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Combine business and pleasure at an Atlanta-area golf course

Stan AwtreyBy Stan Awtrey,
Stone Mountain Golf Club - Lakemont Course - 5th
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Stone Mountain's Lakemont Course: A great option for a business/golf outing. (Courtesy of Stone Mountain G.C.)

ATLANTA -- One of the best places to get to know a client or prospective client is on the golf course.

You can tell a great deal about a person's character and personality by spending a few hours walking alongside them on the fairways. An afternoon of golf can provide an ideal opportunity to learn more about your client and let them know more about you.

If you live in the Atlanta area or have business here, there are plenty of options available. You don't have to belong to a private club. It's easy to combine business and pleasure at one of these facilities that are all open to the public and worth consideration ...

Stone Mountain

The resort, built around the largest exposed piece of granite in the world, includes two golf courses. If you're entertaining for fun, choose Stone Mountain's Lakemont Course. If you're entertaining a serious golfer, select the bring-them-to-their knees Stonemont Course that was designed by Robert Trent Jones. Both wind around Stone Mountain Lake and feature some memorable views.

The Commons Restaurant has lunch and dinner and the view from the veranda is unforgettable.

The Georgia Club

The Georgia Club, a fun Denis Griffiths design located about an hour from Atlanta near Athens, has 27 holes and is a great place to entertain a client.

The course is always in good condition, and the layout won't overpower someone who only plays occasionally. Plus, Director of Golf Mike O'Malley and his staff are among the most accommodating around. The club's dining room offers lunch and dinner, with an outstanding Sunday brunch that's guaranteed to impress.

They have stay-and-play options if you want to combine the meeting with a football game or evening at the theater.

Legacy on Lanier Golf Club

Legacy on Lanier Golf Club, located about an hour north of Atlanta, was completed renovated by designer Billy Fuller in 2010 and features some gorgeous holes along Lake Lanier.

You'll enjoy the new MiniVerde Bermuda greens that hold up so well in the hot Georgia summers. (The PineIsle Course, which formerly hosted an LPGA event, is currently being renovated.) When it comes to chow, there's a casual restaurant, as well as more formal offerings at Gianni's Italian and the Windows Restaurant. The open-air Sunset Cove is open seasonally and offers a laid-back atmosphere on the water.

Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan Golf Club & Resort, a winery and resort, is located about an hour northeast of Atlanta. There are two golf courses open to the public, both designed by Denis Griffiths, whose office is on the property.

The original Chateau Course has some interesting holes that involve creeks and elevation, while the newer Woodlands Course is a classic parkland style. The nine-hole executive course is an ideal walking course, and the resort is a host for the Dave Pelz Golf School.

There are seven restaurants at the resort, offering guests choices that range from classic French cuisine to burgers and fries. A cool place is Paddy's Irish Pub, completely furnished by tables, chairs and bars that were crafted in Ireland and reassembled here. Guinness, anyone?

City Club Marietta

City Club Marietta, the former Marietta Country Club -- located about 30 minutes northwest of Atlanta -- was purchased by the city and opened to the public in 1991. The course was given a facelift by designer Mike Young in 1991.

The 18-hole layout is short (5,721 yards from the back tees) and tight, with plenty of hills. The Marietta Grill offers sandwiches and drinks, but there are plenty of other dining options at the historic Marietta Square, which is less than a mile away. (Shillings on the Square is highly recommended.)

The adjoining conference center offers a comfortable, well-appointed place to hold a meeting.

Wolf Creek Golf Course

The closest public course to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is Wolf Creek Golf Course, located in College Park.

The 18-hole course was designed by Mike Young and plays through the lowland and around the wetlands. It's quite a challenge and should be plenty entertaining. And if you've got a golf-crazy client, Wolf Creek offers an all-you-can-play rate.

Amenities are basic, but there are plenty of food and drink options on nearby Camp Creek Parkway.

The Frog

If you're dying to play a Tom Fazio design, you can find it at The Frog at The Georgian in Villa Rica, about an hour due west of the city.

The Frog is part of the Canongate family of private clubs but is open to public play. The parkland-style course opened in 1998 and has hosted numerous tournaments and qualifiers, including the 2010 Georgia Open. The restaurant and grill is basic, but the golf course makes the long trip to the boonies worthwhile.

Heritage Golf Links

Located about 30 minutes northeast of the city in Tucker, Heritage Golf Links enjoyed a nice revival since it changed management in 2012.

There are 27 holes available -- the original 18 are the best -- with elevation changes and constantly challenging shot selections. It also has an outstanding lighted practice area. The food in the dining room is solid, with many other options available within a five-mile drive.

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Georgia Club - clubhouseChateau Elan Winery and Resort

Stan Awtrey spent 25 years as a sports writer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is editor of Golf Georgia, the official magazine of the Georgia State Golf Association, and writes a weekly column for PGATOUR.com. His work has appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites.

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