Old Union (Public)
Owen Glen subdivision, Blairsville
STAFF: Denis Griffiths is the owner and course designer; Ryan Scott is the PGA Director of Golf
PAR/YARDAGE: Old Union is a par 72 with five sets of tees: Black (7,667 yards); Blue (7,082) White (6,332); Silver (5,735) and Red (4,776).
COURSE RATING/SLOPE: 76.8/144 (Black); 74.5/139 (Blue); 71.0/132 (White); 68.3/126 (Silver); 68.2/118 (Red).
ABOUT THE COURSE: One of the state’s handful of new courses, Old Union opened a few months ago and despite its relatively remote location in the northeast corner of the state, has a promising future thanks to the quality of its layout. Denis Griffiths, one of Georgia’s finest golf course architects, handled the design work and is also the owner. Old Union is located not far from Brasstown Valley, one of Griffiths’ finest layouts, and bears some resemblance to it, largely due to its mostly gentle terrain in a mountain setting. Things are still a little rugged on the property, with the clubhouse just beginning construction and the club’s eventual address not yet applicable. The ride from the temporary pro shop to the first tee takes a minute or two, but once you get on the course, the effort to reach it (it’s two hours from metro Atlanta) will be worth it.
At most courses, selecting which tees to play from can be a difficult decision, but that’s not the case at Old Union. There are huge gaps in yardages between the five sets, with more than 700 yards separating the blues and whites, and a 600-yard difference between the whites and the silver tees. Old Union will be a very strong test for low handicappers who play the blues (the back tees are beyond Tour length and will rarely if ever be played), with the whites a very comfortable fit for players who can’t handle 7,000-yard layouts. Those familiar with Griffiths’ many Georgia designs (St. Marlo, Chestatee, Chateau Elan, River Pines, Chicopee Woods, the Georgia Club among them) will recognize some staples of his layouts – mostly ample fairways and sizeable but generally gentle greens complexes, some short and strategic par 4s, par 5s with more than one route from tee to green and an overall distinct variety of holes. Because of the amount of hazards in play, the slope rating is on the high side, but if you play the correct tees, you won’t encounter shots beyond your ability to deal with, although there are two par 4s that are extremely long regardless of which tees you play.