BridgeMill Athletic Club Course Review
by John Kim
Designed by world-reknowned golf architect Desmond Muirhead and Georgia's own 1987 Master's Champion and PGA standout Larry Mize, Bridge Mill certainly has the names and pedigree to be a great course. Managed by HMS (same group that does Bentwater and Towne Lake), Bentwater opened to great fanfare and high expectations.
Setting up your round: Bridge Mill has always had plans to go private, so be sure to call before heading up to Canton to play. I've been told they could go private at "any time", by that's been the line for a few years. Weekend times are tough to find unless you call early in the week, but Monday through Thursday should find spots for you the day before, possibly even the day of if you're lucky.
When you arrive: A complete practice facility, superb pro shop, and one of the best restaurants (on a golf course) to be found anywhere in Atlanta await you as you pull up. The golf staff is very proud of their practice facilities, and they should be. The range is spacious with well marked flags to hit towards, the putting green is large and in great shape. There is even a short game practice area for chipping and bunker work.
Hole you will love: No question, #16. Bring a camera....and lots of golf balls. (Alright, so I hit one in - doesn't mean you will). This is one of the most scenic par threes I've seen in Atlanta - almost a cross between the famous #17 at TPC Sawgrass and something you might find at Augusta. The green is larger than it looks from the tee (not large enough! thank you very much) but danger lurks everywhere around the hole...I mean everywhere.
Hole you won't: #13 is a par 5 that is quite simply, a bear. This long par 5 requires a tee shot with the accuracy of a 5 iron and distance of a driver. The second shot must navigate a tree and a creek (if you can carry it on your second shot) and your approach is uphill to a green with bunkers back and front of it. Good luck.
Overview: Bridge Mill is a good course, though I'm not sure I'd grant it "great course" status. Too many blind shots and uphill greens for my liking, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy the layout. There's a hole or two that probably needs to be tweaked, but for the most part, it's a good, fair, challenging test. Many, many scenic vistas of the North Georgia Mountains are an added plus. The course is typically in great shape and the staff is unfaillingly helpful and accomodating.