132. Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands)
Robert Trent Jones (1967) / Joseph S. Finger (1971) / Rees Jones (2016)
No course on our rankings has highlighted the value of new turfgrasses better than the Highlands Course at Atlanta Athletic Club. It sets the standards for quality everyday conditions as well as for major championships at Southern venues. Its tees and fairways are newly-developed Zorro Zoysia, which can withstand Atlanta’s coldest winter days. Greens are state-of-the-art TifEagle Bermuda, smooth and pure. Approaches and surrounds of greens are TifGrand Bermuda, which allows them to be mowed very tight for additional bounce. The rough is Tifway 419 Bermuda, a great old standby. The club also recently upgraded its irrigation system. Because each turf has different water demands, a precise individual-head system was installed, each head controlled by the superintendent with a smart phone app, applying moisture only where needed and thus saving water and money. No longer will an errant shot at AAC land behind an irrigation box. There are none anymore.
100 Greatest History: Ranked on America's 100 Greatest: 1979 through 1990. Ranked on America's Second 100 Greatest: 2013 through current. Highest ranking: No. 71 (1989-1990). Previous ranking: 125
Panelist comments, Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands):
"You could host a championship on this course any day of the year, holding a significant challenge for pros and low-handicap amateurs. The rough can be extremely penal, and the greens are not easy to hit and hold. The greens were very firm and fast, forcing your approach shot to be hit very high to hold the green. All the greens are sloped back to front. Multiple bunkers and run-off areas also protect the greens."
"Beautiful course with a variety of holes that mix length and shapes. The natural terrain provides multiple elevation changes thus giving the player drives/approach shots with both a downhill and uphill shots."
"The added water hazards and champion greens have made a difference, increasing difficulty while providing much more variety in required shotmaking."