Okefenokee County Club prepared to test Class 5A’s mettle at GHSA golf championship

The Class 5A boys and girls golf seasons will end at Okefenokee Country Club in Blackshear, a Joe Lee-designed course ready to challenge every club in the golfer’s bag.

“The defense of this course are the greens,” said long-time Okefenokee member and Ware County golf coach Tony Wheeler. “The course is absolutely fantastic. It has turned into a very nice place. The greens have a lot of slope and can become very difficult.”

Okefenokee plays 6,771 yards from the back tees and was designed and opened in 1977 featuring difficult bunker placements and small water hazards which come into play on a majority of holes. Built on the banks of the Satilla River, the course was laid out to flow with the land, disrupting little of the natural beauty surrounding the property.

“You better drive it well and you better have a good short game,” Wheeler said. “It’s kind of a hidden gem. It’s a really good golf course and I don’t think a lot of people know of it. We hosted the state championship two years ago and we got a lot of positive reviews.”

Greenbrier are the defending 5A girls champions and enter the state tournament ranked No.3 behind top-ranked McIntosh and No. 2 Northview.

“They are very good,” Wheeler said. “We also played Northside-Columbus a couple of weeks ago in a match, and they are right up there too, they’re really good. Also Harris County and McIntosh are teams to watch. There’s a lot of depth, more than just the star-studded one player team. A lot of these girls play really good golf.”

On the boys side, defending champion Cambridge is ranked No. 2 behind top-ranked Cartersville while No. 3 Dalton, No. 4 Midtown and No. 5 Northgate round out the top 5.

“I think Class 5A boys, there are a lot of really good golfers,” Wheeler said. “There are some really good players on the boys side of the class. I have one guy on my team, Trace Carter, he won the individual title last year and he’s back for us. So there’s a lot of good ones out there.”

Whereas some years, a team is expected to win a state title from the first tee shot of the season, this year the talent pool seems far deeper, with several programs looking to finish at the top.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Wheeler said. “Because I think there’s about three or four boys teams who could put a run on it and do some good things.”

See the rankings below or follow the link to the Score Atlanta Golf Central hub.

Class 5A boys rankings

1. Cartersville

2. Cambridge

3. Dalton

4. Midtown

5. Northgate

6. Harris County

7. Greenbrier

8. Calhoun

9. Centennial

10. Ware County

Class 5A girls rankings

1. McIntosh

2. Northview

3. Greenbrier

4. Northside-Columbus

5. Cambridge

6. Harris County

7. Jefferson

8. Ware County

9. Coffee

10. Loganville

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