Golf Augusta, Georgia’s other storied Green.
By Bill Bauer
Recently, I asked a few golfing buddies if they wanted to join me and play Augusta, Georgia.
Needless to say, their heads turned, and in less time than it takes to stick a tee in the ground, they jumped at the chance.
Then I had to tell then that I wasn’t talking about Augusta National, home every April to the Masters, but that we would be playing another esteemed course just a few miles down the road: The Forest Hills Golf Club.
They still jumped at the opportunity, however, when I told them it was steeped in history dating back to the Bobby Jones era and was the course where he won the 2003 Southeastern Open, just prior to heading across the pond and capturing the first two legs of the infamous Grand Slam of Golf!
Established in 1926, Augusta University’s Forest Hills Golf Club is a much-loved staple within golf community in Augusta, Ga., and home to college golf events where future greats like Phil Mickelson (1989), Davis Love III (1981, 1982) and others competed. Forest Hills was originally designed by world-renowned golf course architect Donald Ross and was renovated by the Arnold Palmer Company in 2004. Continuing its long-standing tradition of excellence, Forest Hills is repeatedly named “Best Public Golf Course” by Augusta Magazine and offers traditional Southern topography with level, rolling fairways surrounded by magnificent trees.
Playing at Forest Hills gave us that Masters “feel.” As we drove onto the meticulously manicured property, a gorgeous and well-appointed white clubhouse that’s home to the pro shop and grill overlooked the course. The 419 Bermuda fairways were lined with towering pines and after the first cut of rough, long leaf pine needles awaited an errant tee shot or two. And as you would expect, the azaleas were ready to bust as is true every April. Strategically placed fairway bunkers, typical of Donald Ross designs, required precise tee shots and lightning fast, tifeagle greens were well protected by steep bunkers, swales, and mounds. Areas overseeded with rye greened up the dormant Bermuda. The par 3’s were simply beautiful to play from any of the four tee boxes. The silver tees fit our game and we closed our eyes and imagined landing a full carry, over the water tee shot to the par 3th 16th, and hearing the roar of the patrons as our golf ball rolled toward the pin. The par 5’s were easily reachable in three, but it was evident that big hitters could chance a second shot at the green seeking a good shot at eagle. Needless to say, our first round will not be our last. It was a grand day in Augusta!
Whether you are coming to Augusta to attend the Masters or just hang out in the city that turns green and white at this time of year, plan to play golf in Augusta at one of the area’s top courses for a special package price. Augusta’s population swells for the event, and just about everything but the pimento cheese sandwiches costs a bit more as well, but Forest Hills Golf Club continues to hold the line and once again has opened its tee sheet for the week of the Championship, from April 2-9, 2018. Advance reservations for Forest Hills Masters Week play are now being accepted at a cost of $170 per golfer, with a lunch buffet, range balls and cart included.
“We are excited to welcome visitors and locals to play where some of golf’s most notable professionals have played at Forest Hills. Each year we aim to help guests celebrate the prestigious Masters Tournament by offering special rates that elevate the week from a spectator sport to an immersive week-long golf experience,” said Dan Elliott, PGA, general manager of Forest Hills.
Masters ticketholders enjoy playing golf in Augusta while they’re in town for the highly anticipated event. “The city of Augusta comes alive during the Masters, and that week is an unbeatable time to experience our course and the area while it’s in the international spotlight,” Elliot said. “Golf play during Masters Week has become a tradition for professional and amateur golfers alike, and here at Forest Hills we are honored to be a proven part of that tradition.” Nearly 1300 of Forest hills 35,000 rounds of golf each year come during Masters Week.
Forest Hills offers a $60 replay fee for golfers wanting to play a second round on the same day as their package. Elliott recommends that replay tee times be reserved when they make their initial tee time. Forest Hills is also running a $75 Twilight Special including cart and range balls for tee times after 4 p.m. The club extends Masters Week to Monday, April 9, with a special $60 package on that day including cart and range balls; it does not include lunch.
Reservations are rain or shine; a club credit will be issued if weather forces the course to be closed. Prices are plus tax. For information on cancellation policy and other details, visit http://www.theforesthillsgolfcourse.com/golf-course/masters-week. To make a reservation, call 706-733-0001 or email Elliott directly at delliott@TheForestHillsGolfCourse.com.
– Photos courtesy Bill Bauer
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.