“You want to make sure with a race in which you'll be flying home with other drivers that you don't crash into them. It's happened before, and it can make for a little bit of a tense situation.”
Great Golf: Georgia’s Currahee Club
Creating this beautiful par-72 course required powerful bulldozers—and chutzpah.
he view from the first tee will make your knees buckle. So much for the proverbial “gentle handshake” of an opening hole that genius architect Donald Ross thought ideal. Even he would have given up trying to route the course that makes Currahee Club on Lake Hartwell in Toccoa, Georgia, such a stunning golf destination.
Out here on the Georgia–South Carolina border, 100 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, the Tugalo River swells to form Lake Hartwell. Its crystalline blue waters contrast sharply with the rugged woodland of the Dahlonega Plateau in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A decade ago, veteran course designer Jim Fazio found himself here, staring at the densely compacted contour lines—depicting 250 feet of elevation change overall—of a topographic site survey for a proposed 1,150-acre development.
It took map-reading skill, powerful bulldozers and no small amount of chutzpah to overcome the elements. The result is a gorgeous par-72 golf course, with that opening view that looks out east for miles and subsequent vistas in all directions. An abandoned quarry that Fazio stumbled upon proves ideal for the picturesque, downhill, long par-three 17th hole.
A spacious land plan ensures that the 780 homesites at Currahee are well set back from any golf activity. Residents and guests have the run of a five-acre sports club and a massive practice range with the kind of distracting views that make it hard to work on your game—or not to care if you are struggling. And the 48,000-square-foot, contemporary Tudor manse of a clubhouse manages to feel cozy for golf, dining and private meetings, thanks to the interconnectedness of comfortably sized rooms.
For more information about Currahee Club, visit curraheeclub.com or call (706) 827-1700.
Toccoa-Stephens County Airport/R.G. LeTourneau Field (TOC)has a 5,008-foot runway and is eight miles west of the club. Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) has an 11,000-foot runway and is 80 miles northwest while Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) has a 12,300-foot runway and is 115 miles southwest.
Brad Klein is the architecture editor of Golfweek. His latest book is Wide Open Fairways.