Great Waters, the highly-acclaimed Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee, in Greensboro, Ga., will undergo a total renovation starting in June 2018, and will involve personal input from Nicklaus and oversight from his Nicklaus Design Team. The Great Waters renovation will be led by Design Associate Chad Goetz, who has been with Nicklaus Design for 18 years and is one of the few designers in the world who has earned membership into the American Society of Golf Course Architects and European Institute of Golf Course Architects.
Great Waters, which is celebrating its 27th anniversary this year, will receive a total turf replacement, new greens, bunkers, tees, water features, and irrigation systems, as well as cart path replacement. Drainage and other elements of the course’s infrastructure, plus an assessment of the trees, and the practice facility are included in this comprehensive “reinvention’’ of the community’s premier golf course. The Nicklaus layout will remain loyal to the original design.
Great Waters expected to re-open in Fall 2019. This restoration is the latest in an ever-widening list of improvements made to the golf courses, clubhouses and other facilities since MetLife’s investment in Reynolds Lake Oconee in 2012.
“Our desire is to keep the course true to Mr. Nicklaus’s original vision while modernizing the course where appropriate – and prudent – and adding length where available,” said Rabun Neal, president of Reynolds Lake Oconee.
Great Waters is a dramatic layout that offers some of the most breathtaking golf scenery in the Southeast. The parkland-style front nine plays over rolling hills and through thick forest, with water in play on six holes, most notably the par-4 fifth, where a creek crisscrosses the fairway and cuts in front of the green; a stone wall and the Nicklaus Bridge add to the hole’s splendor. The ninth is the first of the lake holes – the water edging in along the right side of the green.
The back nine is a completely different experience, as the final eight holes are on Lake Oconee. Playing on the lake-encircled peninsula, the back-nine holes include the short par-4 11th, where the green juts into the lake, causing left-side hole locations to make the flagstick appear to be floating. The par-3 14th is one of the most photographed holes in the Southeast, with its green sitting along the Lake Oconee shoreline.
“The first time I went to Reynolds, I knew we had the potential to have a great golf course,” Nicklaus said. “I think we found it then, and now more than a quarter of a century later, a wonderful golf experience remains but is in need of a little updating. It’s one of the really great pieces of property with which I have ever had the experience to work.”
Reynolds Lake Oconee has 117 holes of golf, all designed by legendary golf architects, including Nicklaus, Rees Jones and Tom Fazio. In addition to golf, the Reynolds community offers a wide array of recreational opportunities along the more than 350 miles of Lake Oconee shoreline.