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Bartram Trail – Georgia Peach

Again, with perfect weather conditions, but unlike our round the day before at The River Golf Club in South Carolina at least the state we were playing in today was what I thought I had booked – Georgia.

Looking up to the clubhouse past the practice putting green.

While Myra and Joey loaded up the two-power carts with our clubs, I went in and introduced myself to Class A Golf Professional, Matthew Barman. The University of Georgia graduate was very thorough in his explanation of how the course would play and its layout. He even took the time to walk me over to a map of the golf course to show how it was routed. After a few rewarding minutes with Matthew and 10 minutes on the range loosening up, we waited for our tee time.  While waiting we took advantage of the huge practice putting green located between a very tasteful looking clubhouse and the awaiting first tee box. I was impressed with the effective use of the public address system in informing the waiting golfers, like ourselves, the order of play. It’s a bit of the lost art really.

The twosome we are following waiting to tee off on the Par 4 1st hole.

When I was researching this area approximately 2 months ago for golf courses, I simply punched in Augusta and numerous golf courses populated my computer screen. One of those courses we would be playing today and, although technically it is located in Grovetown, it’s close enough to where Joey lives in Augusta for me to feel we’re playing in Augusta.

The approach shot view over the wasteland grasses on the 1st hole.

For two golf courses that are within 20 minutes of each other, The River Golf Club and Bartram Trail have very dissimilar landscapes and different course styles. The one common thread was they both we’re very playable and in really good condition; that’s where it ends. In my opinion, Bartram Trail is located in the country because once you turn down the entrance road and up to the clubhouse it’s basically a few houses on the periphery and 18 great holes of golf. It has a feature that I absolutely love in golf course design – humongous greens. I would not have been a happy golfer previous to the 1970s when most golf courses in the US and Canada had small turtle back greens.

Joey sends one skyward down onto the Par 3 4th green.
A great view downhill to the Par 4 6th green

This woodland style golf course was laid out on a huge expanse of land and definitely is not a course you would want to walk. Driving and putting are also my two favorite shots in golf which this course favors. The design team of Robbins & Associates obviously knew the importance to the average golfer of pace of play by the very fact that the landing areas off the tee are in some cases a hundred yards wide. The course meanders through a predominately pine forest with numerous climbs and descents, forced carries accompanied by a variety of side hill lies. Many of the lower parts of the golf course are natural grassy areas. The course has been designed wisely using these areas by placing tee boxes behind them and greens ahead of them. It’s particularly noticeable and effective on most of the par threes; which there are five. The quality of turf grass in all the key areas of the golf course – greens, fairways and tee boxes is really favorable. I can only tell you the look of the bunkers was equally as favorable as this round was void of me having any bunker shots.

Lay up your second shot to hear for this view to the green on 13.

Barely 15 years old now, the golf course has had some significant changes including the construction of the aforementioned clubhouse and the reduction in the number of bunkers on the course. On a number of the longer holes what was once sand been positively transformed to grass in the form of grass fairway bunkers. They make a great target to aim at and are not overly penal if you happen to go into them. There is consistency throughout the course and perhaps if you run a golf course in the very knowledgeable golf state of Georgia, you better build one that’s well thought out.

Straight down to the green on this gentle par 4 16th.

As readers of my golf reviews are aware I like to give a golf course a certain moniker or classification. Bartram Trail falls into the 365 category. That means if it was the only golf course that I could play I would gladly play it 365 days of the year. The gentle opening par four 1st hole  

Is a wonderful introduction to a series of very challenging and exciting golf holes. The par threes are particularly fun to play with the green set over these grassy waste areas and often slightly downhill. The most remarkable holes are the 2-par fives on the 9th and the 13th.   In actuality there are no weak holes on the entire course and you may find other favorites that I did not mention. This semi private popular golf course would be a very easy choice for me to commit to becoming a member. It’s also what I call “a putter’s course”. Between Myra, Joey and me we burned the lips so many times I named our threesome The Augusta Edgeburners. We all had more than our share of three putts and not that many one putts and it was no fault of the Superintendent Darren Davenport and his very capable crew of greens keepers. The greens were fair, rolled smoothly and yes, they were mighty big.

Incredible downhill look, water long, on the Par 5 18th

We finished up all smiles and we’re able to laugh every time we burned an edge calling it an “Ernie” after the original edge burner “Ernie Edgeburner”.

Your decision to play Bartram Trail whether it be as a traveling golfer vacationing in this beautiful part of the United States, a local green fee player or as a member will be a very rewarding one. Great golf course, great conditions, great fun. Truly another Georgia peach.

(706) 210 4681 www.bartramtrailgolfclub.org

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Bill Flower

Bill Flower is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer. He loves to travel with his wife Myra up and down the west coast of the US playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles.

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