11240 Browns Bridge Rd., Covington; 770-786-3801; golfoaks.com
STAFF: Dick Schulz is the Director of Golf; Andy Bowman is the PGA Golf Professional.
PAR/YARDAGE: The Oaks is a par 71 with four sets of tees: Black (6,577 yards); Blue (6,265); White (5,833) and Gold (4,451).
COURSE RATING/SLOPE: 70.6/129 (Black); 69.2/126 (Blue); 67.3/118 (White); 66.2/110 (Gold).
ABOUT THE COURSE: A long time Atlanta area favorite on the east side of the metro area, the Oaks has built its reputation on affordability, a welcoming atmosphere and one of the most enjoyable layouts around with Champions Bermuda greens that are consistently among the best of Atlanta’s daily fee facilities. Over the years, the course has gotten a bit more challenging, with the addition of some back tees adding a few hundred yards. The most notable change is the 9th, which has been converted from a par 4 to par 5, and now features an intimidating tee shot through a narrow chute of trees, with trouble looming off both sides of the fairway. The overall yardage is a bit deceiving, as the only truly short holes on the course are an opening pair of sub-350-yard par 4s, the par-4 18th and a par 3 that measures 165 from the tips. Other than the 9th, the Oaks is a mostly forgiving course off the tee, although a creek that winds down the right side of the first fairway and trees and OB right on the second can cause some early problems. Water is in play on about half the holes, most notably on two of the most demanding par 3s in all of Atlanta. The fourth is a stout 217 from the tips with water short and left, with the 11th all carry at 193, with wind a frequent concern. Both holes also feature greens with a decent amount of slope, with the excellent putting surfaces among the Oaks’ primary challenges. The greens complexes are otherwise very gentle, with few bunkers and minimal mounding, the par-4 12th one of the few exceptions in that regard. The dogleg left is among the tougher hazard-free par 4s around, with the wide, shallow elevated green extremely difficult to hit in regulation. The 17th ranks with the 12th in difficulty, with a long second shot over water short of the green, and trees within range for those who pull their approaches. All in all, one of the most entertaining golf experiences you’ll find in Atlanta, especially for those who prefer to tote their bags.