Great Waters has been a favorite course of both members and visitors to Reynolds Lake Oconee (RLO) since it opened in 1992.
The course has been highly praised and is regularly rated as number two course in Georgia, second only to famed Augusta National. But after a quarter-century, RLO asked original designer Jack Nicklaus to come back and oversee a renovation and a re-imagining of his masterpiece.
“The first time I went to Reynolds, I knew we had the potential to have a great golf course,” Nicklaus said. “I think we found it then, and now more than a quarter of a century later, a wonderful golf experience remains but was in need of a little updating. It’s one of the really great pieces of property with which I have ever had the experience to work.”
Nicklaus and his team are “doing something to every hole” on the golf course. “For example, the ninth hole, which I thought for some golfers was a little awkward, will still play down a hill and over water, but it’s got a little more room now for the average golfer to play. Back up one hole to the 8th, and that par-three was totally redone. We’ve made it much better by designing a brand-new hole.”
Nicklaus said, “We now can see the lake off the tee on the 11th, where before we could never see the water. We took a bunker out on 12, so golfers will have a little more generous of a fairway to play. It is still a forced carry over water, but you don’t have to carry a bunker, too. At 13, we took the green back to the water, rather than leaving it away from the water. At 18. I built a bigger tee to make it more forgiving on the second shot. The membership also wanted to add some definition off the tee, so bunkers were added.”
While Nicklaus adjusted some of the strategy in playing the course, it isn’t to a significant degree. “Great Waters is probably a little more user-friendly than it was. Generally, that’s one of the things we try to do–provide a little more turf in areas where turf is needed, a little less sand in areas where you need less sand, a little more bail-out area where you need bail-out. Those things make the course more playable.”
Great Waters will open for resort play in January 2020, and the Stay & Play 18 package is the perfect immersion to experience the iconic golf course and Reynolds Lake Oconee. Nightly rates start from $282 per night per guest staying in a well-appointed condominium or cottage. Nightly rates start from $419 per night for guests staying at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee.
Located between Atlanta and Augusta, Reynolds Lake Oconee features six golf courses. It also has a full range of sporting activities, with access to more than 350 miles of Lake Oconee shoreline and four marinas; ten distinctive restaurants; and an award-winning tennis center, making it one of the most impressive community and golf destinations in the world.
or call 800-901-1204.