East Lake Golf Club

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East Lake Golf Club
East Lake Golf Club Clubhouse.JPG
Club information
Location Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Established 1904[1]
Type Private
Total holes 18
Tournaments hosted The Tour Championship
Ryder Cup (1963)
Website eastlakegolfclub.com
East Lake Golf Course
Designed by Donald Ross
Par 72
Length 7,374 yards (6,743 m)
Course rating 75.9
Slope rating 142[2]
Course record 60 – Zach Johnson (2007)

East Lake Golf Club is a private golf club located approximately 5 miles east of downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Established in 1904, East Lake is the oldest golf course in the city of Atlanta.[3] East Lake was the home course of the legendary golfer Bobby Jones and much of its Clubhouse serves as a tribute to his accomplishments.

Since 2004, East Lake has been the permanent home of The Tour Championship by Coca-Cola, the culminating event of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup.[4] The Tour Championship was first played at the course in 1998.

All proceeds from operations at East Lake Golf Club - more than $20 million to date[3] - go to support the East Lake Foundation, which has helped transform one of the nation's worst public housing projects into a thriving community.[5]


Old postcard of the course at East Lake.

The Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC) was formed in 1898 and due to its popularity it gained 700 members in only four years. The director of the club's athletic program was John Heisman, the famous football coach for whom the Heisman Trophy is named. In 1904 the AAC bought property at East Lake to build a country club which included a golf course. Course architect Tom Bendelow was asked to lay out the course.

Bobby Jones age 9 shown playing golf at his home course at East Lake.

The course's first holes were built in 1906 and were initially only seven holes, then nine. In the summer of 1907, the course was expanded to 17 holes, and later that year the 18th hole was built to complete it. Also in 1907, the first significant tournament was hosted at East Lake, the Southern Amateur, won by Nelson Whitney. In 1908, Tom Bendelow opened his "No. 2" course at East Lake.

In 1913, famed golf course architect Donald Ross redesigned the course at East Lake. The new plan provided for each of the nine holes to conclude at the clubhouse. Ross also redesigned the No. 2 course in 1928.

A tragic fire destroyed the original clubhouse at Eastlake in 1925. Following the fire, famed architect Philip Shutze, who is known for constructing the famous Swan House in Buckhead, was hired by the club to build East Lake's present day two-story Tudor style clubhouse.

Famous golfer Bobby Jones is said to have played his first and last games of golf at East Lake.[6] Jones won golf's Grand Slam in 1930, claiming the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, British Amateur and British Open titles in the same year. Jones's father, "Colonel" Robert P. Jones, served as the president of East Lake from 1937–42 and as a director for 38 years. Bobby Jones himself also served as president of East Lake from 1946–47. Other notable East Lake players around the same time were amateurs Charlie Yates and Alexa Stirling Fraser.

In 1963, East Lake hosted the 15th biennial Ryder Cup where Arnold Palmer served as the playing captain of the winning US Team.

East Lake began a downward slope when the surrounding neighborhood deteriorated in the 1960s and became victim to suburban flight. The Atlanta Athletic Club became a part of this when it sold the No. 2 course to developers and moved to its current home in Duluth, GA. The original course and clubhouse were saved by a group of 25 members who purchased them and created East Lake Country Club in 1968.

In 1970, the East Lake Meadows public housing project was built on the site of the No. 2 golf course and became a center for poverty, drugs and violence. Middle-income home owner fled the surrounding neighborhood, replaced by low-income renters. By the 1980s, East Lake became a mostly forgotten golf course in a seemingly hopeless neighborhood.

This all changed in 1993 when a local charitable foundation purchased East Lake with the intent to restore it as a tribute to Bobby Jones and the club's other great amateur golfers. The East Lake Foundation was also created and has used the renovation as a catalyst for revitalizing the surrounding community.

In 1994, Rees Jones, son of famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones,[7] restored Donald Ross' original golf course design at East Lake to its current layout today.

In 1998 the Tour Championship was hosted at East Lake for the first time. In 2005 East Lake was named the permanent home of the Tour Championship. East Lake has hosted the tournament 14 times since 1998.

East Lake Today[edit]

View of No. 9 Fairway at East Lake Golf Club.

Golf with a Purpose[edit]

All of the profits from the East Lake Golf Club go to support the East Lake Foundation which in turn helps to support the health, education, safety and productivity of the East Lake neighborhood.[8] Because of this, East Lake Golf Club's motto is "Golf with a Purpose."

Charlie Yates Golf Course[edit]

East Lake's No. 2 golf course was transformed into the Charlie Yates Golf Course, a 9 hole public course that provides golf education to children living in the city of Atlanta.[9] The course was rated one of the top 10 short range courses in America by Golf Range Magazine and all profits from the course go to benefit the East Lake foundation.[10]

Charlie Yates was an East Lake golfer who won the British Amateur in 1938. Charlie grew up on Second Avenue, the street which separated East Lake's main course from its No. 2 course. Charlie's boyhood hero was Bobby Jones whom he knew and played with on the course at East Lake.

The Tour Championship[edit]

Since 2004 East Lake Golf Club has been the permanent location of The Tour Championship by Coca-Cola, the finale of the PGA Tour Playoffs and the FedEx Cup. The Tour Championship is also one of the largest supporters of the East Lake Foundation. Billy Horschel won the Tour Championship at East Lake in 2014.

East Lake Cup[edit]

In May, 2015 it was announced that East Lake would be the site of a new collegiate golf tournament, the East Lake Cup. In partnership with the Golf Channel the East Lake Cup will invite the top men's and women's teams from the previous season to compete in a Match-Play Championship each November. The tournament will be broadcast on the Golf Channel. This year's tournament is scheduled for November 2 & 3, 2015.

The Course[edit]

Course records[edit]

Par 70 - Zach Johnson, 60 (–10) on September 15, 2007 at The Tour Championship presented by Coca Cola, set at 7,154 yards (6,542 m).

Par 72 - Bryce Molder, 64 (–8) on June 4, 2001 at The United States Amateur Championship. The course's length was 7,267 yards (6,645 m).


East Lake Golf Club
Tee Rating/Slope 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Black 76.0 / 142 426 212 390 440 559 213 434 407 589 3670 512 192 391 476 441 525 480 455 232 3704 7374
Gold 73.9 / 136 414 182 383 423 547 164 419 355 551 3438 493 178 376 400 429 496 461 401 211 3445 6883
Blue 72.6 / 133 408 161 361 413 540 149 408 322 532 3294 482 172 368 395 422 470 416 369 199 3293 6587
White 70.8 / 128 395 135 325 403 526 135 397 304 512 3132 465 166 345 376 396 458 385 332 168 3091 6223
Red 72.5 / 131 329 102 319 345 473 91 333 275 444 2711 421 138 319 319 365 414 381 267 110 2734 5445
Par 4 3 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 36 5 3 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 36 72
Handicap 7 17 11 3 9 15 1 13 5 6 18 12 10 4 8 2 14 16

Tournaments hosted[edit]

East Lake has hosted many prestigious tournaments including:


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°44′35″N 84°18′11″W / 33.743°N 84.303°W / 33.743; -84.303