Georgia has 3 of Golf magazine’s top 50 courses in U.S.

Credit: AJC

The $23,000,000 will help transform the 1932 golf course to a reversible nine-hole course, a driving range and a new clubhouse with indoor training areas and outdoor practice areas.

Credit: AJC

All three are also ranked in the magazine’s top 100 worldwide

Playing golf can reduce stress and provide needed exercise. Not only that, researchers in April found that hitting the links at least once a month can lower the risk of death in older adults.

Georgia golfers are fortunate because they can play some of Golf magazine’s top courses in the country.

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For the recently released 2020-21 U.S. list, each of the 97 panelists was provided a list of 489 courses. Beside that list were 11 “buckets,” or groupings. If panelists considered a course to be among the top three in the country, they ticked that box. If they believed the course to be among Nos. 4-10 in the U.S., they checked that box, followed by 11-25, 26-50, and so on. Points were tallied and courses were ranked. You can read the full methodology here.

In this competition, a high score wins. And that high score went to Pine Valley in New Jersey. This course, built in 1918 and designed by George Crump and Harry S. Colt, has maintained the top spot for decades, so its ranking should come as a surprise to no one.

Georgia’s top course, ranked No. 6 nationwide and No 9 worldwide on Golf’s list, is famous for its annual tournament that rewards the winner with a green jacket.

Augusta National, built in 1933 and designed by Alister MacKenzie and golf legend Bobby Jones, holds the Masters tournament each spring (except in 2020, when it was delayed until Thanksgiving because of the coronavirus pandemic).

“Augusta National is the vision of Bobby Jones and his chosen architect, Alister MacKenzie,” Golf wrote. “Both intended for Augusta National to reflect the spirit and strategic options of the Old Course at St. Andrews, the course that they admired most. Nearly every hole at St. Andrews and Augusta National provides a safe route to the green and also a riskier one. Recent tree-planting and narrowing of corridors stands in contrast to that shared vision and is at odds with what has transpired at other Golden Age cornerstone designs this century, proving what a tough position ANGC finds itself in continuing to test the world’s best players in golf’s most anticipated event. Regardless, the course’s staggering beauty and Masters tradition remain unlike any other.”

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No. 2 in Georgia, No. 32 nationwide and No. 98 worldwide is Ohoopee Match Club in Cobbtown. Ohoopee is a new course, built in 2018 and designed by Gil Hanse & Jim Wagner.

“With this land on the east side of the Ohoopee River where sand accumulated for centuries, Hanse finally got a dream site upon which to build an original design,” Golf wrote. “His own sense of aesthetics complemented the rustic site’s color palette of browns, rusts and tans. The result is a low-profile design that beguiles. Be careful of its short par-4s: the 4th, 9th and 14th all tempt with driver off the tee — and punish rash tactics.”

Not far behind Ohoopee — but outranking it worldwide — is Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta.

No. 3 in the state, No. 37 nationwide and No. 91, Peachtree was built in 1947 and designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Bobby Jones.

“Though Spyglass Hill just slipped off the list, Robert Trent Jones’ work is still represented by Peachtree’s strong showing,” Golf wrote. “Built in the late 1940s, this design came before Jones had acquired his Oakland Hills ‘monster’ rep. More of Stanley Thompson’s influence is seen in Jones’ early work, highlighted here by his imaginative — and enormous — punchbowl green at the 10th.”

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Rounding out Georgia’s top 15 courses are:

4. East Lake in Atlanta

5. Capital City Club – Crabapple Course in Atlanta

6. Ocean Forest on Sea Island

7: Sea Island – Seaside on Sea Island

8. Atlanta Athletic Club – Highlands (Johns Creek)

9. Cuscowilla in Eatonton

10. Augusta CC in Augusta

11. Lookout Mountain in Lookout Mountain

12. Atlanta Athletic Club – Riverside in Johns Creek

13. Frederica in St. Simons

14. The Farm in Rocky Face

15. Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill

Georgia golf by the numbers

Number of courses and U.S. rank: 416 (13)*

Number of golfers per capita rank: 44*

Average public-course greens fees: $$ out of $$$*

Average daily temp and rank: 63.5 (5)

Annual precipitation and rank: 50.7 in. (7)

*Source: National Golf Foundation

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