This week’s review covers a course I have wanted to play for awhile and finally got the chance to recently.

City Club Marietta is a municipal golf course in Marietta, GA. Although my impression of munis is usually that they’re not up to snuff, I had higher hopes for this course. I thought I had played all of the munis in and around Atlanta, so it was good to see that there was another out there.

In reality, the course was better in my imagination.

City Club Marietta is a very, very short course located on an old military site. The terrain is fairly undulating, with a large hill leading down into a valley through which the holes play, the hill being perhaps the most notable feature of the course.

At under 6,000 yards, the course is EXTREMELY short. It almost feels like playing an executive course. Par 5s are not greater than 500 yards, which seems very odd when coming from some other courses around. The course makes up for some of the length loss with tightness. However, nothing can make up for it completely. For example, the second hole is a 250-yard par 4. Even though it’s a dogleg with trees and a little uphill, I can probably hit a 4-wood onto this green from the tee box. And the trouble near the green isn’t so daunting that I would shy away from hitting it either. Although I admire some holes under 300 yards for being cleverly designed, this one does not offer any “risk” to go with the reward of going for the green.

Speaking of, the greens are nothing more than OK. I was surprised to find that they were bent grass, but they were not tight, had inconsistencies, and generally were just OK. Moreover, the course was not marshalled. My friend and I played the front 9 in about an hour and a half, but got caught behind a slow group that never let us through on the back side.

This course reminded me of Cobb County’s version of Bobby Jones Golf Course. Each county has a muni that plays about the same way. It’s designed to be very easy so beginners can play it, but inevitably it is just too much hassel to be worth playing for an experienced player. Moreover, they’re too expensive. $39/person on a weekday afternoon is WAY too much to play this course.

One interesting note as well: driving to the course feels very strange. The clubhouse sits as a nice, southern building. However, it appears that a Hilton was built next to the clubhouse a number of years ago. As such, when driving into the parking lot of the course, there is almost no signage to tell you that you are in the correct place. Instead, you see giant Hilton signs to the massive Grecian Empire hotel. Only when you near the front of the hotel do you find a sign directing you to the golf course on the left. Although it makes for an interesting view from the fairway on 9 and 18, the course has a strange feel to it–almost as if the hotel is an insane asylum, or the hotel from The Shining.

Moreover, the course is in an odd spot. Although it’s not far from Marietta, it’s kind of difficult to get to. I felt like there was too much driving away from the highway for as close as it looked on the map.

On a high note, however, I hit what is probably one of the top shots of the year for me. A 355-yard downhill par 4 10th, this was the result:

That is my ball mark to the right of the pin. Literally, I LANDED 5 feet right of the stick. Although I missed the eagle putt, that ball was KILLED. So that was a high point. The view from the tee is below, although you can’t see the green (it doglegs to the right).

All in all, the course is just not up to snuff. Too short, too bad of shape, too crowded. At $39/person, I would recommend skipping this one.

Cost: 2/10
Maintenance: 3/10
Greens: 3/10
Layout: 2/10
“Fun” factor: 3/10
Proximity to the City: 2/10
Overall: 2/10

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 http://www.atlantagolfpics.com/BridgeMill/bridgemill1.htm