Arrowhead Pointe is a state gem

Lake Living - Summer 2018

In the 15 or so years Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course has been in existence, there have been a few subtle changes since renowned golf course architect Bob Walker put his finishing touches on the Lake Russell gem.

But the changes have had nothing to do with intentional efforts to modify the natural layout of the course.

“There are a few less trees on certain holes,” says Arrowhead Pointe golf professional Barry Johnston, a Pennsylvanian who has vowed to never return to the cold after he moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when he was 22 years old. “I know I’ve seen photos of (Hole No.) 15 when the course first opened, and there were trees behind the green. Now the space is open, and you get a beautiful view of the lake from the tee box. I like that.”

When Walker was given a choice where to build the state of Georgia’s course at Richard B. Russell State Park, his eye immediately fell in love with a series of coves and points adjacent to the park’s Olympic Rowing Center.

The exposed points, where holes No. 14, 15 and 16 turn at the end of a peninsula on the southeastern corner of the golf course, summertime storms and high winds that occasionally hammer Lake Russell can be rough on individual tall pines. It is a natural hazard for tall, spindly pines that were left standing during the clearing of trees on the course.

After the grand opening of Walker’s course, one national golf magazine named it the No. 2-rated new public course in the United States. Since then, course personnel have seen Walker return to the course to play a round, and they say Walker can point to areas and ask about certain trees that were still standing when the course first opened.

“It’s a beautiful golf course, I love it,” Johnston says. “Design-wise, it is a course where you have to use all the clubs in your bag. You have to fade it on certain holes and draw it on other holes. The bunkers are well-placed. You can see where (Walker) put a lot of thought into playing to certain areas of the fairways and greens.”

Another feature of the course is the ultimate natural beauty of the lake on holes on the back nine (although the lake does come into view on the front nine). It’s on the back nine where the natural winds off the lake make a difference.

“The winds make the course more difficult when they come through, and that is especially the case on No. 15,” Johnston says.

It was all a part of Walker’s original design, having holes on the lake that would be affected by the wind. Very little of the design included the moving of dirt on the course. In fact, Walker insisted on keeping the natural lay of land as close as he could to the way he found it.

Johnston is going into his third year at Arrowhead, and he’s tried to make improvements on the golf course in that time.

A year ago, the focus was on improving the bunkers on the course, and in the current year he has made improvements at the course’s practice areas. Currently, the cart paths through the course are being reconstructed in areas where time and weather have roughed them up.

In years ahead, Johnston said the state will address areas in the tree lines of the several holes where roots and shade keep grass from growing.

To make a tee time at Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course, call 706-283-6000.

This story comes from our free publication, Lake Living Magazine

Northeast Georgian

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