they were offering absurdly low (at least for ATL) membership rates, and you get to play from a number of nice courses (i hearmost are nice anyway, haven't played them). And ATL's development has been especially rapid to the north; where a lot of the Canongate member courses are south and may be an easier drive.
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