The Takeaway: Grade B+
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1967; Rees Jones renovation in 2003
Phone Number: (770) 448-2166
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Atlanta Athletic Club (Riverside)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 1930 Bobby Jones Drive, Johns Creek, Georgia 30097
Accolades: Ranked 9th in Georgia on Golf Course Gurus' Best in State list. Host of the 1990 Women's U.S. Open (Betsy King).
What to Expect: The Atlanta Athletic Club has roots to Bobby Jones when the phenom grew up playing on the East Lake Country Club course and continued to be an active member after the club was moved north to its current Johns Creek location. Riverside is the less acclaimed course of the two at AAC, but the more beloved track of the membership. The course looks more intimidating than it plays and features a handful of attractive water hazards along the way. Large trees line the fairways and the Chattahoochee River comes into play on the back nine following Rees Jones’ reversing of three of the holes in 2003. AAC has the unique setup where different grass types are found at each course and thus delivering a unique experience (Diamond Zoysia fairways and Ultra Dwarf Bermuda greens on Highlands and Zion Zoysia fairways and Bentgrass greens on Riverside). If you want to put your skills to the ultimate test then Highlands is awaiting your visit, but if you want a fun course to place bets on with your buddies than Riverside is the call of the day.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th Hole – 586 Yard Par 5 – Riverside's finishing hole provides one of the finest backdrops at the entire complex. This par five is lined by trees and finishes at a green that is fronted by a pond and boasts Atlanta Athletic Club's impressive clubhouse as the background. This hole is a common favorite among the members and certainly one of the most memorable.
Best Par 3: 6th Hole – 200 Yards – Riverside is more player friendly than the neighboring Highlands course, but Riverside's 6th hole stacks up with Highland's challenging par threes. Tipped out at 200 yards, this beautiful one-shotter plays over a pond to a green that is protected by a bunker on the left. Unlike the Highlands course that features elevated tees on its par threes, #6 at Riverside plays flat and represents the best and toughest three par on the track.
Best Par 4: 14th Hole – 393 Yards – The 14th at Riverside reflects the course's namesake by playing along the historic Chattahoochee River. Doglegging to the left, trees and the river hand out to the right while a pond covers the left side of the hole. A pin tucked in the back left portions of the green will make you pucker as the pond looms to the left and a bunker that wraps around the entire rear.
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 586 Yards – Already featured as the signature hole, the 18th at Riverside turns left and provides a risk/reward approach shot to a green fronted by a pond. The right side of the green can be approached on the ground due to the fairway that runs right up to the putting surface, while approaches towards the left side of the green must be aerial to avoid a watery grave. This is a great finishing hole since it is a par five that creates a birdie opportunity while being challenging enough to create drama at the end of the round.
Birdie Time: 13th Hole – 536 Yard Par 5 – You don’t have to study golf statistics long to understand one simple concept; par fives create scoring opportunities. The 13th hole on the Riverside course is a relatively short downhill par five with little trouble to contend with, thus rating on the scorecard as the easiest par five on the course. The right side of the green houses a large bunker, but plenty of room exists to the left while attacking this green. You can get away with a bad shot here and still card a birdie, so get your confidence up and take a stroke, or two, back from old man par.
Bogey Beware: 1st Hole – 616 Yard Par 5 – When you see a 600+ yard hole on the card, you likely don’t plan on reaching it in two and would be happy to walk away with a par. When it is the 1st hole of the day however, it can be a nightmare come to life if you haven’t taken the time to warm up. The combination of early round jitters, a monster long hole, and no playing time under your belt is the perfect storm for a potential bogey.