By Louis Mayeux
Changes to Bobby Jones Golf Course are scheduled to begin this spring.
With the Tanyard Creek-Atlanta Memorial Park Trail being built along the edge of the golf course, the course’s 15th green will be moved to where the 16th tee is located. The 16th tee will be relocated to the south side of an expanded pond near the 17th green, and the 15th green will be turned into a short-game practice area.
“It’s a minor adjustment to the golf course to accommodate the path going through there,” said Bill Bergin of Bergin Golf Designs, contractor for the project funded by the PATH Foundation, developer of the trail.
“Basically, the path for the 15th hole has to shift in order for it to be safe. It will be a similar hole to what it is now. A side benefit will be the pickup of a nice practice area, with clinics for juniors and for groups to practice on. One of the things that Bobby Jones really lacks is a practice area.”
Under the present configuration of the 15th hole, a short par 5, players frequently hit long shots into the green, which could pose hazards to people using the trail. The hole will be changed into a long par 4, with the long second shot directed away from the trail.
The 16th hole, a short par 4, will shift from a dogleg left to one that turns slightly to the right. Some minor changes also will be made to the 17th hole.
Bergin declined to disclose the cost of the golf course project, saying PATH is paying for it with private donations. PATH construction manager Pete Pellegrini refused to comment on the Bobby Jones work. Executive director Ed McBrayer didn’t respond to a voice message, nor did an official with American Golf Corp.
The Collier Hills, Collier Hills North and Ardmore Park neighborhoods opposed construction of the nearly mile-long trail, which will begin at Dellwood Drive at the corner of the golf course and head along Golfview Road, skirt Cathedral Woods, cross Tanyard Creek, head under the Collier Road bridge and loop back to cross the creek and edge the Tanyard Creek meadow, site of a Civil War battlefield. It will end at a neighborhood street. Under a compromise, the trail, an offshoot of the Atlanta Beltline, will skirt the meadow rather than run through it.
Some residents remain bitter at the trail’s intrusion into the area.
Roger Moister, whose family has lived at the corner of Golfview Road and Golfview Drive since 1977, doesn’t believe PATH is meeting neighborhood concerns. He says his life has been disrupted by large trucks rumbling down his narrow street as early as 7 a.m. In constructing an access road along the golf course, contractors used large-diameter rock and stone, leaving Moister wondering whether the rubble will be removed.
Before a tour of the trail on a recent chilly Sunday, Moister anticipated the scene when the trail is completed and urban hikers arrive. “Where are they going to park?” he asked. As for the construction site, “I and the neighbors didn’t realize how big it was going to be.”
Moister acknowledges the path will provide users with a chance for exercise and exploration, but believes the amount of concrete being used is too much for the area, which includes an archaeological site and natural spaces.
He pointed to a towering tree, “the biggest white ash in the Atlanta area,” where the trail was supposed to have been narrowed to protect ancient roots. The concrete presses upon the tree’s trunk. Another tree, one of the largest cedars in the area, faces similar encroachment.