185. Atlanta Country Club
Willard Byrd & Joseph S. Finger (1965) / Mike Riley (2001)
For over a decade, the most spirited debate in golf was over who really designed the really fine Atlanta Country Club. Both Willard Byrd of Atlanta and Joseph S. Finger of Houston claimed the honor. Both lobbied Golf Digest hard for the architectural credit, but neither provided much supporting documentation. Both architects are deceased now, and from what we can piece together, Byrd landed the original contract in the early 1960s, but was still more land-planner than course architect in those days, so the club brought in Finger to finish the job. We give them both credit for this hilly, strategic design, a solution neither architect would likely have accepted.
100 Greatest/Second 100 Greatest History: Ranked on America's 100 Greatest: 1966 through 1990, 1995-1996 and 2003-2004. Ranked on America's Second 100 Greatest: 2015 to current. Highest ranking: Fifth 10, 1969-1970. Previous ranking: No. 170
Panelist comments, Atlanta Country Club:
"This course checks all the boxes. Some of the longer holes featured some really nice strategic options where if you challenged a bunker or hazard off the tee there was a significant payoff."
"Elevation changes allows nice variety of holes, but also incorporates a front stretch of flat, lakeside then creekside holes. Oaks, creeks and bunkering used as significant obstacles and strategy influencers. Creeks and water features add to aesthetics."
"When you drive in and see ranch style white clubhouse with rocking chairs, where every flower and blade of grass is perfect, you know you are entering a special place. Landscaping had very much of an Augusta-like feel."
"Straight forward design that winds its way through picturesque forests and creeks. There are not a lot of risk reward shots and the driver is taken out of the long hitters hands on numerous holes with doglegs and hazards. The defining challenge are the undulating greens and numerous pin position opportunities to tuck near hazards and bunkers."