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Posted: April 10, 2014 6:55 p.m.

Ashton Hills offers beauty, challenge

Photo courtesy of Ashton Hills/

Ashton Hills Golf Club features not only challenging play, but picturesque holes designed by Desmond Muirehead.

For full 2014 Masters coverage, visit the Covington News's dedicated Masters page.

Since 2012, the Ashton Hills Golf Club has offered Newton County golfers a picture of golf perfection, captivating players with its challenging, yet artistic, design.

Course pro Bryan Raines said the club, which replaced the former Indian Creek Golf Club, features a design inspired by Desmond Muirhead, a renowned course designer known for his Picasso-like influences.

A course once voted Atlanta’s Best New Course by the Georgia Golf News hopes that this Masters season, golfers from around the world will have the opportunity to take in its distinguished Mini Verde Dwarf Bermuda greens and riveting hole designs.

“When we looked to open the new course, we didn’t want to change a lot of the design,” Raines said. “The course really has some picturesque holes and it has a lot of flare when it comes to visual layout. We reconstructed the greens, reconfigured a few bunkers and changed some of the greens’ slopes, but the layout remained fairly similar. I think the course offers a lot of visual beauty to accompany its challenging play."

Some of the holes the course features include a sunflower design, an aged spring house and even a hidden body.

“Some of the designs that pop out to me are certainly holes No. 2, 6 and 8,” Raines said. “Hole No. 3 has eight bunkers that are arranged around the green that give it the look of a sunflower, while Hole No. 6 features an 1800s spring house that is visually appealing.

“The best may be Hole No. 8 whose water feature looks like a woman,” he said. “When you look at the aerial view, you can see her head and body. It just adds a little visual stimulation to your round when you notice these features.”

Raines said that when people play, he hopes they appreciate the value of the look of the course, along with its playing style.

“I like when people leave the course with an appreciation for what a good golf course is,” he said. “I hope they appreciate the challenge the course presents and that they are happy with the condition the course is in. A good golf course should always look good and I hope their experience is shaped by the enjoy playing experience, our course’s look and our service. All of those are factors in the experience here.”

Along with its visual appeal, Ashton Hills also tests its players from tee to green. Stretching an average of 6,200 yards from tee box to the hole, golfers will need a good bit of accuracy to navigate the course.

“Generally, our golf course does offer a challenging round,” Raines said. “It’s a course that required accuracy off the tee. It’s not an overly long course, but you do have to place that first shot well to position yourself to reach the green.”

Raines said that for his money, Hole No. 14 offers the biggest threat to players.

The par-4, 460-yard hole doglegs to the left and features a host of bunkers in the fairway and near the green, testing a player’s long and short game.

 “The hardest hole is No. 14,” Raines said. “It requires a good tee ball and a great second shot. When the course was opened, it was rated as the hardest hole in the state of Georgia. I imagine it’s still right up there in difficulty.”

With the Masters approaching, Raines believes the event will be able to draw an eclectic crowd to Ashton Hills.

“Everyone comes to Georgia to play this week,” he said. “We will have people from all over the world including England, Germany, Canada and Australia. You name a country, they’re in the region. When the Masters is here, people come from all over.”

That boost in the sport is felt by the club, especially after a hard winter like the area experienced this season.

“We generally double the number of rounds during the upcoming 10-day stretch,” Raines said. “It’s a big boost to golf in the area after the winter season. Having the Masters set in one place every year brings in a lot of money to the state. It’s always been our best month and it’s probably the same way for many courses in the area.

“Having the event in Georgia every single year is a huge benefit to us and I hope other industries in the area feel the same boon we have,” he said.

With spring taking hold in the area, Ashton Hills hopes the weather continues to warm up for its upcoming events.

“At the end of the month we have the Ashton Hills Invitational, which is always one of our most important tournaments,” Raines said. “The weekend of the Masters we also do a draw-pro tournament that includes one of our members’ net scores with a gross professional score during the Masters Tournament. That brings in a lot of interest.”

For more information on the Ashton Hills Golf Club, or to schedule a tee time, visit ashtonhillsgc.com, or call 678-224-8586.

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