Atlanta’s first public golf course opened in 1932, a tribute to the city’s most famous sportsman, Bobby Jones. The Bobby Jones Golf Course has reopened this month following a year-long renovation. It’s a legacy to Jones, but also to Bob Cupp – as the last design he completed before his death in August 2016.

In a tribute to Bob Cupp, Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten recounts a meeting with the architect in his final months. Atlanta City Council had agreed a land swap with the state of Georgia that meant the project to rebuild the Bobby Jones Golf Course could go ahead: “Bob was positively gleeful,” said Whitten. “His course would get built, even if he weren’t around, as he’d completed a detailed set of plans that his older son, Bobby Jr, an experienced golf architect himself, could use to see the project through to completion.”

Little over two years later and the course has reopened.

The project was spearheaded by a group of local citizens with a passion for the historic golf course. They formed The Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation and raised US$23 million for a major redevelopment of the course and facilities.

“The foundation is very excited to reintroduce the new Bobby Jones Golf Course to the public in November,” said Marty Elgison, the foundation’s president.

“We are especially thankful to our donors for helping make our vision a reality. We are excited to honour them, Bobby Jones, and Bob Cupp by giving back to the Atlanta and Georgia golf communities.”

Cupp’s legacy is a course that provides public golfers in Atlanta with something special. His design was for a reversible nine-hole course, with the Azalea course played in one direction and the Magnolia in the other. Two flags will be cut into the large double greens each day, one for each course, meaning that with a shotgun start, golfers can play nine holes and then turn around and play nine more in the opposite direction.

The course employs the Longleaf Tee System, an approach to tee box placement developed by the American Society of Golf Course Architects, of which Cupp was a past president, that allows golfers of all abilities to enjoy the game. The two nines can be played from 7,313 yards to just 3,164 yards.

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