Review: Trophy Club of Apalachee

Course Name: Trophy Club of Apalachee

Designer: Steve Melnyk/Bill Bergin (1994)

Location: Dacula, Georgia

History: N/A

Conditions: 6/10, Conditions were pretty solid for a public course. The greens were smooth and rough was in good shape. The course also appeared healthy and green, and the pine needles looked fantastic.

Value: 8/10, I was able to play 18 with a cart and range balls for just over $30. This is very competitive, and certainly worth the price.

Scorecard:

Tee             Par         Yardage         Rating           Slope

Gold           71           6523               72.4               138

Players      71           6268               71.0               134

Blue           71           6002               70.1               129

White        71           5470               67.8               120

Red            71           4748               69.2               120

Best Score: 85 (Blue Tees), 8/21/2015 with 3 people I met at course

Front 9 Best: 44 (Blue Tees), 8/21/2015 with 2 people I met at course

Back 9 Best: 41 (Blue Tees), 8/21/2015 with 3 people I met at course

Hole Descriptions: Trophy Club is fairly tight, and is a prototypical suburban southern course winding through neighborhoods. The opening hole is a short 489 yard par 5 with out of bounds all along the left side. The entire fairway also slopes hard left, making anything with left spin unlikely to be found.  A bunker 260 yards out on the right side of the fairway forces players to think twice about hitting driver.  Playing only 270 yards, the 2nd hole is a strange little dogleg right par 4 with trees that block the green. Players who can hit a left-to-right ballflight can theoretically reach this green, but I don’t see any problem hitting mid-iron in play here. A large bunker at the edge of the dogleg catches drives that run through the fairway. The first of 5 par threes, the 3rd hole plays 161 yards over a creek and bunker to a large kidney-shaped green. Playing 380 yards, the uphill 4th hole is a tight, tree-lined hole that plays as the number 1 handicap. The 5th hole is their signature hole – a medium length 351 yard par 4 that plays straight downhill. The fairway ends at about 280 yards and gives way to a giant valley. Once you carry this valley and hit the green, beware of the extreme back-to-front slope.

IMG_0525
View of the 5th approach shot from the pine straw

At only 438 yards, the 6th hole is an interesting dogleg right par 5 that is certainly a birdie opportunity with a straight drive. This hole plays downhill off the tee to a fairway lined by trees on both sides. The dogleg occurs at about 250 yards, but big hitters can cut the corner here and have only mid-iron in. Two bunkers short left of this green make for a challenging up-and-down. My favorite par 3 on the course, the 161 yard 7th hole features a challenging green with several hazards surrounding it. Playing only 276 yards, the 8th hole is meant to entice you into going for the green. The left side is fairly open but dense forest guards the entire right side and three brutal bunkers guard this green. I was rather underwhelmed by the 9th hole, a straightaway 341 yard par 4 that plays uphill to a large green.

The back 9 starts off strong with a long, slender, downhill 424 yard par 4 with a creek running through the hole at about 220 yards. At 176 yards, the 11th is a bland par 3 playing to a large green. The 12th hole is a gentle dogleg left playing a stout 408 yards uphill. Finding this tree-lined fairway is necessary if you want any chance at making par. After a long 194 yard par 3, the 14th is a strong 514 three-shot par 5 that plays uphill the entire way. Tight and tree-lined, the second shot here is completely blind.

IMG_0527
The uphill tee shot on 14

At 157 yards, the short 15th was the blandest par 3 on the course, only notable for a metal shed behind the green that acts a backstop for long approaches. The finishing three holes are pretty fantastic tests. At 369 yards, the 16th runs straight uphill to a narrow back-to-front sloped green. A bunker on the right side of this fairway 230 yards out catches many drives including mine. The 17th is a beautiful downhill 500 yard par 5 that plays straightway with houses on both sides of the fairway. A strategically placed bunker just short of the green catches balls that try to run on the green. At 403 yards, the intimidating finishing hole is a strong hole unlike the final hole on the front side. Playing uphill and to the left, this hole features a water carry of at least 160 yards to reach a generous tree-lined fairway.

Best Par 3: 7th Hole, 151 yards, 13th handicap. My favorite of the 5 par threes at Trophy Club, this medium length hole features a heavily undulating elevated green guarded by a giant, deep bunker in front. Beware: balls left of this green will run down a hill into the creek.

Best Par 4: 5th Hole, 351 yards, 3rd Handicap. The most interesting hole on the entire course, this gorgeous par 4 runs straight downhill bordered by tall pines on both sides of a wide fairway. About 60 yards short of this green, the fairway runs out into a giant gorge you must carry. This green runs severely back-to-front and apparently was so difficult that it had to be flattened a few years ago.

IMG_0524
View of the 5th from the tee

Best Par 5: 17th Hole, 500 yards, 12th handicap. I didn’t find any of these par fives particularly memorable, but the most enjoyable was the reachable 17th. From an elevated teebox, you must navigate a tight fairway lined by houses on both sides. A deep bunker short right of this green makes it so you have to carry your approach shot to the putting surface.

General Comments: There’s some great variety in these holes, and the designer used the natural terrain and elevation changes to make this course extremely aesthetically pleasing. The range wasn’t in amazing shape, but driver was allowed which is a plus. Pace of play was slow, and the course seems like the kind of course that gets a ton of play.

Verdict: This is a fun course with some great holes and views. It’s affordable and in pretty good condition, making it an option for those in the Atlanta area, an area that is saturated with very good golf.

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