Atlanta Athletic Club Renovating Highlands Course
Improvements include regrassing greens and fairways, improving tees and bunkers.
Atlanta Athletic Club will undergo improvements to its famed Highlands Course in the spring of 2016. Golf course architect, Rees Jones will lead a team that includes golf course builder Landscapes Unlimited and turfgrass supplier Pike Creek Turf, Inc.
With the success of the improvements Jones has made over the years to both the Highlands and Riverside courses in which both courses were redesigned and rebuilt to bring the courses up to today’s equipment standards, the club did not hesitate to ask him to return to reevaluate the Highlands Course.
“We asked Rees to come and meet with the club representatives to reevaluate the Highlands Course for member play and to advise us as to how we could improve on players overall course experience” general manager Kevin Carroll said.
The scope of the work includes the addition of forward tees and the repositioning of select member tees, regrassing of the fairways and green surfaces, evaluating bunkers which will include the rebuilding and removal of select bunkers and replacement of all bunker sand, creating new fairway chipping areas to protect the green surfaces, and rebuilding No. 14 green to increase the number of hole locations.
“We have worked with the club to identify areas to reduce maintenance costs while still providing a quality experience for all levels of players” Jones said. “Improving the course’s playability by adding forward tees and reevaluating the balance of sand on the course will help the club reach its goals of providing an enjoyable playing experience for all levels of the membership while still having the ability to host a championship event.”
Landscapes Unlimited has been selected to construct the course improvements. Jones has recently completed projects with Landscapes Unlimited at Griffin Gate Golf Club in Lexington, Ky., and Ballantyne Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. Upcoming projects planned with Jones’ team include Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, N.C. and Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, Ga.
Pike Creek Turf, Inc. has been selected to provide all of the turfgrass for the Highlands project. TifEagle on the green surfaces, Zorro Zoysia on the tee and fairway surfaces, TifGrand for the green surrounds and Tifway 419 in the roughs.
Atlanta Athletic Club has selected R.W. Sidley, Inc to provide Pro/Angle bunker sand. The company manufactures the original 100 percent Angular Bunker Sand created through a specialized process that fractures silica quartz pebbles into angular particles creating the most playable, weather resistant bunker sand on the market.
Rain Bird Corporation will provide new irrigation heads and their IC (Individual Control) Technology. This operating system will provide the most efficient use of water as well as providing firm and fast championship conditions every day.
Home of legendary golfer Bobby Jones, Atlanta Athletic Club is steeped in history and tradition. The club has hosted both the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs, as well as the PGA Championships in 1981, 2001 and 2011.
The club moved to its present location in the late 1960s. Rees’ father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., designed the club’s Riverside Course and nine holes of the Highlands Course, completing work in 1967. The club then hired Joe Finger to add nine holes to the Highlands Course in 1971. Both courses are located on rolling land accented by water features.
Rees Jones, who has worked with the club since 1994 on both its Highlands and Riverside courses, is known as “The Open Doctor” for the many courses he has redesigned in preparation for major competitions. His work on the Highlands Course was in advance of both the 2001 and 2011 PGA Championship.