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You all know the story of Augusta National - the dream of legend Bobby Jones built in 1933 with Dr Alister McKenzie...

Augusta and The Masters are revered around the world.

But you may not know the story at Peachtree Country Club which was also the brainchild of Bobby Jones.

Jones appointed his namesake - Robert Trent Jones ( Snr ) and built Peachtree CC in 1947 just up the road from Augusta at Atlanta, Georgia.

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Peachtree has always been a very private club and even now only has a few hundred members. It is hard to get a game here - you just have to convince a member to invite you.

The course has a number of sets of tees - unusually all the same colour - and does not readily accommodate lady golfers - although I am assured that ladies do play at Peachtree.

The land at Peachtree is very undulating, and beautifully routed up and down the serious elevation changes. I found probably the most difficult task in negotiating the course was that I was constantly asked to hit longish shots off all sorts of slopes to greens sitting up above me.

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All fairways were lined by majestic pines, and azaleas just coming in to bloom. Throw in some water hazards that were designed to really get into your head - and looked gorgeous- and greens running at around 13 on the stint - and it all sounds a little familiar doesn't it?

Now I have not played Augusta National, but Peachtree looks and feels just like what I think Augusta would. And if Augusta's greens are any quicker than the 12 to 13 on the stimpmeter that Peachtree was running - I just could not cope..

When you arrive on a practice green before your game, and you know the greens are really quick - but still knock every putt 10ft past the hole, the speed of the greens does intimidate...

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I must admit I was really happy with a couple of 2 putt pars to start the round , and with the pin on the 3rd sittting on a high section on the back left of the green over water and bunkers I deliberately played safe and was pin high 2 ft off the green.

The caddy left me with a putter and instructions to hit 4ft right of the hole. This part of the instruction was dutifully followed, but the pace was not quite enough to get up the swale to the hole. As the ball lost momentum it turned until it was trickling across the slope and back toward the front of the green. Barely moving on the glass like surface the ball continued to trickle over what seemed like ages to me until it ran off the front of the green and then down around the front bunker leaving me with a 30 metre pitch.

My pitch was just short of good and excruciatingly slowly made it's way back to my feet. Much to the mirth of my good friend and playing partner Mike Young I recorded a triple bogey 7!

Another example of the speed of the greens was the par 5 , 5th hole where without an approach wedge I played an improvised shot with a pitching wedge to a pin on the front of a 2 tiered green.

With the green elevated I landed beside the pin and ran half way up the swale and back to the pin... and kept trickling off the front of the green, and 20 metres down the hill. I salvaged a par but Mike Young was mightily amused. However even scratch players like Mike can struggle - his birdie putt from above the hole on 5 never stopped until it got to the bottom of the hill - and I filmed it!!

Not many of us get to play a great golf course in such magnificent condition - it certainly was a treat.

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Peachtree was in magnificent shape and I doubt if I will ever play a better prepared course. Although I played poorly today, I doubt if I could play well enough to break my handicap at Peachtree.

The greens and hills make it a tough course.

The members think it is the equal of Augusta - who am I to argue?

 

 

Peter Wood

The Travelling Golfer

April 2013

 

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