By Tommy Jennings
Spring carefully emerges from its Winter hiding place in these parts in a rather disjointed manner. The lilies come first, popping out of their shoots, slowing down during our ice and cold of February, then with a shrug, decide to go ahead and make an appearance. What follows is a visual euphony of color, a tint of pollen, and a subsequent warm feeling all over, both from the new greenery and the warmer temperatures.
Right on the heels of Spring’s release, is a signal to untold numbers of folks whose thoughts are freshened with a sense of their own renewal. It’s a time of pleasure. It’s a season of beginnings. It’s The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. The message of The Masters is to remind those dormant golfers that it’s time to bring those golf clubs out of hibernation.
The spectacular visual displays of The Masters on big screen televisions serve to emphasize the color and splendor of Spring and the glory and splendor of golf in Georgia. There are tons of golf courses just two hours away from Augusta National. These wonderful golf courses are emerging from Winter and are brilliant, vibrant displays of Spring in Georgia.
We’re fortunate to have access to more than our fair share of golf choices. Over 50 years ago, a nine-hole golf course grew out of some farmland, to become Jug Tavern Golf Course. A few years later, another nine holes were added, to make Barrow County’s first, and finest, 18-hole track.
The course grew popular. Golfers from the Atlanta area, looking for a course not as crowded, came to Winder to play. With a change in ownership, the name changed to Crossed Arrows Golf Course and another change brought another name, Pine Hills Golf Club.
On the other side of the county, near I-85, a new development was fermenting. A winery was taking shape. Chateau Élan was growing into something few locals could imagine. It was a tourist attraction with a golf course. A second course was added, and then a 9-hole Par 3 course, and it suddenly was a golf resort with a tourist attraction. Finally, with great fanfare, a third course grew to become The Legends Course at Chateau Élan because golf legends Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, and Kathy Whitworth provided their input in course design.
The Georgia Club, a live/play development, grew out of the land close to Highway 316. 27 holes, designed by Dennis Griffiths, wound its way around gorgeous houses cited on the property.
The Chimneys Golf Course in Winder is the final piece of the golf course puzzle. Using the land to its maximum, with lakes and streams running throughout the 18 holes, The Chimneys became the true “local” course. Recently purchased by the City of Winder, it offers Winder residents a choice of a wonderfully-maintained course, and terrific bentgrass greens, just like Augusta National.
Spring has a few central themes – renewal, rebirth, refresh. Golf here, just as in Augusta in Spring, is just as meaningful.
It’s time to play. Again.