Gainesville golfers can tee off again at Chattahoochee Golf Club after major renovations that helped bring the course back to its original design.
The club will officially open again Saturday, Oct. 9, and club officials said tee times on Saturday have already filled up until about 2 p.m.
The renovations came in under their expected budget, Director of Golf Rodger Hogan said at the ribbon cutting ceremony, Thursday, Oct. 7. The estimated cost when plans began in November last year was about $2.8 million, but the final cost was around $1.9 million, Hogan said.
The sale of about eight acres of land that was previously part of the club paid for the renovations, City Councilman Zach Thompson said. The Gainesville Redevelopment Authority, which owns the club, was the conduit for selling the land.
The last major renovation to the course was done in 2006, Thompson said, and officials have been considering further changes for a long time.
“One of the stumbling blocks was funding,” Thompson said. “We’ve all been looking forward to these renovations and these greens.”
Hogan had a lot of affection for the design of the golf course before the changes in 2006, which, he said, were made to lengthen the course a bit. Hogan first worked at the club in the 1990s and when he came back in 2009, he was disappointed.
“It was a Robert Trent Jones masterpiece,” he said of the original 1960 design. “I was a little disappointed with how it was changed.”
Jones designed hundreds of golf courses in the U.S. and around the world over a 70-year career, according to the Robert Trent Jones Society, including Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta and many other courses used for professional tournaments.
Lackey said that as soon as he started as city manager in 2015, Hogan asked about renovating the course. In 2021, Hogan’s plan finally came to fruition.
“Since the day I returned, my goal was to somehow, someway return Chattahoochee Golf Course back as close as possible to the original Robert Trent Jones Sr. design,” Hogan said.
The renovations included softening and, for some holes, completely reconstructing greens as well as changing a few holes back to previous designs. The renovations will allow the course to have several hole locations for all greens, he said, and they installed new TifEagle bermuda grass on the greens. Hole 17 is now a par 3, in line with the original design, with a pond in front of the green, bringing “water on the course again,” Hogan said.
As part of the redesign, holes seven and eight were shifted to allow for the sale of land.