Course Architect: Tom Fazio
Year Opened: 1997 (Bluff, Ridge nines), 2000 (Cove nine)
Location: Greensboro, Georgia
Slopes: 137 (Bluff), 137 (Cove), 138 (Ridge).
Ratings: 73.4 (Bluff), 73.8 (Cove), 73.6 (Ridge).
Nines:               BLUFF NINE         COVE NINE        RIDGE NINE
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 383 Yds    1 - Par 4 418 Yds    1 - Par 4 390 Yds
                      2 - Par 4 409 Yds    2 - Par 4 378 Yds    2 - Par 4 388 Yds
                      3 - Par 5 553 Yds    3 - Par 3 191 Yds    3 - Par 3 192 Yds
                      4 - Par 3 174 Yds    4 - Par 5 563 Yds    4 - Par 4 428 Yds
                      5 - Par 4 386 Yds    5 - Par 4 400 Yds    5 - Par 3 206 Yds
                      6 - Par 5 584 Yds    6 - Par 5 502 Yds    6 - Par 5 554 Yds
                      7 - Par 3 216 Yds    7 - Par 3 175 Yds    7 - Par 4 376 Yds
                      8 - Par 4 400 Yds    8 - Par 4 449 Yds    8 - Par 5 499 Yds
                      9 - Par 4 423 Yds    9 - Par 4 462 Yds    9 - Par 4 454 Yds
                     Par 36  3,528 Yds    Par 36  3,538 Yds    Par 36  3,487 Yds

Awards Won: Ranked #19 Best-in-State Rankings (GA) by Golf Digest (2005),
            Ranked #5 America's Best State-by-State (GA) by Golfweek (2006),
            Rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest - Best Places to Play (2006).

Course Record: 64 (Bluff, Ridge nines).


HISTORY:  Back in  the early 1900s, Mercer Reynolds, Sr. purchased the land in
Greene  County for  a  family  retreat. Reynolds  you  see,  was a  successful
businessman,  not to  mention  the  inventor of  the  process for  solidifying
cottonseed  oil.  In other words, wealth  beyond means. Referred to as "Linger
Longer,"  this  massive piece of  property was used  for a hunting and fishing

During  the  1920s, the family house  was built, which lasted until 1979, when
the  construction of  the Wallace Dam was finished. This, with the flooding of
the Oconee River, formed Lake Oconee, Georgia's second largest lake.

The  vision for  Reynolds Plantation  goes to  the grandson  of Reynolds  Sr.,
Mercer  Reynolds III.  With  a  19,000-acre lake  and  70  miles of  shoreline
available,  the  plan  was  in  the  works  to  develop  a  resort/residential
community.  Beginning in 1986, five golf courses have been built on this site,
including The National Course, featuring three nine-hole courses.

Master  course designer Tom Fazio got the call to carve out this venue through
undisturbed forests and beautiful vistas of the Oconee River Valley.

He's  designed  several of the  greatest courses in  the country and worked on
some  of the finest pieces of land, but when Fazio toured the property, he was
stunned.  "When  I first came  here and drove through  the front gate, I could
feel the quality that was here."

One  of the most decorated architects of his time, Fazio has crafted well over
120 courses and currently has more courses ranked in the top-100 in the United
States  (14), than  any  other  designer. Some  of  his  most notable  layouts
include,  Wade Hampton, Shadow Creek, The Quarry at La Quinta and The Estancia
Club.  And by the  way, he is the chief design consultant for Augusta National
Golf Club.

Fazio's  effort was  enhanced  by the  unlimited budget  afforded  him by  his
employer.  "I  got excited because, from  the first calls about this course, I
was told they had a lot of land, lots of acres and no preconceived ideas about
what  should go  there. I knew from  the first day that the commitment made to
golf was first-class and something I wanted to be involved with."

How good was Fazio's design? Well in less than 10 years, it has been ranked in
the top-five in the state of Georgia for public access courses.

REVIEW:  The  Bluff nine  opens with  a slight dogleg  right, uphill par four.
Plenty  of  room off the tee,  so bombs away, as  it plays longer than its 383
yards  in length indicates. Fairway traps on the right can be reached, so play
towards  the left side of the landing area. Take an extra club or two for your
approach to the elevated putting surface and stay below the hole, as the green
slopes  hard  from back to front.  With only 31 paces  to deal with and a deep
trap right, this is certainly not a hole to be taken lightly.

The  downhill, dogleg  right second is just the opposite, sloping down towards
Lake  Oconee. The key is the tee shot, as you must avoid the pair of extremely
deep  bunkers  on the  right. A  mid to short  iron remains  to a fairly large
green.  A  back-right flag will bring  another deep-faced bunker into play, so
play towards the center of the surface to take bogey or worse out of play.

At  first blush,  the par-five third could  be construed as one of the hardest
holes  on the  course at 553 yards. Don't  be misled, this big boy can be had.
Although  doglegging sharply to the right, the tee shot is wide open, as it is
devoid  of sand with a enormous landing area. The trick is deciding what to do
for  your  second shot. Laying  up can be tricky,  especially with the pair of
traps  down the left and a sloping fairway to the right, which brings the lake
into  play. The fairway does narrow as you get closer to the green, however, a
blast  down  the left  side will  feed towards the  promised land. The putting
surface  is a whopping  47 yards deep, but very narrow. When in doubt, go left
young man and you'll make an easy par.

One  of  my favorite  par threes at  Reynolds Plantation, the  fourth is a gem
featuring  Lake  Oconee down the  entire right side.  Any breeze off the water
will  surely impact  how you play this hole. Another enormous green, this time
40  yards  in length, will dictate  what club you  pull out of your arsenal. A
huge  ridge runs  through the center of the putting surface, with three traps,
one left and two deep to gather your errant play.

A chance to get one back as you reach the fifth. Just 386 yards in length from
the  gold  tees, the key  ingredient here  is the tee  ball. The first of five
fairway  traps looms  down the right side,  but a shot of 230 yards will clear
easily enough. Avoiding the left trio of bunkers is a different story, as they
are  well within reach.  The play on this bender to the right is a nice power-
fade,  leaving just a short iron approach to another, slender, but long green.
Your second will be slightly uphill to the putting surface, with a bunker left
and  right.  A back-right pin could  be hard to  reach, so play center cut and
move on.

The  Bluff nine  really heats  up on  the devilish,  par-five sixth.  Only the
strongest  of  players can  best this beast  at 584 yards.  The tee shot plays
uphill  to a  wide fairway, flanked left  by sand and right by trees and thick
brush.  A big blast  can reach the crest of the fairway, as it begins to slope
downhill. A decision of major proportion remains. Go for the green or play out
right  to the split  fairway. Option one - A large pond stands between you and
the  green,  not to mention  some 250 plus yards.  Yes, it's downhill, but the
green  is  set back to  the left with  three huge traps  deep and one state of
Florida-  shaped  bunker in  front. A word  of caution, any  shot short of the
putting surface, will roll back towards the water and leave an awkward, uphill
pitch to the green. Option two - A medium iron or hybrid to the right will set
up  a little wedge  for your third. This will enable you to attack the pin and
give  yourself a  reasonable chance at birdie. Certainly the smarter play, but
who said golfers are smart.

Another  great par  three,  the seventh  is  the  longest of  the  set at  The
National. Coming in at 216 yards, the hole plays downhill to the green, making
club  selection  difficult, not to mention  the creek running from tee through
the  putting surface  down  the right.  Let's  not forget  the  very wide  and
undulating green, with sand left and two bunkers on the back-right corner. The
hole is framed beautifully behind the green and is one of the most picturesque
on the course. Stay focused.

The  course continues  to get better and  better as you reach the rugged, par-
four eighth. The fairway slopes from right to left with a creek running up the
left side before crossing the landing area, some 100 yards short of the green.
The play off the tee is a draw with a driver, starting at the fairway trap and
finishing  in the left side of the landing area. This will set up a short iron
approach to a slightly uphill putting surface. Two spots to avoid. The pair of
bunkers  left  and the creek  that runs  up the right  side within a couple of
strides of the green. The short stuff is long and narrow, sloping from back to
front  with an undulating ridge in the center. A back-right flag will test the
best of players, not to mention us hackers.

The  closing  hole on  the  Bluff  nine is  a  sharp,  dogleg right  par  four
stretching  423 yards  from the  back  tees. The  tee  ball is  first step  to
succeeding  on the ninth.  The fairway slopes from left to right with two deep
traps  left and  one target bunker towards  the center of the fairway. It will
take a shot of 250 yards to clear this obstacle, but you will be rewarded with
a  short iron if you play down the right. Next up is your downhill approach to
the  green. With  a seven-, eight- or  nine-iron, you'll need to clear a large
body  of water and a wide bunker to reach the putting surface. The green is 42
yards  wide and quite shallow, so club selection is key, as any shot long will
be bunkered.

Moving  over to the  Cove nine, the newest of the three courses, it starts out
with  a solid, downhill par four of 418 yards. Two wide bunkers frame the wide
landing area and offer a great target to start your draw. One word of caution,
avoid  the  left side, as the  fairway falls off  into deep trees. A medium to
short  iron  remains to a decent  sized green with  a deep trap near the left-
front portion. A fairly simple hole to kick-start the nine.

It's  uphill all  the way on the short  second, the only par four on this nine
under  400 yards.  Bunkers on  either side  of the  landing area  pose minimal
opposition,  but  are deep  and  treacherous.  Take  an  extra club  for  your
approach,  as  the green  is significantly elevated.  Two very cavernous traps
front  the benign  putting  surface which  flows gently  from  back to  front.
Birdies  can be made,  but without seeing the bottom of the flag stick, par is
more  likely.  By the way,  any second shot played  short and right, will roll
back off the green and down the fairway.

Downhill towards Lake Oconee, the par-three third is all about club selection.
With  the  wind blowing in  off the water and  the elevation change, this hole
could  play havoc with your round. A deep trap fronts the green that's only 33
paces in length. Not a hole to be aggressive, play to the center and make your

The  longest of the two par fives on this nine, the fourth is a strategically,
deceptive  three-shotter.  The hole  starts out by  bending towards the right,
with a 40-yard long bunker down the right side of the landing area. Avoid this
and  you're home free,  sort of. Your next shot is a layup far enough down the
right to leave a clear shot to the green, as tall trees blanket the left side.
The  putting surface  you see, is to  the left of the fairway and plays uphill
over  a creek.  Two deep bunkers guard the left-portion of the green. Although
very  wide,  the putting surface  is only  28 paces deep  and just 20 yards in
length  behind the traps. Sloping hard from back to front, you must stay below
the hole to have any chance at two-putting.

Bending  to  the left,  the par-four  fifth is devoid  of fairway bunkers, but
beware  of  the port  side  as  trees guard  the  aggressive  player. After  a
successful tee shot, just a medium iron should remain, depending upon the flag
stick.  You see, the  green is a whopping 49 yards in length and quite narrow,
not  to mention a deep bunker up front. The putting surface is very undulating
and  if  missed, could  be a  real bear  to get up  and down,  as it falls off
sharply left and long.

Although  ranked as the toughest hole on this nine, the sixth can be had. Just
a  502-yard par five,  this gem doglegs to the left and can be reached in two.
The tee shot plays downhill towards a left to right sloped fairway. The bunker
at  the end of  the fairway is close to 300 yards away from the tips. Now it's
decision  time. To  reach the elevated green,  you'll need a blast of over 200
yards,  splitting the tall trees on both sides of the fairway and avoiding the
pair of traps to the right of the green. Speaking of the putting surface, it's
41  paces deep  and very undulating. Par  shouldn't be a problem, so go for it
and get one back.

The  final par three  on this nine is the shortest of all the one-shotter's at
The  National. Just  175 yards from the tips and playing downhill, this beauty
requires  pinpoint accuracy,  as the green is small and the wind usually plays
tricks from the tee. Any shot right or long will trickle down the slope. Short
and  you'll find  sand and left, a well-mown collection area. The bottom line,
short is not always easy.

The  eighth  is a stern  test of  brawn and brains.  The elevated tee box puts
everything  in plain  view. What you have  is a dogleg right of 449 yards that
necessitates  a  left-to-right fade off the  box. Avoiding the fairway trap at
the  corner  of the bend is  key. A big blast  of over 270 yards can clear the
corner,  but  jail remains if  your shot  is offline. A  mid to long iron will
remain  to  a slightly elevated  surface, trapped deeply  on both sides of the
green.  Another  long, narrow  green, this  one 42 yards  in depth, features a
ridge on the right, making your approach even more difficult. Par here will be
a tall order.

Another  great  closer at The  National, the ninth is  the longest par four at
this venue, a whopping 462 yards from the tips. You'll need every bit of power
just  to  leave yourself a  reasonable chance at  getting home. Despite a wide
landing  area,  the hole  is wide open  and susceptible to  the wind. From the
fairway,  all that remains is quite clear, a pond and two bunkers fronting the
green.  Piece of cake,  right? Not so fast when you have a hybrid or long iron
in your grasp. Closely cropped chipping areas surround the green, so if you're
going to err, go long.

The  original  hole of the National  course is the  first on the Ridge nine. A
rock-solid,  dogleg left par four, the first requires just a fairway metal off
the  tee,  as the trouble lurks  well down the fairway  in the form of sand on
both  sides  of the landing area.  Bunkers surround three sides of the putting
surface,  leaving an  opening in front for your approach. Despite the swale in
the  green, this is one pin you should be able to attack and get your nine off
to a good start.

Although  not long by today's standards at 388 yards, the second hole is every
bit  of a bear  to make par, let alone birdie. The landing area is quite wide,
however  you  must play  down the left  side to  set up the  best angle to the
green.  The putting  surface is tucked to  the right, behind a set of bunkers,
water  and  a tall tree that  covers the right  portion of the green. Having a
shot at birdie will depend upon the pin placement.

The  slightly uphill  third is one of  the longest par threes on the course at
just under 200 yards in length. To compound matters, the putting surface is 39
paces  deep. Three  treacherous traps guard the  right side of the green and a
collection  area protects  the right.  Choose the  right stick  or suffer  the

What  you see is  what you get, as you stand on the fourth tee. A straightaway
par  four reaching  428 yards from the  tips. A wide landing area, narrowed at
the  270-yard mark  by two  deep fairway  bunkers on  the right.  The slightly
elevated  putting  surface is fairly  benign, but  protected on either side by
deep traps and grass bunkers.

The fifth, the final par three on this nine will require a long iron or hybrid
to  reach the putting  surface. Danger looms left with a bunker long enough to
cover the entire 37 paces of the green. Any ball slightly right of target will
end  up  in the  closely mown  chipping area, which  will make  an up and down
nearly impossible.

One  of  the prettiest and  diabolical holes at The  National, the sixth is an
outstanding,  downhill  par five, a true,  three-shot hole. From the tips, the
landing  area  runs out at  the 300-yard mark,  with fairway traps pinching in
from  both sides. A small stream down the right can snare any wayward shot, so
play  left fairway for  safety. The only option for your next is to layup, the
question is, how far do you go. The landing area tightens as you get closer to
the  green  and a trap on  either side at the  125-yard mark makes for an even
narrower  look.  By the  way, water comes  into play around  80 yards from the
green,  as  it surrounds three-quarters  of the  putting surface. The green is
well-guarded in the front by sand and features three tiers to make your birdie
try  even  more difficult.  It stands  to reason  that this  is the number one
handicapped hole on the Ridge.

The  shortest par four at The National, the seventh is only 376 yards from the
gold  tees. Doglegging to the left, the key is accuracy, not length to conquer
this  hole. A fairway-metal off the tee is the smart play for your first shot,
as  this will  set up a short  iron to a long, narrow putting surface. Missing
the two-tiered green will be costly, as three traps encompass the short grass.

A  great  scoring chance revolves  around the dogleg  left eighth. A short par
five  that measures just  499 yards from the tips, this hole can be had if the
tee  shot  is right.  Playing downhill  from the  tee, a  high, draw will work
wonders  to set up  an opportunity to get home in two. The key is to avoid the
bunker-laden  landing area.  If successful,  you'll need  a 200-plus  blast to
reach the long, narrow promised land. The green is guarded with a long trap in
front  and one left and the putting surface itself, is two-tiered and 40 paces
deep. The bottom line, you can go for it, but you must be precise.

The  closing  hole on  the Ridge  is a monster  of a  par four, stretching 454
yards.  Despite  the wide landing area,  this straightaway hole features a 42-
yard long bunker down the left side, so stay clear. A long iron or hybrid will
remain  to  a long green,  guarded by sand left  and right. A back-right flag,
where  the putting surface slopes away make the hole one of the hardest at The

OVERALL:  The golf at Reynolds Plantation is exceptional and that includes Tom
Fazio's,  The  National. Three nine  hole venues,  all with their own specific
signature.  Whether  it  be  rolling  terrain or  lush  hardwood  forests  and
spectacular views of Lake Oconee, The National has it all.

The  nines  feature amazing elevation  changes, numerous streams, ponds and of
course Lake Oconee, not to mention 115 bunkers, the most of any of the courses
at Reynolds Plantation.

Let's  not  forget the  challenging  and  undulating putting  surfaces,  which
generally range from 30-45 yards in depth and can be a slick as Augusta on any
given day.

Course conditioning is always an important part of any review and The National
passes  with  flying colors. Bent grass  greens and Bermuda fairways, tees and
rough  are impeccably manicured. Fazio's signature bunkers are also maintained
to  perfection. Even  the practice range, complete with grass hitting areas on
two sides and putting and chipping greens are groomed wonderfully.

They  say that beauty  is in the eyes of the beholder, but no one can deny the
sensational  landscape  of colors  generated  by  thousands of  azaleas,  deep
Georgia  pines and  glowing  vegetation. Upon  completion,  Fazio praised  the
design.  "It's  no surprise  that the  National turned  out as  well as it did
because  the Reynolds  folks have  the patience  and commitment  to do  things

The  course is open to members, guests and residents of the Ritz-Carlton Lodge
and  Reynolds  Plantation. For guests, it  could be a bit pricey at $150-$250,
but  if you're at the Ritz, then this shouldn't be an issue. Take advantage of
the special packages that are available and you'll make Reynolds Plantation an
annual visit for years to come.

I'd  be  remiss without  mentioning  the  kind  and  thoughtful staff  at  The
National, who go out of their way to make your stay most enjoyable.

The bottom line, The National will rank right up there with all the courses at
Reynolds  Plantation,  so when planning your  next trip, make sure you reserve
ample  time so that you can sample all the courses at Reynolds Plantation, you
won't be disappointed.