72 holes of great public golf in Atlanta

Bear's Best
Courtesy of Bear's Best-Atlanta
The 13th hole at Bear's Best-Atlanta.

The PGA Tour makes its final stop of the season at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. If you're in town, here are four public-access courses you should check out.

BEAR'S BEST-ATLANTA: This is one of two Nicklaus designs (the other is in Las Vegas) where Jack has taken 18 of his best-designed holes and meticulously constructed exact replicas. Golf Magazine's Travelin' Joe raves about the two par 3s from PGA National and Muirfield Village, but the course also includes spectacular holes from Sherwood Country Club, Shoal Creek and Gleneagles in Scotland-home of the 2014 Ryder Cup. ($69-$114, clubcorp.com, 45 minutes from Atlanta)

 

THE FROG AT THE GEORGIAN: This certified Audubon Sanctuary and Tom Fazio design debuted in 1998 west of downtown and begins with a bang: the 457-yard, par-4 opening hole is arguably the toughest on the course. Water is in play on a few holes but large bunkers are the more prevalent hazard. ($40-$85, golfthefrog.com. 1 hour from Atlanta)

ECHELON: Originally known as the Georgia Tech Club, this 2006 Rees Jones design is a straightforward layout that comes with plenty of serious elevation changes, starting off with a par-4 opener that tumbles downward to a large green. You will need to nail down your distances here thanks to many uphill and downhill approaches. ($78-100, echelonliving.com, 50 minutes from Atlanta)

COBBLESTONE GOLF COURSE: Likely your best bargain among this quartet, Cobblestone underwent dramatic renovations in 2010 that included entirely new Bermuda greens as well as some additional bunkering. Reviews since have been overwhelmingly positive. While you may not be pulling every club in your bag, eight holes along Lake Acworth, including some daring par 3s, make Cobblestone a worthy value. ($56-$65, cobblestonegolf.com, 40 minutes from Atlanta)

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