Location: Elberton, Ga.
Course architect: Bob Walker
Tees — Yardage | Rating / Slope
Gold — 6,788 | 72.5 / 134
Blue — 6,458 | 70.7 / 129
White — 5,971 | 68.9 / 119
Red — 5,220 | 70.4 / 122
Saturday morning green fee: $ (under $50)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: Tifway 419 Bermudagrass
Greens: TifEagle Bermudagrass
Starter: Arrowhead Pointe, part of Richard B. Russell State Park, is widely regarded as the most scenic routing of a strong eight-course lineup in Georgia’s state parks system. The course, as the name would indicate, sits on an arrowhead-shaped peninsula that juts into the Savannah River, which forms the state’s eastern boundary with South Carolina. Richard B. Russell, a former Georgia governor who served nearly 40 years in the U.S. Senate until his death in 1971, wasn’t known to have played much, if any, golf, but his legacy includes a link to one of the state’s top public-access courses. Golfweek magazine rates Arrowhead Pointe as No. 3 in Georgia on the “Best Courses You Can Play,” behind only Sea Island’s Seaside Course and Reynolds Lake Oconee’s Great Waters. That’s some mighty fine company. Arrowhead Pointe is two hours east of Atlanta, but cellphone service diminishes upon entering the state park, so plan your route accordingly. You’re not likely to stumble upon Arrowhead Pointe, but the rural setting is a big part of the course’s appeal.
Play because …: There are no houses and no distractions at Arrowhead Pointe, unless you catch yourself on the back nine staring at the anglers trolling Russell Lake, a reservoir created in the early 1980s when the Army Corps of Engineers built Russell Dam on the Savannah River. Federal law prohibits private land ownership surrounding the lake, so golfers get to enjoy the course’s corner of the 540 miles of shoreline. The par 3s stand out as being memorable holes. Choose the proper set of tees for your game, because Arrowhead Pointe requires a few forced carries.
Takeaway: Quality turf conditions and a gorgeous lakefront routing that cuts through the pines and hardwoods make for an idyllic day with nature. Arrowhead Pointe rolls across a picturesque, forested setting on the front nine before the course unfurls into a waterfront adventure on the back nine. Beginning at the par-4 12th and continuing through the par-4 17th, the course plays along the southern tip of Arrowhead Pointe, with Russell Lake always in view and often in play. That exceptional six-hole stretch leaves a lasting impression. Play those holes close to par and you’ll leave feeling pretty good about your game.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Pro shop: 7.5
Course difficulty: 8.0
Pace of play: 8.0
Best par 3: No. 13 (180 | 160 | 136 | 123 yards)
The mid-iron or hybrid tee shot plays uphill, over an inlet from Russell Lake, into an elevated green complex guarded by bunkers left and right. On a course with four memorable par 3s, this hole stands out as the best 3 of the bunch. The downhill third and 15th might be easier on the eyes, but the 13th is a tougher 3.
Best par 4: No. 17 (393 | 371 | 356 | 319 yards)
Sensing a pattern here? The holes along Russell Lake make an impression. The par-4 17th plays dramatically different, depending on your choice of tees. The back two sets of markers require a modest forced carry onto a canted, elevated fairway on a dogleg left hole. From the two forward markers, the hole plays straightaway, but the fairway slopes from right to left, toward a stand of trees along the lake, leaving a short-iron uphill approach shot.
Best par 5: No. 10 (512 | 490 | 466 | 407 yards)
Navigate this double-dogleg hole properly for a birdie putt, but plenty of potential trouble awaits. The tee shot requires a fade for a right-handed player, setting up a green-light second shot over a ditch and into an elevated green complex protected by bunkers front, left and rear. It’s a sporty way to start a back nine loaded with fun holes.