by John Kim
Once again Davis Love III has dazzled the golfing world, this time not as a PGA championship player but as a course designer. Love, a Georgia native, has succeeded at creating a beautiful, challenging signature course that blends into the natural environment of the rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau weaving its way through a charming community.
Windermere has been met with approval of golfers since it opened in June of 2000, making it one of the preeminent courses in the North Atlanta area. The par-71 course makes good use of the hilly environment forcing golfers to experience frequent changes in elevation at the tees, on the fairway and the greens.
Setting up your round: The course has become exactly what I thought it would - a favorite of the golfing public. Weekday times are usually available, though not always when you'd want. Book at least a day or two in advance. Weekend play is a bit tougher. you probably should call by Wednesday to find any time on the weekend. Expect to get around in 4.25 hours during the week, about twenty minutes longer on the weekend. Call the pro shop at (678) 513 1000 to set up your time.
When you arrive: The course has every amenity you could hope for in a top tier course. A fine practice facility, (range, putting green, etc); the Bill Madonna teaching academy, a fully stocked pro shop, a very nice sit down restaurant, etc. Arrive early and warm up, stay late for a drink after the round. Don't worry too much about a yardage book, the carts here have a GPS system on them to give you exact yardages and other tips as you play each hole.
Favorite hole: #18 is a short par 5 that will add some real excitement to the end of many matches. If you hit a good drive down the right center of the fairway (it's a blind uphill shot), then you will have a very manageable distance in, if you choose to go for this green in two. Of course, you're approach will also be almost entirely over water, but that only adds to the fun. I had an eight foot eagle putt (blew it!), but what a fun way to end the round.
Least favorite hole: I am not a fan of hole #15. You have to hit a big sloping fairway here, and then have an awkward downhill lie to a green that will be at least 150 yards away. You can't hit a driver on this dogleg right hole, the fairway ends 220 yards away. You still need to get it out at least 190 yards to have a look at the green. The fairway drops severely after the 150 yard marker and then rises again to the green. There is no room to miss right, the green slopes hard back to front, and there is a bunker in the back.
Overall: I really enjoyed Windermere. The course was in excellent condition, the staff was exceptional, and the amenities were top notch. I'd probably tweak a few holes here and there, but that's really nit-picking. I'm not going to say I could teach DLIII a thing or two about golf design. Everyone that I've talked to about the course has been extremely enthusiastic. In a short amount of time, the course has become a fixture of the golfing community. Next to his PGA Championship, I'd venture Davis Love III might call this his best work. Regardless, if you haven't, you need to come out and play here. Davis and I would both agree, we think you'll "Love" it.