Reynolds Lake Oconee is home to 99 holes of golf, but The Landing is the original 18. Designed by Bob Cupp in 1986, this course stretches out over 7,000 yards of rolling hills and woods. With three holes that play along the shore of Lake Oconee, it’s an ideal blend of beauty and challenge.
Reynolds Lake Oconee takes their golf seriously. There are no token practice facilities here. The Landing, like all of the Reynolds courses that I played, has a large, grass tee driving range, short game area, and putting green. You’ll find the putting green near the first tee, exactly where it belongs.
Customer Service & Amenities
Through my stay at Reynolds Lake Oconee, I was impressed with the customer service. From the people working the bag drop to the staff in the pro shop, they embody the term “southern hospitality.”
When it comes to amenities, The Landing has all the things you expect plus a couple extras. The pro shop is well stocked with a mix of soft goods and enough clubs, shoes, and balls to overcome any lost or damaged luggage. Sheets with exact distances to the pins are installed in the carts daily.
My favorite extras at The Landing were the yardage book and tip sheet. The yardage book has colorful, high quality diagrams of each hole, and it serves as a nice memento of the round. Just as helpful is the tip sheet, which is a key for first timers. It includes insights about the shape and contours of the greens, many of which you can’t see from the fairway.
Beauty & Scenery
Playing golf at The Landing is like taking a walk through a great park. Where other courses work very hard to create beautiful views, The Landing has a much more natural appearance. While there are a lot of elevation changes, they’re rolling and organic. The scarcity of bunkers further enhances the native beauty of the course.
The visual highlight of The Landing is the stretch on the front nine that incorporates Lake Oconee. You first see the water on the approach to #2, then play over it again on the par 3 third hole. #4 plays straight out into the water and is my personal favorite. This loop closes with #5 – a par four that has water on the left from tee to green.
One of my keys for an enjoyable round of golf is width off the tee, and The Landing certainly provides that. The fairways are ample and the rough is virtually nonexistent. Beyond the rough, there’s pine straw under the trees which makes play challenging but not impossible. Similarly, the trees are spaced so that you can attempt the hero recovery shot.
The challenge off the tee is provided by the angles and the elevation. Like the hole you see above, most of the fairways sit askew to the tees. This requires the golfer to choose a precise line and distance, all while factoring in the change in altitude.
The Landing is playable for drivers of every ability but gives a clear advantage to the player who can place his tee shots accurately.
If you want to play a wide variety of shots into the greens, The Landing will put a smile on your face. The one constant is the elevation changes, but everything else is up for grabs.
Players who drive it accurately will have a big advantage with their approaches. There are loads of good bail out areas around the greens, and, assuming you’re coming from the correct angles, not too many hazards to avoid. If, however, you’re spraying your drives, your iron game will need to be on point. There are plenty of quirks and hidden dangers for the player who is out of position.
Greens & Surrounds
While perhaps not as treacherous as the greens at Georgia’s most famous course, the putting surfaces at The Landing are tough. They are very slick with lots of breaks – some obvious, some subtle. These greens are of average size, but being close to the pin is essential unless you want to flirt with three-putts all day.
Greenside bunkers are few in number, but they are penal. This is offset by the ample surrounds on the safe sides of the greens. The grass around the green is mowed fairly tight, which leaves players options ranging from putting to flop shots. What is most valuable when playing The Landing is good strategy. If you stay away from the hazards, you’ll have the opportunity to shoot a great score.
The Landing isn’t the headline grabber among Reynolds Lake Oconee’s six courses – it doesn’t have the biggest name architect, it’s not the most highly ranked – but don’t let that dissuade you. Play a round on this track, and you’ll find yourself appreciating the variety of shots required, the strategic demands, and the natural beauty. Book your round at The Landing early in your trip because I suspect you’ll want to get in another 18 before you leave.