Forgive Tom Fazio if he's had a one-track mind since the middle of 2023. The world-renowned golf course architect has been busy thinking, drawing, and creating a new, "one-of-a-kind course" for Reynolds Members. It's no easy task considering there are already five distinctive golf courses on property, plus The National, which Fazio himself originally designed more than 25 years ago and has recently been reimagining.

"I've been playing golf in my head to come up with something unique," says Fazio, who has designed more than 200 courses worldwide. "The good part is, I'm not making any bogeys in my mind."

The National opened as Fazio's 18-hole brainchild in 1997. An additional nine-hole course, The Cove, was unveiled three years later giving The National a total of three nines, 27 holes, and just as many reasons to be named one of the top residential courses in the U.S. Yet it has always seemed like a matter of time before one of the nines would be transformed into Reynolds' seventh golf course. That time is now, with the debut of the all-new Richland course expected this fall.

"What keeps my brain occupied," Fazio says, "is how to give this course so much character and variety that Members want to play it the next day and the next day. I want it to remind them of what makes golf so great."

The first five holes and final four holes of the new course will remain the best routing from what Members remember as The Bluff. The nine holes in between have been the blank canvas for Fazio.

"We never just go out and create golf holes," he says. "It's all a plan."

Before anyone knew what was going on, Fazio and his team were walking the property around The National looking at everything: the ground, the trees, even the air above and between the trees - all of it providing pieces to a puzzle. They inspected bird's-eye views and realized they could lead players along both sides of the peninsula, with two markedly different views of Lake Oconee.

"The natural environment at Reynolds provides the number-one factor we want: variety," says Fazio. "We have long-range vistas, vegetation, terrain variations with ups and downs, ins and outs, twists and turns. Members will love the course because it will never play the same."

The first players will tee off later this year, but Fazio has already played the course in his mind. He knows what it will feel like.

"The best feeling for a golfer is to stand on the tee at the beginning of a round and think, 'Wow, I love this setting. This feels good.' You haven't even hit a shot yet and you already know it's going to be a fun day. That's what makes a golf course great, and that's why I know we have something special that Members are going to love."

Ryan Frisch, Head Golf Professional at The National
Ryan Frisch, Head Golf Professional at The National

5 REASONS I'M EXCITED - From Head Golf Professional Ryan Frisch, The National

1. From my first day at Reynolds 20 years ago, I've heard Members talk about possible expansion.

"They'd ask me what's in the works, but I never had an answer. When you work at Reynolds for a while, you realize there are people behind the scenes with a clear vision for 10 years down the road — or more. You also learn to be patient. Something amazing will happen."

2. Newer players sometimes confess that the courses can be hard.

"The current courses at Reynolds average 5,300 yards per 18 holes, and more than 7,000 yards from the back tees. The Richland course at The National is a logical place to have an extra set of family-friendly trees because this is where people gather. You have The Tavern, a great golf shop, golf instructors, and outdoor music. The new course will add to the overall atmosphere."

3. The pace of play on all courses will improve.

"By our calculations, the new course will add 20,000-25,000 rounds of golf annually. We'll be able to space out tee times, reduce golf cart traffic, and ultimately improve course conditions everywhere.

4. The names of the courses will be simplified.

"With the nine-hole courses in the past, it was easy to remember which courses were open on which days. With two 18-hole courses, they will each have their own identity as The National and Richland."

5. We can keep the beautiful courses open.

"I always thought it was a shame to have a nationally acclaimed 9-hole course dormant on rotating days. The transformation to two 18-hole courses will allow us to showcase them every day."

Wes Forester, PGA Director of Golf
Wes Forester, PGA Director of Golf

BURNING QUESTIONS - With PGA Director of Golf Wes Forester

Members have wondered when this next new course might happen — even your staff pros. Why isn't it so simple?

"Think of all the interests within the Reynolds community, and how the management teams are always raising the bar to create ideal lifestyles for everyone. We've seen a new pickleball facility, new restaurants, a wellness center, new neighborhoods, expanded offerings at The Sporting Grounds, and a new marina. There's always something going on."

When did golf come back into the discussions?

"Golf is always part of the discussions — always. But it's also been within the context of a larger vision for the entire Reynolds community. Coming out of the pandemic three years ago, the demand for tee times on all of our courses climbed dramatically - more than anyone could have ever anticipated. The demand never tapered off, so the time was right to engage Tom Fazio and explore ideas of adding a seventh course for transforming The National."

What might we misunderstand about this new course?

"Let's not think of this as an addition of nine holes. When the course opens, Members will be introduced to a new 18-hole golf experience. Tom Fazio has re-imagined the 9 holes from The Bluff to create a new golf experience. It culminates years of discussions. I can't wait to play it."

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