My round at Reynolds’ Oconee course began with a little warm-up… It was a long drive competition and my partner was Stewart Cink. Our opponents were Brian Harmon and an AJGA player and we were hitting balls at the Kingdom, which is the state of the art TaylorMade fitting center at Reynolds. The round obviously wasn’t any random jaunt. I was on a visit for LINKS Magazine after the Masters, staying in the Ritz-Carlton and playing golf over a weekend around Reynolds Lake Oconee (Reynolds Creek Club review).
After a good warm-up and presentation at the Kingdom, I made my way down to the first tee at the Oconee course. Due to cooler temperatures the course wasn’t fully green (mid-April), but everything was in great shape. You get little peeks at the course on the drive to the Ritz-Carlton, so I was eager to get out and play.
The Oconee is a Rees Jones design originally opened in 2001 and renovated by Jones in 2013. I haven’t had tons of experience at Rees Jones courses, but this was one of my favorite that I’ve played.
Hole #1 – 559 yards – A wide fairway allows for an easy tee shot. The approach is a different matter though, with the green protected partially by a lake.
Hole #2 – 397 yards – A slope right of the green kicks balls left onto the putting surface. Avoid the front left bunker.
Hole #3 – 417 yards – The 3rd plays through a sweeping corridor of pines. Add an additional club to the approach shot.
Hole #5 – 171 yards – The 5th is the first of a few big downhill par 3s on the Oconee course. This tee shot plays about 10 yards less with the drop in elevation.
Hole #6 – 356 yards – Hug the left side of this hole to avoid trouble on the right and have the best angle into the green.
Hole #8 – 203 yards – This is the second big downhill par 3 on the front side. Balls short and/or right get a helpful kick off the hillside during firm conditions.
Hole #9 – 435 yards – Don’t miss right!! Aim down the left and know that your ball will kick hard right. This carries through all the way to the green.
Hole #11 – 401 yards – Play your tee shot down the left side of the hole and your approach to the right side of the green. In both cases hills kick your ball to the optimal positions and away from danger.
Hole #12 – 363 yards – This is one of the most picturesque non-lakeside holes on the course. Avoid the creek down the right, even through approach shots to the green.
Hole #13 – 231 yards – The biggest downhill par 3 during the round features the biggest bunker on the course. It is a long hole from these back tees!
Hole #15 – 175 yards – The final stretch is where Lake Oconee comes into play. That front bunker is deadly here, so take an extra club and make sure to clear it. There is more green back there than you think.
Hole #17 – 546 yards – This is one of the holes that you see from the drive into the property. Longer hitters can catch a slope beyond the bunkers and have a chance of reaching the green in two.
Hole #18 – 466 yards – The final hole plays alongside a finger of the lake all the way to the green. It is a long hole from the tips and it serves as a stout finish!
Reynolds Lake Oconee’s Oconee course (say that 10 times fast) made for a very enjoyable round to start the visit. The course is playable and fun, which are becoming my two favorite criteria when judging a round. Would I like the play the course again? Yes. Would it be fun for a range of golfers? Yes. Views? Yes… You get the idea!