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Georgia's unofficial I-95 trail runs the golf gamut

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

Good golf courses in Georgia can be had just minutes from I-95, including at the Club at Savannah Harbor, Wilmington Island Club and Laurel Island Links.

Lost Plantation Golf Club
Lost Plantation Golf Club is a Joe Lee design built in 1989.
Lost Plantation Golf ClubCrosswinds Golf ClubSouthbridge Golf Course - Hole 2

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Hey, golfer! Slow that Mustang down. You don't have to barrel straight through Georgia on Interstate-95 South, hell-bent for all those sunny Florida golf courses.

Georgia has some sun and some golf courses too, right off I-95. So take a break, buy some peaches and fireworks, and play some golf.

These courses we've selected for you are all within five miles of the Interstate and run the gamut from cheap, little nine-holers that let you stretch your legs, to fancy resort courses where you can get in some serious links time. Most of these tracks are in the Savannah area, which sports several courses close to the interstate.

Lost Plantation Golf Club, Rincon, Exit 102, eight miles off I-95: Formerly known as Willopeg, Lost Plantation is a Joe Lee design built in 1989. The course is 6,667 yards from back tees with big landing areas and quite a few bunkers.

Green fees: $32-$37.

Tee times: (912) 826-2092

Crosswinds Golf Club, Savannah, Exit 104 (Savannah-Hilton Head airport exit), two miles of I-95: There is a regulation 18-hole course here as well as a par-3 course, the only one in the Savannah area.

The regulation course has rolling fairways and large, well-protected greens and plays through marsh and wetlands.

The par-3 course and practice facility are lighted Wednesday through Saturday.

Green fees: $40-$50

Tee times: (912) 966-1909

The Club at Savannah Harbor, Exit 99A, five miles off I-95: The course is situated between the Savannah and Back Rivers and was designed by noted architect Bob Cupp with consultation from Slammin' Sammy Snead.

Conde Nast once named the resort one of the top 60 golf resorts in the U.S. It has nice views of downtown Savannah. There is also the Greenbrier Spa located on the grounds.

The golf course plays through tidal wetlands and has a serious length of 7,288 the from back tees with a slope of 137.

Green fees: In the $135 range

Tee times: (912) 721-500

Mary Calder Golf Club, Savannah, Exit 102, five miles off I-95: This is a little nine-holer on flat terrain that opened in 1937.

Green fees: $22-$27

Tee times: (912) 238-6104

Southbridge Golf Club, Savannah, Exit at I-16 West to Dean Forest Road, five miles off I-95: This is a classic Rees Jones design. It plays through dense woods, mainly pine and live oak. The golf course has large, fast, undulating greens protected by grass mounds and the artful bunkering typically associated with Jones. Southbridge also has forgiving fairways.

Vikery's serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch

Green fees: $40-$50

Tee times: (912) 651-5455

Wilmington Island Club, Savannah, Exit 87, five miles from I-95: This is an old Donald Ross design that opened back in 1927 before the Great Depression. It's 6,876 yards from the back tees.

Green fees: $70 range, includes cart

Tee times: (912) 897-1612

Bacon Park Golf Course, Savannah, Exit 94, five miles from I-95: Bacon Park is a 27-hole facility with three separate nines: the Live Oak, Magnolia and Cypress.

Green fees: 20 range and cart costs $15 more

Tee times: (912) 354-2625

Henderson Golf Club, Savannah, Exit 94, five miles from I-95: The facility opened in 1995 when Golf Digest nominated it for best new public golf course in Georgia. The clubhouse overlooks the ninth and 18th greens, and chances are you'll spot some wildlife.

It's a par-71 layout that plays up to 6,700 yards, through live oaks, pines, magnolia and wetlands. The front nine is more open while the back has tree-lined fairways. The greens are undulating with generous collars.

Green fees: $40-$50 range

Tee times: (912) 920-4653

Waterford Landing Golf Club, Richmond Hill, Exit 87, three miles off I-95: Waterford Landing is located on the winding Jerico River. It's a semi-private facility with a bar and grill after you've finished the relatively short, 6,118-yard course.

Green fees: $28-$35

Tee times: (912) 727-4848

Sapello Hammock Golf Course, Townsend, Exit 58, five miles off I-95: Designed by Rusty Simmons, Sapello Hammock is a very picturesque course known for its collection of excellent par 3s, including the island 17th.

The course has fast greens, river views and GPS in the carts.

Green fees: $39-$47

Tee times: (912) 832-4653

Laurel Island Links, Kingsland, Exit 6, five miles off I-95: Laurel Island was designed by Davis Love III and plays through heavy woodlands, stretches of salt marsh and natural wetlands. It's more than 7,000 yards from the tips and has a driving range and large, practice putting green.

This may be the hardest course you play on this trek: It has a slope rating of 140 from the back tees.

Green fees $40-$50

Tee times: (912) 729-7277

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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