First, I must apologize for our recent absence from posting. LG and I have run into a number of more important things, and until blogging starts paying us, I’m afraid we must split our pursuits. Thank you to our loyal readers for your support.


Today I review a golf course that I really like–for whatever reason, I’m not sure–Bradshaw Farm. Located in Woodstock, GA, Bradshaw farm is a 27-hole golf course with a really nice layout (at least, part of it; we’ll discuss later). The course is nestled over and around rolling hills and plays down into a valley for part of it. The bentgrass greens are typically in OK shape, although they were a little torn up on my most recent visit. With an abundance of water and a number of different hole shapes, the course has an interesting feel to it.

At first drive into the parking lot, the most obvious feature of the golf course is the bright red barn that is used for the clubhouse. Although the course has feelings of a once-private conversion to public, I cannot recall the course ever being private.

Bradshaw Farm is currently run by American Golf Corporation, who I have previously commented on in As such, my expectations for this course are never very high. However, when I go, I am usually surprised by how interesting I find the layout to be.

As seen in the scorecard below, none of the three nines is over 3,500 yards from the tips. The course feels shorter than that as well, as playing down major slopes gives the feeling that the player can hit the ball a long way. Many tee shots are hit through a shoot over trees that opens into a fairway. The bunkering is well-placed not only to push the player in the correct direction, but also, many of the bunkers will save players from losing a ball, providing a less-penal alternative to a lost-ball penalty or a hazard drop. The course has several “blind” shots, but it is usually clear which direction you must hit the ball. I rarely feel as though a shot is unfair or that I have no options.

My tee time was the first of the day. In the photos below, the eerie mist that seems to cover the Georgia mountains in the morning looms over the course.

The course provides an excellent opportunity to see some of the beautiful country of northern Georgia, including a horse-farm that touches two holes.

The original course had only 18 holes, which are currently the “red” and “white” nines. The “blue” nine was added later. In my opinion, the red and white nines are clearly superior to the blue. The red–one of my favorite tracks in all of Georgia–starts off with a daunting 70-foot drop to a bunkered fairway followed by a shot over a creek to the green. The following holes play up, down, and around large slopes in the fairways and provide many interesting looks at greens (the photo above of the red barn is the 9th hole of the red nine).

The white nine retains some of the character that the red nine has, but it is much more flat. The photos below show the first tee of the white nine. As this tee shot plays into a valley, the remaining holes have little elevation change.

The blue nine is a strange and poorly-laid out nine. The holes are essentially flat and have many places where even a shot in the fairway leaves a blocked approach. The blue nine can allow a player to hit good shots without scoring and hit bad shots while scoring. Altogether, it plays similarly to the other two nines but lacks the character of a well-planned golf course.

As for the drawbacks, Bradshaw Farm’s first knock is that it is run by American Golf. Perhaps in association with that, the course closes one of the three nines every day, and unless you call ahead you cannot tell which one will be. Although typically the course plays red to white, white to blue, blue to red, that has been changed in the recent trips I’ve had to the course. Also, for my trip at the beginning of the summer, the greens were well-maintained, quick, and receptive. At my most recent trip, they were sandy, spotty, and slow. This inconsistency makes me wonder what I will be getting on each trip and generally makes me not want to drive 45-minutes to an hour away on the off chance that the course will be in bad shape. At $40 or so on a weekday, it’s a toss-up as to whether I’ll return regularly.

Maintenance: 6
Layout: 8
Price: 5
Proximity to Atlanta: 6
Management: 1
Overall: 7

After about a 13-year hiatus, I recently had the opportunity to return to a good golf course in Alpharetta known as the Trophy Club of Atlanta. At 6:52AM on a Thursday morning, the course was only $29/person on, so I decided it was a good chance for me to return. Before my review, I’ll give a little background to this club.

For those who don’t know, there have been several major players in the Atlanta golf scene over the years. Most of the conglomerations end up dissolving somehow. The current such conglomeration is Canongate Golf Clubs, which has privatized many courses around the perimeter of the city of Atlanta, specifically bringing in distressed public and formerly independently private clubs with the allure of corporate funding. Although it’s a neat idea, it hasn’t panned out well as the membership rates have continued to dwindle over the years. Before Canongate, Eagle Greens had purchased a number of courses in Northeast Atlanta (between Atlanta and Athens, generally), but they went out fast in a blaze of glory.

However, before all of these was a small coalition of courses known as the Champions Club. Champions Club originally owned Champions Club of Gwinnett, Champions Club of Atlanta, and Champions Club of Appalachee. The “Champions” logo went under and was rebranded under new ownership, the “Trophy Club.” The Trophy Club of Gwinnett eventually cut out of the group and became the Country Club of Gwinett. The two remaining Trophy Clubs were eventually bought by mega-conglomerate American Golf Corporation. I’ll spare you all a rant on American Golf Corporation, but needless to say, they’re not one of my favorite management companies.

What does this mean for today? Well, not a whole lot. The course is what it is. However, what it tells you is that the course shares a shell with some “sister” courses in the area, all being similarly short, tight designs that are generally well-laid out and fair. Understanding these things can let a player know whether to go to either of the other two courses, assuming the player forms an opinion after playing one of them.

The reason I haven’t played this course in 13-or-so years is not because I dislike the layout. In fact, I have played Country Club of Gwinnett many times in the last few years (not since this blog started, though. Maybe I need to return. Hmmmm). It’s just that 1) it’s in Alpharetta, which is a ways from my usual stomping grounds, and 2) it used to cost far too much. The only reason I played it before was that I had a junior golf tournament there. I still remember driving out with my dad. The course was pristine back then. I played terribly but I remembered the course well. Some of those holes stuck with me all this time. Quite an interesting memory.

But enough mumbo jumbo…on to the review.

Trophy Club of Atlanta (in its current iteration) is a public golf course in Alpharetta, GA. The course features champion bermuda greens which both my playing partner and I found to be unbelievably challenging in that their speed on downhill putts was TREMENDOUSLY faster than the speed on uphill putts. Although they are certainly well-kept, it seemed as if breaks were very hard to read because the influence of the hills was so tremendous. A downhill putt would roll so quickly that it didn’t take the break. An uphill putt was very much influenced by grain. Those who read our blog regularly know that LG and I are very into putting, and a good putting experience (not necessarily putting up great numbers, but enjoying our experience) is important to an enjoyable round.

What I did find interesting is that, at 6700 yards from the tips, the course is an interesting 72.5 rating. Many of the holes are short but tight, requiring precise driving to keep the ball in play. My playing partner and I hit a lot of irons off the tee (and, I’m sad to admit, many of them were very poor). While it’s a completely different feeling from hitting drivers all day (which can wear you out mentally), it certainly wasn’t easy.

The upside to this, however, is that the greens for most par 5s were reachable for me, even from the back tees. Of the four par 5s, I hit 7-iron right of #2, 5-iron just short of #9, 6-iron onto #10, and 3-iron onto #18 (into wind). I do hit the ball fairly long (drives in the 310-range), but two of the holes were manageable even if I didn’t have quite the length advantage that I do.

Interestingly as well, the course plays around a rather large man-made lake in the center of the property, just like Country Club of Gwinnett, with other holes winding through neighborhoods. Shot making is pretty critical, and it just so happened that I had a good ballstriking day, but keeping the ball in play is CRITICAL on this course.

At $29 with cart, the course was definitely worth the cost.

As always, however, I must state that there are several drawbacks. First, the greens. Bermuda just sucks. Any course that has it is not going to get much credit from me. So far, the only course I’ve played where the bermuda was not noticeably different from bent was at East Lake Golf Club (site of the Tour Championship). Even there, however, the underpinning of the surface was VERY hard, so stopping the ball on approach shots (especially with V-grooves) is not an easy task. These greens were highly variant in speed from one green to the next, and many breaks were unreadable due to the influence of the grain on the speed. Lipping out 10-foot putts is not a fun way to play the game, and it happened to me all day. Additionally, the rough is inconsistent. In some places, it was no different from the fairway, in others it was hardpan, and in others we literally lost balls because they were sitting down in the thick shrubbery. Although I don’t mind SOME risk/reward holes where I might have to take out a 5-iron on certain days, the par 4s on this course were abominably short. Only 3/10 par 4s on the entire golf course (we played the first hole from forward tees on the starter’s request) were over 400 yards, and the ones that were shorter were WELL short–339, 326, 367, 374. While the layout was interesting, there were many spots where you could get in A LOT of trouble without knowing it would be so bad (just like Country Club of Gwinnett, which now I am feeling more and more like I should review). A few trips around the course doesn’t guarantee you’ll know where to hit it either. It had good elevation changes on some holes and really ugly layouts for others. And many of the holes played too close to houses.

All-in-all, the course was definitely worth the price of admission. If it weren’t so far away, I’d probably go back. But knowing it has bermuda greens makes me more hesitant about getting back out there.

Price: 8/10
Condition: 7/10
Greens: 6/10
Green Stimp speed: 7/10
Layout: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Proximity to Atlanta: 5/10
Overall: 7/10

Today, I review Bridgemill Athletic Club.

I recently had the opportunity to play Bridgemill for the first time. The course in Canton, GA, used to be a fully private club but has recently moved to semi-private.

Having never played the course before, my first impressions are always lasting. Typically, I find something to complain about on the layout–either that it is unfair or did not give enough cues as to where to hit the ball or whatnot. Bridgemill, I must say, was extremely fair. There are no truly blind shots, no unknown landing areas, no unfair drops. The closest thing to “unfair” was a hole (I believe #6) where the fairway sloped severely to the right once you got over a hill, but the ball would not be lost just because it was hit there.

At over 7,000 yards from the tips, one would guess that the course played very long. However, I did not get the feeling that the course was out of reach. Many of the par 4’s are under 420 yards. The longer they are, typically the more open they become. I hit a good number of fairway woods from par 4 tee boxes, even from the back tees. Where the course makes up yardage is on the par 5’s. No par 5 is less than 545 yards, and the par 5 9th hole is over 600. The par 3’s are also no joke. Although one is downhill at 173 yards, the others range from about 190 up to 237! The 237-yard 5th is all carry to a large green. Thankfully, there is a bailout right. The signature 199-yard 16th hole, however, has no bailout, being an island green.

Also, the greens were in the best shape of greens I have seen this year. Rolling fast and true, they had no signs of aeration. There were a number of slopes and undulations, including multiple 2-tiered greens, which I enjoy. Moreover, they were bent grass, where so many of the local courses have chosen to go the bermuda route (which I cannot stand).

The clubhouse is very nice, and the practice facility at Bridgemill is top notch. Two practice greens, a nice range, and a bunkered chipping/pitching area were all in fantastic shape, ready for players. Moreover, at $55 on a Thursday morning, the price wasn’t terrible either, at least for the experience. And it isn’t a bad place to hang around–the homes that line the course, simply put, beautiful.

As always, The Bads: The course is a ways from Atlanta. Although it is in a beautiful part–with mountain vistas on the drive in–the drive in was a long one. The staff were a little prickly, as well, pairing us up with a single when there was no apparent reason to do so, as well as “forgetting” to tell us that a shotgun tournament was going to hold us up, and restricting us from going to the first tee before our tee time because “maintenance won’t be done yet.” Still, the course was a great one, and I enjoyed it very much. Although it had rained just the night before, I also must note that the course was pretty soggy.

Layout: 9/10
Greens: 10/10
Fairways: 9/10
Other Maintenance/Upkeep: 10/10
Cost: 6/10
Value: 8/10
Location: 6/10
Staff: 4/10

Overall: 8/10

For more photos of Bridgemill Athletic Club, visit