Asking golfers at Reynolds Lake Oconee, “What did you shoot today?” doesn’t necessarily mean their answer will include a number, or even have anything to do with one of the six world-class golf courses at the award-winning golf destination community between Atlanta and Augusta.
Indeed, these days the response could well be, “Sporting clays.”
That’s because they spent an afternoon at the new Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds, named for the beautiful creek that flows into Lake Oconee and shapes the shooting course’s topography. Opened last fall, Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds joins the list of world-class sporting facilities at destination resorts across the country.
“Playing golf and shooting guns both are great ways to enjoy and embrace the outdoors,” says said Wes Forester, Director of Golf at Reynolds Lake Oconee. “The challenges and experiences of golf and shooting are similar. And they also both happen to be a lot of fun.”
Designed by Justin Jones, the international shooting champion from Wales, Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds brings British tradition and authenticity to the rolling hills of north Georgia. The complex encompasses nearly 100 acres and features a 20-station sporting clays course, five-stand shooting range and air rifle facility, as well as archery and instructional/games areas, a fishing lake, and hiking course.
Jones built the sporting clays course to simulate the unpredictable and challenging nature of a classic British shoot, with clay targets launched at a variety of speeds, trajectories, angles, elevations, and distances. It can be set up to challenge and entertain all levels of shooters, novice to professional.
Certified instructors are available for lessons, and a personal guide will accompany guests through all activities. Shooters on the sporting clays course will traverse the course in a specially-outfitted sporting clays buggy. Fishing and water sports activities—including kayaks and canoes—are also available at the Sporting Grounds.
Anchoring the Sporting Grounds is the historic Sandy Creek Barn, which was built in the early 1800s and relocated from Pennsylvania to Reynolds 10 years ago. Adding to its current role as a versatile event space, a portion of the Barn serves as a welcome center and outfitters shop for Sporting Grounds visitors.
And of course, there are still plenty of golf shots to be taken at Reynolds Lake Oconee, home to award-winning golf course designs by Jack Nicklaus (Great Waters), Rees Jones (Oconee), The Preserve and The Landing (Bob Cupp), National (Tom Fazio) and the private Creek Club (Jim Engh).