Throughout the nine months Indian Creek Golf Course was closed to transition into Ashton Hills Golf Club, Bryan Raines and his staff were hard at work making a golf course they could be proud of.
Just eight months later, the director of golf and Ashton Hills staff aren’t the only ones happy with the course, located at 10400 Bypass Road, but also Georgia golfers who visit pga.com.
The website ran its annual “A Quick Nine” column recently, polling readers on the best public golf courses in the Atlanta area, and Ashton Hills turned up on the list at No. 8.
The course made the list at No. 10 in its previous incarnation as Indian Creek, but was never ranked this high. The eighth-ranked course is something Raines wasn’t expecting so soon, even though he has heard plenty of positive buzz about Ashton Hills.
“It came as a shock to me,” Raines said. “My former assistant called me and told me, said, ‘You guys are listed 8 out of the 10 best public links courses in Atlanta.’
“It shows that you’re going in the right direction, and people are receiving the golf course well with the new greens and the new changes.”
While the course was shut down from November 2011 until August 2012, Raines and his staff were busy working on a major facelift, resodding greens, redoing the bunkers, removing hundreds of trees and refurbishing the clubhouse.
Ashton Hills opened Aug. 17, and has numerous positive responses from golfers both in the Newton County area and Georgia, in general, with much praise being placed on the greens. Raines changed the area around the pins from Bent Grass to MiniVerde Bermuda grass, allowing for better conditions during the hot summer months.
“Obviously, the greens are a big plus,” Raines said. “Whereas normally this time of year, you’re having slow putting conditions because it’s so hot, the big grass struggles; now you don’t have to worry about keeping greens alive in the summer. Now we’re not having to do that, and we’re able to maintain a real good quality of greens with firm and fast conditions.”
Those conditions have brought up the number of players coming through Ashton Hills since it reopened 11 months ago.
“We’ve been hearing a lot of really good comments,” Raines said. “We’ve noticed our online bookings from people strictly not in the Covington area have really gotten better. We’re bringing players in from DeKalb, Gwinnett and as far as Atlanta and Marietta. Obviously, we’re getting our name out there in a better way than we had before.”
Being listed as one of the nine best public links courses in Atlanta will continue to get Ashton Hills’ name out among golfers, mentioned along with courses such as Bear’s Best in Suwannee (No. 1 on the list); Echelon Golf Club in Alpharetta (No. 2); Stone Mountain (No. 3); Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro (No. 7); and Forest Hills in Augusta (No. 9).
“We’re obviously in group of a lot of really good golf courses,” Raines said. “I was really pleased with it.”