Southland Country Club
by John Kim
Built in 1990, Southland was a private course for years before opening up for daily fee play recently. Designed by renowned golf course architect Willard Byrd (who also designed Atlanta Country Club), the course offers everything from dramatic elevation changes, to creeks, ponds, granite outcroppings, and even a huge 36 acre lake to make the course distinct and memorable. Stone Mountain even offers a spectacular backdrop for a number of holes. The course was originally a 9 hole course, so holes 4-12 (which are the newer nine holes) are quite different in design and test than the others; another way this course challenges the golfer.
Setting up your round: For a Monday thru Friday round, calling the pro shop a day ahead should afford you the time that you are seeking…or at least, real close to it. On many days, calling the day of might still get you out on the course pretty quick. Weekends need to be set up a few days in advance. The course is in a residential community, so traditionally busy times (Saturday and Sunday mornings, holidays, etc) are going to book up pretty rapidly.
When you arrive: A grille room and pro shop are there for you to stock up as you see fit. Keep in mind, you do not come back by the clubhouse
at the turn so buy food, drinks, and golfballs accordingly. There is a putting green and a range to hit from. The green is in good shape, the range is off of mats and asks that you hit irons only since there are houses a few hundred yards ahead. Use the range to get loose, the balls are a little beat up so don't worry too much about how they fly. The putting green is in great shape and you need to practice there anyway to prepare for this course.
Hole you will love: Hole #18 is the signature hole of this course, and it's easy to see why. One of the best finishing holes in Atlanta, this par 5 can give up a 3 to the brave or a 13 to the dumb. (By the way, the only difference between brave and dumb is how the shot turns out). Driving over an inlet of the huge lake, and with water all the way down the right
side, the hole forces you to think, left, left, left. However, there is o.b. down the left side and depending on where the pin is, you may have to flirt with water for a good angle in. Keep in mind, water cuts in front of
the green as well, and that is blind from the fairway so if you're going to lay up short…think 100 yards short of the green…and…left.
Hole you won't: I'm gonna get some argument here, but I think hole #3 will prove to be the most troublesome for the vast majority of golfers. A long par 3 with no room to miss the green, and a tough green to boot at that! A severe elevation drop makes yardage a guess, the left of the green is total death…a dropoff to who knows where, and the right is a hill that keeps the ball in the rough, trees, or o.b. Maybe you can afford to miss a little short and right, but that's it. If the pin is in the back of this green, it's almost impossible to hit your shot close, because a ball that hits back there will often fly off (and maybe o.b.) and one that hits short of it will stay on the lower tier.
Summary: Eagle Greens Golf (proprietor of several courses such as Providence and The Chimneys) took over Southland with big plans. They have a pretty good starting point, but they also have their work cut out for them. The course has some great stretches, including three great finishing holes, but overall, it's not the best layout. It's almost always in good shape and the prices are a real bargain. Some people really enjoy the course, and I wouldn't find too much fault with that assessment. I just don't happen to share it.