Ideally situated between Atlanta and Augusta in the lush, rolling hill country of middle Georgia, Reynolds has long been a favorite golf destination for those in the southeast. With six award-winning golf courses on property, including five of Golfweek’s Top-10 courses in Georgia, there’s a reason Luxury Travel Magazine recently called Reynolds “pure golf nirvana.”

In February we had the pleasure of hosting acclaimed director and actor Justin Wheelon for a round. Originally from Augusta, Justin is an Emmy® Award-winning professional director and actor who's appeared in numerous films and television shows (read more about Justin’s accomplished career below). He met up with three friends for a round at The Oconee and a fitting at The Kingdom, and graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us about his visit to Reynolds.

It was great to host you and your friends at Reynolds Lake Oconee and The Kingdom! What prompted you guys to want to come play a round, and why did you choose Reynolds and The Oconee course?

We chose Reynolds Lake Oconee and The Oconee course because I have heard such great things about it for so long from so many people that I had to see for myself. When we’re shooting in and around Atlanta we always try to find a nice course to get to, so this was high on the priority list for some time.

What were your thoughts on the round and course?

It was a perfect day. The weather was fantastic – mid-70s in February! One of the things that stood out to us most about the course was just how playable and fun it was. It was obviously in great shape and well-maintained but we loved the layout. Wasn’t too easy, wasn’t too hard - definitely one I can see myself playing over and over. I also noticed just how green and lush it was. For a February day I thought it was April for a minute.

Being from Augusta and currently working in Atlanta, how was the location of Reynolds ideal for a day getaway?

It was ideal in terms of location. Reynolds was only about an hour from both where I was in Aiken and where my buddy was coming from in Atlanta. An easy trip down I-20 for both of us, so well worth the quick drive.

Georgia has a long history of with Hollywood and the movie industry, with favorites such as My Cousin Vinny (shot just a short drive away from Reynolds in Eatonton!), The Legend of Bagger Vance and – surprisingly – most of Sweet Home Alabama being filmed in Georgia. More recently, blockbusters such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Black Panther, and Avengers; Endgame have been shot in Georgia. This has increased Georgia’s reputation in the film industry, spawning the playful moniker of ‘Yallywood’.

In recent years Georgia has become more popular for studios and directors as a film location. How do you feel about your home state’s ascension in the industry?

It’s been incredible to see the explosion of productions in the state. It’s really an ideal place to shoot because it has almost every kind of location - beach, mountains, city, small towns, rural, suburbs, etc. Not to mention the infrastructure to support that growth with the studios, amazing crew that lives here, and just the general southern hospitality and feeling of being welcome. You can tell the state and these cities are excited to have us.

Just a short stroll away from both The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee and The Oconee course sits The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee, one of only two TaylorMade Kingdom in the world and a world-class golf instruction and fitting facility.

After playing at The Oconee, Justin was able to visit The Kingdom for an impromptu visit. What did you think of the experience?

I don’t recall being fitted like that before - that was some professional-level attention to detail! Not to mention the abundance of club and shaft options right on hand to try until we got the right fit. I was a little unsure what the fitting would reveal, but after we dialed in the right combination I saw my club head speed, ball speed, and distance increase! The people that work there are very good at what they do and it shows.

The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee
The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee

Any future plans on coming back to play?

Oh absolutely, it’s on “the rotation” now! Not to mention we only saw one course, there’s five more courses to try out. Reynolds is such a nice place and centrally located between Aiken/Augusta and Atlanta that it will be a perfect meet-up spot for friends who are shooting in Atlanta and myself who want to get out and play at a special place.

One final question – who would your dream foursome be, and why?

I think it would have to be my dad, my brother, myself, and Tiger Woods. My dad and my brother are some of my best buddies and Tiger is the reason I got into golf. After he putted out on 18 at The Masters in 1997 I went and put on a red t-shirt and went and started hitting golf balls in the yard. Been playing ever since.

More about Justin

Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Justin Wheelon is an Emmy® Award-winning professional director and actor who's appeared in numerous films and television shows. As a director, his work has been featured in national television commercials for major clients, including directing two Super Bowl commercials. His films have also played at multiple Oscar® qualifying film festivals around the world. Justin is currently working on several films slated to be released over the next couple of years.

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