East Lake Golf Club
The Tour Championship|
Ryder Cup (1963)
|East Lake Golf Course|
|Designed by||Donald Ross, Rees Jones|
|Length||7,346 yards (6,717 m)|
|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. East Lake was the home course of 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, the culminating event of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup. The Tour Championship was first played at the course in 1998. The 2017 tournament was won by Xander Schauffele with Justin Thomas claiming the FedEx Cup.
All proceeds from operations at East Lake Golf Club – more than $20 million to date – go to support the East Lake Foundation, which has helped transform one of the nation's worst public housing projects into a thriving community.
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.
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 East Lake 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.
Golfer Bobby Jones is said to have played his first and last games of golf at East Lake. 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 on 1946–47.
Other notable East Lake players around the same time were amateurs Watts Gunn, Perry Adair, Charlie Yates and Alexa Stirling Fraser many of whom were assisted by East Lake's golf professional Stewart Maiden.
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 Johns Creek. The original course and clubhouse were saved by a group of 25 members, led by Atlanta businessman Paul Grigsby, 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 homeowners 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 headed by Tom Cousins 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 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 16 times since 1998.
Golf with a Purpose
All of the profits from 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. Because of this, East Lake Golf Club's motto is "Golf with a Purpose".
Based on the success of the East Lake model, a new organization, Purpose Built Communities, was established in 2009 to help fight concentrated segments of poverty in communities throughout the United States. Today, Purpose Built Communities is present in 14 cities in the US.
Charlie Yates Golf Course
In 1998 East Lake's No. 2 golf course was transformed into the Charlie Yates Golf Course, a 9-hole "executive" public course that provides golf education to children living in the city of Atlanta. 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.
Charlie Yates was an East Lake golfer who won the British Amateur at Royal Troon Golf Club in 1938. Charlie grew up on Second Avenue, the street which separated East Lake's main course from its No. 2 course. His boyhood hero was Bobby Jones, whom he knew and played with on the course at East Lake.
The Tour Championship
Since 2004 East Lake Golf Club has been the permanent location of the Tour Championship 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. Xander Schauffele won the Tour Championship at East Lake in 2017.
East Lake Cup
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 invites the top men's and women's teams from the previous season to compete in a match play championship each November. The tournament is broadcast on the Golf Channel. The inaugural East Lake Cup was played November 2 and 3, 2015. The champions of the first year's tournament were Illinois (men's) and USC (women's).
- Par 70 – Zach Johnson, 60 (−10) on September 15, 2007, at the Tour Championship, set at 7,154 yards (6,542 m).
- Par 72 – Robert "Bullet" Godfrey, 63 (−9) on August 20, 2001 at the U.S. Amateur after bogeying the final two holes. The course's length was 7,267 yards (6,645 m).
East Lake has hosted many prestigious tournaments including:
- The Tour Championship
- 2017 Xander Schauffele
- 2016 Rory McIlroy
- 2015 Jordan Spieth
- 2014 Billy Horschel
- 2013 Henrik Stenson
- 2012 Brandt Snedeker
- 2011 Bill Haas
- 2010 Jim Furyk
- 2009 Phil Mickelson
- 2008 Camilo Villegas
- 2007 Tiger Woods
- 2006 Adam Scott
- 2005 Bart Bryant
- 2004 Retief Goosen
- 2002 Vijay Singh
- 2000 Phil Mickelson
- 1998 Hal Sutton
- East Lake Cup
- Ryder Cup
- U.S. Amateur
- 2001 Bubba Dickerson
- U.S. Women's Amateur
- 1950 Beverly Hanson
- Southern Amateur
- 1907 Nelson Whitney
- 1910 F.G. Byrd
- 1915 Charles Dexter
- 1922 Bobby Jones
- 1933 Jack Redmond
- 2002 Lee Williams
- Other tournaments
- "About the club". Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- "Course Rating and Slope Database – East Lake Golf Club". USGA. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- "East Lake Golf Club". Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- "Who We Are". East Lake Foundation. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- Hopkins, Linton C. (1996). Where Bobby Learned to Play. McGuire Publishing. ISBN 978-0962838118.
- "About Rees Jones – Biography". Rees Jones, Inc. Golf Course Design. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- "The East Lake Story - Community Redevelopment - Atlanta, Georgia". East Lake Foundation.
- "Our Network". Purpose Built Communities.
- "East Lake Partners - Community Redevelopment - Atlanta, Georgia". East Lake Foundation.
- "Eyes on NCAAs after Illinois, USC win East Lake Cup - Golf Channel".
- "Golf Course Information". East Lake Golf Club. Retrieved May 12, 2017.