GREAT WATERS at REYNOLDS PLANTATION
Course Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Year Opened: 1992
Location: Greensboro, Georgia
Slope: 133. Rating: 73.6
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 409 Yds 10 - Par 4 409 Yds
2 - Par 5 507 Yds 11 - Par 4 349 Yds
3 - Par 4 432 Yds 12 - Par 5 559 Yds
4 - Par 3 186 Yds 13 - Par 4 434 Yds
5 - Par 4 422 Yds 14 - Par 3 186 Yds
6 - Par 5 522 Yds 15 - Par 4 416 Yds
7 - Par 4 466 Yds 16 - Par 4 457 Yds
8 - Par 3 223 Yds 17 - Par 3 164 Yds
9 - Par 4 392 Yds 18 - Par 5 540 Yds
Par 36 3,559 Yds Par 36 3,514 Yds
Key Events Held: Andersen Consulting World Match Play Championship (1995-97),
PGA Professional National Championship (2008).
Awards Won: Ranked #41 - Top-100 Courses You Can Play - Golf Magazine (2006),
#3 Best Public-Access Courses (Georgia) - Golfweek (2005-06),
Rated 4 1/2 Stars - Best Places to Play - Golf Digest (2006),
#11 Best-in-State Rankings (Georgia) - Golf Digest (2005),
Top-40 real estate courses in the US - Golf & Travel Magazine,
One of the Ten Best New Courses in the US - Golf Magazine.
HISTORY: The second of five courses built at Reynolds Plantation, the Great
Waters Course was crafted by legendary golfer and world-class architect Jack
Nicklaus. The Golden Bear, with courses like Muirfield Village, Shoal Creek,
Castle Pines and Desert Highlands to his credit, was given the task of
creating a signature course. Upon his first visit to the area, Nicklaus
commented that "It's one of the really great pieces of property that I've ever
had the opportunity to work with."
Nicklaus used the natural terrain of the land, as he crafted two separate and
distinct sets of holes, nine beauties along Lake Oconee and nine tree-lined
gems. After opening in the fall of 1992, Golf Magazine rated the course as one
of the Ten Best New Courses in the United States.
From 1995 through 1997, the Great Waters Course hosted the United States
region of the Andersen Consulting World Match Play Championship. This event
was the precursor of the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship held annually
In '95, Mark McCumber defeated Loren Roberts, 2-up to advance to the next
round, while in 1996, Scott Hoch knocked off Lee Janzen, 3 & 1. Prior to the
finals, Hoch defeated Tom Lehman and McCumber. Hoch reached the championship
match of the tournament, however he lost to Greg Norman in the finals. The
1997 event saw Davis Love III defeat Corey Pavin, Lehman and Phil Mickelson,
as he advanced to the main event. Love III also reached the championship
match, but lost to Colin Montgomerie.
REVIEW: Nicklaus eases you into the round with a modest opening hole of 409
yards. Playing slightly downhill, the key off the tee is avoiding the two
bunkers down the right side of the landing area. Any ball left will feed down
toward the center of the fairway. From there, just a short iron remains to a
kidney-shaped green with one bunker on the right. This tree-lined opener is a
perfect way to start the day.
A classic Nicklaus risk-reward hole, the second is a reachable, downhill par
five just 507 yards in length. From the back tees, play down the left side to
set up the best angle to the putting surface. The green is tucked behind a
pond on the right, so when the flag is back and in the corner, this becomes
quite an imposing shot. If you're not that bold, lay up short and left, as
this will leave a simple pitch to a two-tiered wide green. This hole can be
had with birdie, but worse case scenario, par.
The meat of the front nine really begins on the third, a robust, dogleg left
par four, stretching 432 yards from the tips. Two fairway bunkers protect the
corner of the dogleg and must be avoided at all costs, as the second shot
plays uphill to the green. Even with a solid tee ball, a medium iron will
remain to a two-tiered putting surface with a pair of traps on the left. A pin
in the back-left quadrant will be quite difficult to get at, so play towards
the center of the green and two-putt for par.
The first of four brilliant par threes, the fourth is a downhill gem with
sand, water and a tricky putting surface. A medium iron must negotiate the
creek running in front of the green, not to mention a bunker. The green slopes
from back to front with a ridge in the rear. Any shot long and left will be a
difficult up-and-down with a back-right flag, especially if you land in the
back bunker. Club selection will decide your fate.
A severe dogleg left, the par-four fifth is the third most difficult hole on
the course. The aforementioned creek wreaks havoc on this scenic beauty,
running down the left side and then fronting the green. Although not very long
at 422 yards, the first obstacle is the tee shot. A shoot of trees makes for a
narrow look towards the fairway, but once through, the landing area is quite
wide. The key is to play down the left side, as to shorten up your second shot
to the green. A medium to short iron will remain to a multi-tiered green
fronted by rock wall and the bubbly. A back-right pin could be real tricky,
especially if the wind is up.
The No. 1 handicap hole, the sixth is a solid par five that bends slightly to
the left. Play off the tee should be down the right side, as the fairway tends
to kick balls to the left. A successful tee ball can leave an opportunity to
reach the slightly downhill green in two. A series of traps is the key to
getting home, avoiding them, that is. One trap in the center of the fairway,
70 yards from the green is the real obstacle. Your approach needs to favor the
right, as three traps stand tall on the left side near the putting surface.
The green is quite long, at 40 paces deep and is quite undulating. Yes, birdie
is a real possibility, but don't be disappointed with par.
The longest par four on the course, the seventh is 466 yards from the gold
tees and plays every bit of its length. Although it has a generous fairway,
this tree-lined bender to the left possesses a tough bunker down the left
side of the landing area. A mid to long iron will remain to a very difficult
green that features a chipping area, short, left and deep. Back left or right
pin positions are the most difficult, especially right where a bunker comes
into play. A tough hole to mark par, let alone bogey.
A straight forward par three, the eighth is the longest of the group at 223
yards from the tips. A long iron or fairway metal will be needed just to have
any chance of getting home. What makes this hole even more difficult is the
size of the green that reaches 45 yards in length. The putting surface is also
slick and undulating with a deep ridge in the center. This is just one of two
holes on the course without sand.
The closing hole on the outward nine could be a finishing hole on most
courses. Once again, it's the tee shot that sets up the hole. Playing downhill
towards the green, your opening play must favor the right, as a 20-yard bunker
covers the left. A big tee ball will catch the slope of the fairway and run
down towards Lake Oconee which fronts the green. Just a short iron will
remain, however it will be from a downhill lie, not an easy shot when water
comes into play. The putting surface is quite small, so bailing out left is
not such a bad idea. This green can be a big challenge, especially when the
pin is back-right and the wind is up.
The first hole on this spectacular back nine, the 10th is a straightaway,
uphill par four. The object is to avoid the pair of fairway traps that just
out in the landing area on the right side, about 230 yards from the tee. Trees
guard both sides of the fairway, making this a very difficult driving hole.
Just a mid to short iron remains to a well-guarded green. The putting surface
features a large slope in the center, as it falls hard to the left and right.
Just 24 paces deep, the green is tough to hit, especially with a back-left pin
behind the trap.
Number 11 is the first of eight straight holes where water comes into play.
With Lake Oconee in the backdrop, this downhill par four is a beaute. Only 349
yards in length, the key here is deciding what to do off the tee. The fairway
is quite wide for a three-metal or less, with a higher landing area to the
left. That's the smart play, as this will set up just a wedge to a very narrow
green. The go-for-broke play is with driver down the right side where the
landing area is just 15 paces wide. A 50-yard long trap plays buffer between
the water and the tight landing area. Did I forget to mention that the lake
juts out into the hole at the 260-yard mark? The putting surface is as long as
it is narrow - 41 yards wide, but just 10-15 paces deep. A diabolical pin is
back-left by the water's edge with three traps guarding the corner of the
putting surface. Another signature hole at Great Waters.
Twelve is a very difficult, dogleg left, uphill par five that is the longest
hole on the course at 559 yards from the tips. A drive of 240 yards is
required just to cross the water and bunker to reach the fairway. Play down
the right, as most balls will funnel down to the landing area. Your second
shot is blind to a tree-lined, but accessible fairway, leaving you with just a
wedge to another wide, narrow green. Two traps, one short and one deep protect
the benign putting surface. Par is a good score, but birdies can happen.
Another great view of the lake in the background, the 13th is a downhill par
four, the second longest on the inward nine. A big drive down the right side,
clearing the fairway bunker will leave a mid to short iron to a very difficult
green. That trap, which is 25 yards in length, is very deep, so avoid the
white stuff at all costs. The putting surface is slick from back to front,
with traps, left, right and deep. The trap behind the green is your last
defense before the rocky beach of the lake.
The course just keeps getting better, as you stand on the 14th tee. An
outstanding par three that sits alongside the lake to the left. The green is
almost a peninsula and when the wind is fresh, this hole could require a
fairway metal to reach the surface. The putting area is wide and 30 paces deep
with a pair of traps (front and back) guarding the right side. Good luck
making par here.
Playing back up the hill, the 15th is a straightaway par four, just 416 yards
in length, but much longer due to the elevation change. Water down the right
really does not come into play, but will catch your eye. The landing area is
very accessible, but missing right will be trouble as a deep, long and rough
bunker looms large. A medium iron is required to reach the long, narrow
putting surface that slopes hard from back to front. A back flag on the top
tier, this hole could require two extra clubs. The only sand around the green
is deep, so missing long will be a difficult up-and-down.
The longest par four on the back nine, the 16th is a slight dogleg left,
downhill gem. Although the fairway is devoid of sand and fairly ample, it is
tree-lined and any shot just off line will result in a pitch out. A medium to
long iron will remain even with a successful tee shot. The green is tucked
around to the left with Lake Oconee left and deep. The putting surface is not
that treacherous, but getting there might be. When the wind is blowing in and
the pin is back and left, you'll be hard-pressed to make par. Sand left and
deep-right, could save you from double-bogey.
The shortest one-shotter on the course, the 17th is all carry across a finger
of the lake. Just 164 yards and no sand, this hole requires perfect club
selection or its a watery grave. H2O covers the length of the very wide, but
narrow putting surface, which features a ridge in the center. Miss on the
wrong side of the hump and it's a three-putt for sure.
Risk-reward at its best when you reach the final hole. A sensational par five
stretching 540 yards, the 18th is just what you want in a finishing hole. The
lake sits along the entire left side of the hole through the green, while tall
trees stand watch down the right. The fairway is quite generous off the tee,
so you should have no problem finding the landing area. The decision is with
the second shot...should I stay or should I go? The approach area is very
tight as you get closer to the green, as the water juts into the fairway,
however just a mid iron should put you out of harms way. The play however,
especially with a big tee ball is to go for the green in two. A fairway-metal
should be sufficient enough to get the job done, but if leery, bail out right,
as the green is tucked around to the left. The putting surface sits in an
amphitheater setting with one trap deep, making for a beautiful finish, one
you will hardly forget.
OVERALL: It's hard to pick favorites at Reynolds Plantation, as all of the
courses are spectacular. The Great Waters layout is fantastic, a great mix of
tree-lined and water holes with astonishing views of Lake Oconee.
When you first arrive at Great Waters you're welcomed by a considerate and
well-mannered staff, which goes along way, especially when you're from out of
The view from the clubhouse overlooking Lake Oconee is sensational, even
better when your round is complete and you're sipping a cold one reminiscing.
The practice facility is solid, carved along side the first fairway. The
course conditioning is impeccable, the greens superb and the layout, well in a
"The first time I went to Great Waters, I knew it had the potential to have a
great golf course, but we had to find it," said Nicklaus. "I think we found
When the greatest player of all time and course designer makes a statement
like that, you have to take note.
Great Waters is an outstanding course with water coming into play on 13 holes,
including the final eight. Not overly long, but with plenty of bite. A variety
of different holes, generous fairways at times and putting surfaces that will
certainly make life difficult for the player, however, quite fair.
The course is for all levels of play, as five sets of tees range from 5,100 to
7,073 yards. The amount of H2O might scare off some, but if you choose the
right markers you should stay relatively dry. I'll make this one of my must
plays the next time I vacation at Reynolds Plantation.
To find out more information on golf vacations to Reynolds Plantation and
other destinations, check out www.golfvacationinsider.com.