The National Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee Review

By: Zack Buechner

Introduction

The National Golf Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee is one of six golf courses at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia.  The National was designed by Tom Fazio and is recognized as having the most dramatic elevation variances among the Reynolds courses.  Elevated tee boxes, deep bunkering, and pleasing lake views all highlight the National course.

Practice Facility

As with all of the Reynold’s golf courses, the practice facilities are taken seriously.  The driving range is well maintained with pyramids of practice balls waiting for each player and a dozen pins to hit to.

The chipping and putting green is large enough to allow multiple players to hit shots just before teeing off, especially since its so close to the first tee of the Ridge course (there are 27 holes at the National).  There was also a putting green next to the first tee of the Cove course which is ideal considering it’s a little ways from the rest of the practice area.

Customer Service & Amenities

When you come and stay at Reynolds Lake Oconee, you get the truest version of southern hospitality at each and every course.  The starters, marshals, bag boys, and pro shop staff are all very attentive.  Directions and guidance were always offered without being overbearing.  I never needed to ask for anything.  It gives you comfort in knowing you’re in the right place and can simply focus on the golf that lies ahead.

Beauty & Scenery

Like many of the Reynolds golf courses, Lake Oconee is the prominent feature of the course.  It does not always come into play, but seeing the water throughout a round makes any course that much better.

In his design of the National course, Tom Fazio carved out several infinity greens so that from your approach, all you see is the putting surface transition into water – a shot that’s visually intimidating for any golfer.

Tee Shots

The National Course is known for its dramatic elevation changes.   Two of the par-3s played a club or two downhill.  Elevated tee boxes are abundant on the National course which makes club selection an even more critical factor to scoring well.   Like many Fazio designs, the fairways are tilted to the left or right on each hole.  Tee balls landing on the proper side of the fairway will ensure a flat lie in the short grass.

Approach Shots

The varying terrain at the National leads to an abundance of blind shots into greens.  Grabbing an extra club is the key as short is almost always worse than long.

Tom Fazio gives you multiple ways to get the ball close to the hole on your approach.  The “correct” path to the green is typically illustrated with a gap in the bunkering.  For example, the green side bunker on number one (pictured below) protects the left half of the green, so favoring the right side will not only give you a smooth run-up area, it will also feed balls towards the center of the green.

Greens & Surrounds

Due to the significant elevation changes on the National course, the surrounding rough have severe slopes.  Some of the slopes push balls back towards the green while others can kick balls far offline.  Finding the correct places to miss on this course is crucial to scoring well.

Each of the 9 holes is named for its type of terrain which is reflected largely on the greens.  The Cove has several holes that run along the coves of Lake Oconee while their greens are relatively flat and score-able.  The Ridge nine includes more severe sloping and almost every green incorporates a ridge or tier that bisects the putting surface.  No matter which nine you play, find yourself on the proper tier and you’ll have a plethora of opportunities to score well.

Conclusion

The dramatic elevation changes and natural beauty of the National course at Reynolds Lake Oconee is a challenge yet a delight to play.  Channel your inner Tom Fazio by finding the proper angles at this course for an enjoyable day among the Georgia pines.

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