It’s always a wonderful day when you get to spend the afternoon at St. Marlo Country Club.
The course is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in the Atlanta area. The stacked stones on some of the fairways accentuates some great conditions, with outstanding fairways and some solid, tricky bentgrass greens.
St. Marlo is a lot of fun to play, but is a challenge for players of all skill level. The 6,923 yards from the gold tees is deceptive, since some holes won’t allow the big hitter to swing a driver, and the 140 slope is certainly appropriate. And there are some narrow driving holes, too. Our group played the whites, which were plenty long at 6,356 yards.
The first hole is a good indication of what you’ll see. It’s a little dogleg to the right with a pond to the side. There’s plenty of landing area on the left, which sets up a nice approach shot into the green. But if you want to be bold and cut the corner, there’s an soft spot to land — if your lucky — to leave a shot pitch.
The most difficult hole is No. 12, a 428-yard par 4 that plays over a hill with a slight turn to the right. Anything hit to the right is in trouble and the green is bunkered on the right. This is one that will leave you crying.
The ninth hole is one of the most puzzling in Atlanta. It’s a 388-yard par 5 that requires a drive over a creek that seems to snatch balls out of the air. The fairway plays uphill to a very small green. The green is extremely elevated and has a large rock outcropping that acts as a sentry. You’ve got to carry the green because anything that hits short will roll down the hill and leave you with another 50-yard pitch. Play it smart with a driver, 6-iron and wedge and you’ll probably increase your odds of making par. Anything else and you may want to check your blood pressure because this hole causes it to blow for many people.
The par 3s at St. Marlo are outstanding. Each one brings water and sand into play. They may be the best set of par 3s on any course in the metro Atlanta area.
Designer Denis Griffiths did a great job with this project. Griffiths is one of of the most underrated architects in the business. He always delivers, but never seems to get the credit he deserves. It looks great and offers something for everyone. It’s a course you could play every day and always find something new to challenge you.