Top Golf Travel Destinations: Georgia's Stunning McLemore Resort
By Chris Lewis
McLemore Resort's Highlands Course has a stunning final hole.
In recent years, McLemore Resort in Rising Fawn, Georgia, has steadily gained its reputation as an incredible golf trip destination.
Immediately upon arrival, guests will fully understand why.
First off, the views are simply immaculate, regardless of the seasons they choose to play golf. In fact, McLemore Resort is open year-round, unlike a majority of other mountain-based resorts.
“The resort provides a different experience with each season,” says Duane Horton, McLemore's CEO. “In the summer, guests will enjoy cool breezes, whereas, in the spring, they’ll witness the beautiful blooms of dogwoods and redbuds. Brilliant colors pop in the fall against the deep green grasses. And then, in the winter, some of the best views of the landscape are revealed once the leaves have fallen.”
To enjoy the views, while also challenging themselves to an 18-hole round of golf, guests will be drawn to the Highlands Course, a par-71, Rees Jones and Bill Bergin redesign that’s 7,055 yards long from the back tees. Featuring three different types of holes — canyon, cliff-edge and highland — the course offers extreme elevation changes. Yet, each hole is relatively level, aside from the par-5 sixth hole, which has a 150-foot drop.
“Each hole is unique, as only two holes play parallel to each other,” Horton emphasizes. “The paths between the holes create a journey, too, as guests can navigate the elevation changes, while also experiencing mountain woodlands, ancient boulders covered in lichen, and mountain streams and cascades.”
As a result, its views are simply “unbelievable,” according to PGA of America Golf Professional Charlie Rymer, the EVP of Golf Operations, who adds that the resort’s location, primarily Lookout Mountain, “has been the best kept secret in the Southeast.”
In order to provide further unbelievable views to guests, the resort is opening another 18-hole championship course in spring 2024. Known as The Keep, it will be a cliff-edge, links-inspired, mountain top and walkable course, one that will be so gorgeous and unique that co-course designer Rees Jones has claimed that it “could host a major.”
Due to its cliff-edge design, The Keep will offer a setting that’s identical to some of the world’s most popular headland courses, along with exposure to wind, enabling it to feel more like an ocean course, rather than one that’s in the sky.
“Imagine mountain streams, rock outcroppings, waterfalls, bentgrass greens and zoysia fairways,” Horton says. “And, as possibly a first in the game of golf, the course will allow golfers to spot all 18 holes at the same time from five different locations, as a result of its amphitheater shape.”
There won’t be any cars or houses on or near the course either — only pure golf with pristine conditions and a rugged setting that has “possibly the greatest distant views in the game,” according to Horton. To play the course, guests will check-in above it, prior to being shuttled to its cliff edges.
“The Keep is going to rock golf on the East Coast and beyond,” Rymer states. “There just isn’t anything like it. It’s one of the few golf courses built in the last 50 years as pure golf. And, in turn, golfers will feel its authenticity instantly.”
Aside from the resort’s two 18-hole courses (and its six-hole Cairn Short Course), guests will also experience amenities that are, according to Horton, as “special as the courses.” As an example, it has a mountain stone, cliff-edge clubhouse. In addition, The Creag restaurant and The Dining Terrace enable guests to enjoy southern fare that’s inspired by the resort’s natural settings. And, finally, the Courtyard has warm fires, drinks and a Songwriter’s Series for entertainment.
Furthermore, the resort has more than 100 beds (located in private homes) available for stay and play options, an aggregate that will increase considerably with the Cloudland Lookout Mountain, Curio Collection by Hilton, a 245-room hotel set to open in March 2024.
“When guests arrive at McLemore Resort for the first time, they’ll be completely blown away by every aspect of it, from its courses, to its dining, to its hospitality,” Rymer stresses.
Other Fun Courses Near McLemore Resort:
Sweetens Cove Golf Club: Nestled in the Sequatchie Valley’s foothills, less than an hour from McLemore Resort, this 9-hole course has become a “bucket list” destination for golfers.
Dogwood Hills Golf Resort and Gardens: Located in Flat Rock, Ala., about 30 minutes from McLemore Resort, this resort has an exquisite 18-hole, 6,670-yard layout.
Trenton Golf Club: Featuring an 18-hole course, Trenton offers views of Fox, Lookout and Sand Mountains.