The most anticipated golf course opening in Georgia in many years will occur in Atlanta November 5th, as the totally renovated Bobby Jones Golf Course will make its long-awaited debut.
The new and somewhat revolutionary Bobby Jones Golf Course will open to the public November 5,
replacing the aging layout that carried the name of the most prominent figure in Atlanta golf history for
some 85 years.
Bobby Jones Golf Course was the first public course in Atlanta in 1932, but in its later years, did not
exactly carry on the legacy of its namesake with much distinction.
When the original course ceased operations last year, it was a tired, cramped, flood-prone, indifferently
conditioned layout in need of drastic changes.
That’s exactly what has transpired in the year since the 85-year-old course was laid to rest, replaced by
something different and original, although its chief architect passed away before he could see his
creation come to life.
Atlanta-based golf course designer Bob Cupp came up with the original idea of making the new Bobby
Jones Golf Course a reversible nine-hole layout with the capability of being played in both directions to
make for a unique 18-hole round of golf.
Cupp died a little more than two years ago, one year before construction work began on his final design
project – the total renovation of Bobby Jones Golf Course. Cupp provided the idea and design of a
reversible 9-hole layout patterned after St. Andrews in Scotland, which can be played backwards from
its venerable original layout. Son Bobby helped complete his father’s work.
One of the problems the original Bobby Jones GC layout faced was its lack of sufficient acreage, with the
proximity of one fairway to another placing those playing the course in danger of being hit by stray shots
from adjacent holes. At its end, the course measured under 6000 yards, and it was impossible to design
a longer course on the site.
Bobby Jones was one of golf’s greatest champions, but by the time it hosted its last round of golf, the
facility that bore his name was far from a championship test of golf.
The new Bobby Jones Golf Course will be a worthy challenge for the members of Georgia State’s men’s
and women’s golf teams, who will call it home when the overall facility is completed. The GSU tees will
measure more than 7,300 yards, but the course was designed for all skill and experience levels, with
each hole sporting seven sets of tees with no gender or age designations.
The tees are simply listed as numbers 1 through 7, and players will not have to be concerned with where
the tees are set on each of the seven, as they will be allowed to tee off from any spot on the tee box
The nines at Bobby Jones GC have been named Magnolia and Azalea, and each will featured color-coded
tee box markers and flagsticks to limit what is certain to be some initial confusion over which hole to
play or which flag to shoot at.
The Magnolia nine will have white tees and pins, with the Azalea nine sporting red tees and flagsticks.
For the first week (or weeks) of operation, Bobby Jones GC will begin play with shotgun starts beginning
at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 8:30
a.m. on Saturday.
Brian Conley, the PGA General Manager for Bobby Jones GC, says the shotgun starts will consist of 64 to
72 players, with the day’s players drawn from ballot reservations. The shotgun starts will continue “as
long as demand permits,” with the course eventually transitioning to tee times.
Once that happens, the nines will be used on a rotating basis, with an 18-hole circuit consisting of
playing the same nine twice, as at Ansley Golf Club’s 9-hole layout. To enhance the variety, players can
choose different tees for their second nine to alter the yardages of each hole.
Conley said it is still to be determined if each green will have separate pins for the two nines, with what
he describes as a “technological challenge” needing to be solved before that occurs.
To register for a spot in the shotgun starts for the first week of play, go to www.bobbyjonesgc.com to
sign up. Tee times for the first week range from $48 to $78, depending on which day you choose. Those
selected will be notified 72 hours in advance.
Conley says the course will be “fully functional” for its debut with its “revolutionary course design and
better than average turf conditions.” Conley and his staff will be in a temporary clubhouse for at least a
year, as ground has yet to be broken for the Murray House, which will take about one year to complete
and will be the new home of the Georgia PGA, Georgia State Golf Association and the Georgia Golf Hall
Both the course and the soon-to-begin-construction Murray House are the result of the tireless effort of
the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation, which has raised more than $23 million from individuals and
institutional funders. The project was spearheaded by Foundation President Chuck Palmer and
Chairman Marty Elgison. The Foundation is leasing the property from the State of Georgia.
In addition to the 9-hole reversible course, Bobby Jones GC will also include state of the art practice
facilities for both the public and the Georgia State golf teams, which will have their own structure and
The Grand Slam Golf Academy is schedule to open in early 2019, with Jason Kuiper recently brought on
board as the Director of Instruction. Kuiper comes to Atlanta after previously working as a teaching
professional in Pennsylvania and the Orlando area.
Also yet to open is the Cupp Links, a six-hole short course consisting of holes in the 50-70-yard range for
junior golfers age 12 and under. Conley says “We want to hold off until the Spring and see how the
greens make it through the Winter.”
When everything is completed, the plan is for Bobby Jones GC to become a junior golf mecca, with
camps and clinics during the Summer while the Georgia State golf teams are on break.
The new Bobby Jones Golf Course will bear no resemblance to the original other than one or two spots
near corners of the property that were used for a tee or greens complex.
Conley points out that Cupp took more from St. Andrews than just the reversible nature of the layout.
He said there is “quite a bit of influence from a links standpoint, especially the greens complexes.” Each
of the nine putting surfaces will effectively function as a double green, with TifEagle Bermuda grass
providing the highest quality putting conditions.
Similar to Augusta National, one of the courses Jones is most associated with, Bobby Jones GC will
feature “fairway cut wall to wall,” Conley says, with pine straw around the tall Southern pines that are
present on the largely open layout.
While the course was constructed on a mostly level piece of property bordered on one side by
Peachtree Creek with another creek bisecting the course, Conley says the layout has “quite a bit of
With Peachtree Creek prone to flooding, an effort was made during construction on erosion control
measures to make the course as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. The Foundation is
also working with the City of Atlanta to create trails and paths that connect to and surround the course.
With part of the course bordering on a medical/industrial area, the layout will have a something of an
urban feel, but Conley observes that “You won’t sense the urban nature of the location all the way
Although it won’t become fully evident until the instructional facility and Murray House are completed,
the course is embracing the latest in modern technology, with the Club Car golf carts featuring the Shark
Golfers arriving at the course will notice more than just an entirely renovated layout. A parking deck has
been built adjacent to both the course and the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center, with the golf course and
tennis facility sharing an entrance off Northside Drive.