Few private or resort courses have the geographical characteristics golf course designer Bob Walker was given when he designed Arrowhead Pointe. In fact, Walker has said that basically the state handed him 400-acres of land within the Richard B. Russell State Park in Elberton, GA and said, “put the course wherever you need to.” And Walker did just that.
This 6,861-yard masterpiece sits on a peninsula on Richard B. Russell Lake and offers some of the best water views and scenic vistas anywhere in the South. Better yet, there are no lakefront homes or even private docks to spoil the view as you make your way around the course.
Arrowhead Pointe Golf Club is not without its share of accolades, having been named the 2nd Best New Affordable Public Course in America by Golf Digest in 2005. It has also been ranked #10 on Golf Advisor’s list of Top 25 courses under $50 and TravelGolf.com placed Arrowhead Pointe on its list of the Top 10 courses in the state of Georgia.
From the back tees, Arrowhead Pointe plays 6,861 yards with a course rating of 72.5 and a slope of 134. Most men will find that the white tees at 5,971 (68.9/119) will give them a challenge and let them enjoy the scenery. If they need more, there’s a fourth set of tees that play 6,458 (70.7/129). Ladies typically play from 5,221 yards (70.4/122). The bottom line is that there is a yardage that is suitable for everyone; just be sure to pick the one that best suits your game and you’re sure to have a good time.
The course was designed back in 2001, but for budgetary reasons, did not open until July 2004. The Georgia State Park system boasts eight high quality golf courses, and while Arrowhead Pointe may not be the most difficult, it has by far the most breathtaking views. Water does come into play on at least 8 holes and thankfully most of what you see does not come into play. When it does, there are no overly long carries over it; hit your ball in the water and odds are that it’s your fault.
In addition to the water hazards, you’ll find some significant elevation changes, tree-lined fairways, a myriad of doglegs – both left and right – and strategically place bunkers, primarily on the peripheries of the fairways. Well-groomed fairways lead to TifEagle Bermuda greens with subtle undulations and very few straight putts. This is one course that seems to have it all.
In creating Arrowhead Pointe, Walker wanted to make the course playable for golfers of all levels of ability. Each hole tends to have a safe route for less experienced players and a more challenging route that provides certain risk/reward opportunities for seasoned golfers. During your round, you may find it necessary to play both routes. Not only will it benefit your scorecard, it will greatly enhance your enjoyment.
The front nine has several interesting holes, most notably the par 5’s. Number 1 is a fairly straightforward hole that plays uphill and considerably longer than the stated yardage. Only the longest of hitters will get on in two; for the rest of us, the landing area is very generous off the tee. A layup down the right side will take the fairway bunker on the left out of play and set up an easy approach. Three good shots and you can tame this hole.
Even Head Golf Professional Barry Johnston says that the par 5, 5th hole is best played as a three-shot par 5. The best way to make birdie is to hit your approach shot close. There’s bunkers in play on both your tee shot and layup shot and the green complex is fronted and flanked by sand as well. The green slopes gently from back to front. Played correctly, this hole can let you put up a low number.
Both par 3’s on the outward nine play uphill and require an extra club or two to compensate. Another similarity: both feature green complexes that are well guarded by bunkers. The toughest hole on the front side is the par 4 6th, a 412 yarder that plays slightly uphill. Favoring the left side off the tee gives the best angle into a long, multi-tiered green. Number 6 provides the first view of the lake and gives you a taste of what’s to come.
The back nine features not only a number of challenging holes, it has some of the most incredible views in all of the state. It all starts on Number 12, a 368-yard par 4 (White Tees) which offers a great view of Lake Richard B. Russell and continues on Number 13, where a finger of the lake juts out and must be carried on this medium length par 3. The lake really steals the show on number 14 (361 yards from the White Tees), where it frames both sides of the fairway, giving the illusion that the hole plays a lot narrower than it really is. Carry the fairway bunker on the left and you’ll have a clear shot uphill to a long, narrow multi-tiered green well protected by bunkers. A front/back pin placement can be a 3 or 4 club difference.
After your round, be sure to visit Arrowhead Pointe’s café, where you’ll find a good selection of traditional clubhouse grub as well as all of your favorite libations. The pro shop is stocked with great looking logoed apparel from a lot of the industry’s top names including Titleist, Antigua and Adidas. There’s also a full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag and trust me, you’ll use every one of them during your round. The practice putting green will give you a pretty good idea of what you will face over the next few hours.
In addition to being a great day trip for golfers in the area, Arrowhead Pointe and the Richard B. Russell State Park makes a great golf buddy destination. The park has 20 cottages that can be rented at a very reasonable rate, especially when split 4 ways. Each cottage has 2 bedrooms, each with two double beds, fireplaces, screened porches, a private dock, patios with barbecue grills and, of course, beautiful views of the lake. In case roughing it is more your style, the park also has 28 camp sites. For more information or to book a tee time or one of the cottages at Richard B. Russell State Park, visit their website at www.arrowheadpointegc.com. For lodging information, click on the Georgia State Parks link on the homepage (www.gastateparks.org). Arrowhead Pointe is a proud member of the Georgia Golf Trail, a collection of some of the finest golf courses in the state. Check them out at www.georgiagolftrail.com.