Renovated course, practice area, Golf House
One of the most ambitious golf facility renovation projects in Georgia’s history is moving forward after the Atlanta City Council agreed to a land swap that will transfer the historic Bobby Jones Golf Course to the state, with a building on the property slated for use as a “Golf House” for Georgia’s most prestigious golf organizations.
The state approved the deal about two weeks after the Atlanta City Council vote, but final details have to be worked out in the deal, with the city getting a parking deck and other property near Underground Atlanta that would be turned over to a private developer with plans for major improvements to the area.
Once the deal receives final approval and the funds are raised or committed, a complete reconstruction of the course is scheduled to begin, with acclaimed Atlanta-based golf course architect Bob Cupp in charge of the project. Plans are to convert Bobby Jones from an 18-hole course to a unique, reversible nine-hole course, with Cupp’s re-design resulting in 18 distinct holes that can be played at championship length.
The unique design of the course creates three different playing options. The course can be played in one direction one day and the opposite way the next day. Because each hole has a large double green and multiple tees, the golfer can play from a different tee to a different pin on his or her second loop in the same direction. Although it will not be possible to play both directions at the same time, the third option is to play 18 holes in the same day by using a shotgun start.
In addition to the changes to the course, an expansive practice facility will be constructed, in part for use by the Georgia State golf team, which currently does not have a practice facility within proximity to its campus. The team currently plays out of Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth and Eagle’s Landing Country Club in Stockbridge.
The plans for Bobby Jones Golf Course go far beyond just the re-construction of the golf course and the addition of a practice area. One of the driving forces behind the project was the creation of a Georgia Golf House on the property, with the building also serving as a home for the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.
The reconstructed Bobby Jones Golf Course is also projected as a “junior golf mecca,” with a wee links consisting of somewhere from five or six to as many as nine holes also scheduled to be part of Cupp’s re-design work. There are currently no practice facilities for juniors (or golfers in general) in the area near the course, which is located off Northside Drive north of the I-75/85 split.
Bobby Jones Golf Course opened in 1932 and was named after the legendary Atlanta amateur, but the compact layout with holes in close proximity to others has become more of a safety concern. Cupp points out that if he attempted a renovation that would preserve the course as an 18-hole layout, it would have to be made even shorter than its current version, which measures under 6,000 yards from the back tees…