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Rivermont vs Berkeley Hills


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I have played both, but am a member at Country Club of Roswell, which we joined after playing complementary rounds at all 3. Berkely Hills was a little rough last season, nice clubhouse...weak pool. Rivermont is more of a golf club than a country club. For us CCR blew both away...great dining, pool/waterpark is amazing and golf course is extremely well maintained...yes a little quirky, but you can always get on. Our mens golf association is extremely active and welcoming. We also have some great specials right now that knock the initiation fee down to next to nothing. Id be happy to take you out and show you around if you want or set you up with a free round through our membership director if we cant mesh our schedules.

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7 years ago I had nearly the same debate, living in Brookhaven narrowed down my options to Rivermont and Berkeley Hills. I chose Berkeley and have been very happy there ever since.

 

Comparing the two courses , they are greatly different, the look and play-ability of Rivermont was built as a 1970s neighborhood course and rebuilt about a decade ago with a more natural/modern/links look. While the entire course is house lines, they don't often come into play, but this does make the walk much longer. Berkeley on the other hand is a more traditional mid-century american parksland course where the houses are only on the outside of the property. Visually Rivermont is a much more interesting golf course, but Berkeley is a course that surprises many with its unseen difficulty and some of the best greens in the southeast. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but our super Chris is often called on to consult for other clubs making the switch to small blade bermuda, including the changes that both East Lake and the AAC made.

 

I felt that the practice facilities at Rivermont were really only suited for warming up and Berkeley is much more equipt for long term practice. As mentioned earlier Rivermont is a golf club, and focused solely towards that. As a young bachelor That didn't bother me, but now I appreciate having the clubhouse amenities as well as the tennis and swim.

 

While I can't speak to the crowd at Rivermont, I very much enjoy the player culture we have at Berkeley. There seems to be a place for everyone and any level of competition you want to partake. I can't say for sure, but I'd guess that Berkeley has 50-60 guys with sub 5 handicaps and quite a few traveling tournament players. Tee times have also never been a problem, even on Saturday morning you can find a game available and the pro shop staff are great at introducing you to various groups that you may fit into.

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I was also between a few courses before joining Berkeley.

 

Not crowded at all during the week. Even mornings.

 

greens cant be beat.

 

get you a peach pass for 85 express lane. itll be much easier to get to than dealing with 400 traffic and holcomb bridge.

 

Get a tour at both places and see what you like.

 

Everything hollbach says is accurate.

 

* i was living in Brookhaven when i joined.

we have since moved to Sandy Springs but im still planning on keeping my membership at this point.

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So i had the same exact situation and chose Berkeley Hills. I have since moved on but i can tell you about both courses.

Rivermont

Cons-

not as good as a driving range

no clubhouse really

would be harder to meet people

very hard to walk (hilly and holes spread out)

 

PROS-

better layout

better shape

 

 

Berkeley Hills

CONS

greens- so the greens are good but they have some other grass growing on them now AND they will have to be replace in 3 years imo. They used to be the best thing about the course because Cink donated some money for them but they are just a little above average now.....

collars are awful. they were supposed to fix but they didnt before i left. you get a ton of bad bounces on them

irrigation- dont really have a system. was super dry last year and the fairways got pretty bad

tee times- so many standing tee times in the morning. The online system is great but if you don't find an early morning group then you won't get on until atleast 0900.

4 hour rounds- every weekend. maybe 4.5...The course is hard so it doesn't help but it just takes forever for some reason

 

 

PROS

fantastic people

great players

solid practice facility with grass range on weekends during winter

very walkable and can walk whenever

great food and prices

 

It looks like I was dogging on Berkeley Hills but i'm just being honest. I would absolutely join Berkeley in a heartbeat again. I loved it. Both of these courses gets played ALOT. It's not like a normal country club.. it's a players club. The tee sheet will be filled every weekend from 0800-1400 plus they will go off front and back in the mornings.

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Berkeley Hills

CONS

greens- so the greens are good but they have some other grass growing on them now AND they will have to be replace in 3 years imo. They used to be the best thing about the course because Cink donated some money for them but they are just a little above average now.....

collars are awful. they were supposed to fix but they didnt before i left. you get a ton of bad bounces on them

irrigation- dont really have a system. was super dry last year and the fairways got pretty bad

tee times- so many standing tee times in the morning. The online system is great but if you don't find an early morning group then you won't get on until atleast 0900.

4 hour rounds- every weekend. maybe 4.5...The course is hard so it doesn't help but it just takes forever for some reason

 

 

It looks like I was dogging on Berkeley Hills but i'm just being honest. I would absolutely join Berkeley in a heartbeat again. I loved it. Both of these courses gets played ALOT. It's not like a normal country club.. it's a players club. The tee sheet will be filled every weekend from 0800-1400 plus they will go off front and back in the mornings.

 

Speaking with Chris in the past about the greens he has discussed reducing the buildup of thatch, but I've never heard him discuss replacing them. I do know that he has changed some of his agronomy practices to help control how the greens age, which has included cutting them a little bit longer, resulting in the greens being slowed to around 11 on the stimpmeter. They still roll amazingly true but some may complain about their muted color.

 

That's one thing you'll notice about both courses, neither of them follow the Augusta National playbook for agronomy and both will be patchwork of colors throughout the year. Rivermont has blended in quite a few different species of grasses into their course to both provide a more textured look and more robust and resilient playing surface all year. At Berkeley we've always kept our watering on the lighter side, which creates a wonderfully firm and fast playing surface, but also a muted and less uniform color palette of green and tans. If you're expecting wall to wall emerald, neither course will give you that, but both courses have excellent greens staff and keep their courses in great playing shape all year. As for the collars at Berkeley, they started work on them this morning.

 

On Saturdays I typically play in one of the very last morning tee times, so I have nearly 2 hours of foursomes in front of us and I don't think I've ever had a round last 4.5 hours. While I'd love the Saturday pace to be a little quicker we seem to get around without fail in 4 hours, with more round less than 4 than over 4.

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No problem getting a round in mid-morning during the week at Berkeley. I usually play in the evenings during the week and weekend mornings. I've never had an issue getting a time and can count on two hands the number of time it's taken longer than 4:15 to play. This past Sunday, we teed off at 8:38 and finished at 12:05. As stated above, more rounds less than 4 hours than over 4...even on weekends. The few times I've played in the morning during the week, it's been wide open.

 

I joined 3 years ago. Was tired of playing the public courses. I put off joining a club because I thought I would get tired of playing the same course. It hasn't happened yet. Lots of good players and good people.

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To me, coming from ITP/Buckhead/Brookhaven, it would be a crappy ride to Rivermont.

85 peach pass to BH is great

Traffic is a huge factor in the decision imo.,

 

Good luck getting to Holcomb Bridge Rd and down that road at 5pm on a Friday.

 

And if Rivermont is not very walkable, (i dont know, never even seen it) then cart fees will start to add up.

 

Walking has become my favorite way of playing the game.

And I hate walking.

 

They started work on fixing the collars this week at BH.

Certain holes will be closed throughout the coming weeks.

 

Hadnt been up there this week and going out of town this weekend.

 

interested to see how it turns out.

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I have played both, but am a member at Country Club of Roswell, which we joined after playing complementary rounds at all 3. Berkely Hills was a little rough last season, nice clubhouse...weak pool. Rivermont is more of a golf club than a country club. For us CCR blew both away...great dining, pool/waterpark is amazing and golf course is extremely well maintained...yes a little quirky, but you can always get on. Our mens golf association is extremely active and welcoming. We also have some great specials right now that knock the initiation fee down to next to nothing. Id be happy to take you out and show you around if you want or set you up with a free round through our membership director if we cant mesh our schedules.

 

I second this. If you're looking for a full country club you need to check out CCR.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...

Hey y'all -- newbie here. Considering joining Berkeley Hills before the end of this year. Hoping some of you can help with a few questions:

  • How is Berkeley in terms of family friendliness? We don't really need the pool, but very interested in events that my wife and I can enjoy with the kids.
  • We live near Emory; seems like a pretty easy drive up 85 most times?
  • What does the membership base look like? Decent number of people who live in the Decatur/Brookhaven/Buckhead corridor or is it more Gwinnetian? Lots of younger families?
  • My four year old is starting to get into golf. Is this a good place to help foster that? Can I show up with him and walk 3-4 holes or fool around at the practice areas without annoying people?
  • Any idea how many members there are? More importantly, any idea how many active members there are?

I'm planning to get up and play the course sometime this month and the membership director has been incredibly helpful so far, but some real-life opinions never hurt! Thanks to anyone who can offer them.

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I have been at Berkeley Hills for about four years, and I have really enjoyed it echoing a lot of the comments already stated.

 

I live in the Clairmont / Briarcliff / Emory general area, and the drive on the weekends is 20 minutes door to door. Maybe a couple more minutes depending on how far you are from 85.

 

Playing after work will likely be a struggle, just due to general Atlanta traffic, but summer evening rounds are a treat.

 

We do not have kids, but there are always kids around practicing and playing.

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I have been at Berkeley Hills for about four years, and I have really enjoyed it echoing a lot of the comments already stated.

 

I live in the Clairmont / Briarcliff / Emory general area, and the drive on the weekends is 20 minutes door to door. Maybe a couple more minutes depending on how far you are from 85.

 

Playing after work will likely be a struggle, just due to general Atlanta traffic, but summer evening rounds are a treat.

 

We do not have kids, but there are always kids around practicing and playing.

 

Thank you for the feedback! Sounds like we're in the same general area. Sagamore Hills here!

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I have been at Berkeley Hills for about four years, and I have really enjoyed it echoing a lot of the comments already stated.

 

I live in the Clairmont / Briarcliff / Emory general area, and the drive on the weekends is 20 minutes door to door. Maybe a couple more minutes depending on how far you are from 85.

 

Playing after work will likely be a struggle, just due to general Atlanta traffic, but summer evening rounds are a treat.

 

We do not have kids, but there are always kids around practicing and playing.

 

Thank you for the feedback! Sounds like we're in the same general area. Sagamore Hills here!

Yes, the very same area.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I’m in the process of moving from South Florida to the Atlanta area, and I’m most likely going to be joining Berkeley Hills as well. Having lived in ATL before and knowing the public golf scene, it’s kind of a no brainer if you’re under 40. If you’re like me you really value the parkland style/walkable courses that are a rare find in Atlanta (except for the high end clubs - East Lake, Peachtree, AAC, etc). I played BHCC a couple weeks ago, and the greens are definitely some of the best around. The layout fits my eye more than some of the courses built in subdivisions that I generally don’t like (personal preference). I know there are a lot of good players at BH too so I’m looking forward to it. I also have my priorities in order, so I found my golf course 1st, and found my house based on that location, lol.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 10 months later...

7 years ago I had nearly the same debate, living in Brookhaven narrowed down my options to Rivermont and Berkeley Hills. I chose Berkeley and have been very happy there ever since.

 

Comparing the two courses , they are greatly different, the look and play-ability of Rivermont was built as a 1970s neighborhood course and rebuilt about a decade ago with a more natural/modern/links look. While the entire course is house lines, they don't often come into play, but this does make the walk much longer. Berkeley on the other hand is a more traditional mid-century american parksland course where the houses are only on the outside of the property. Visually Rivermont is a much more interesting golf course, but Berkeley is a course that surprises many with its unseen difficulty and some of the best greens in the southeast. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but our super Chris is often called on to consult for other clubs making the switch to small blade bermuda, including the changes that both East Lake and the AAC made.

 

I felt that the practice facilities at Rivermont were really only suited for warming up and Berkeley is much more equipt for long term practice. As mentioned earlier Rivermont is a golf club, and focused solely towards that. As a young bachelor That didn't bother me, but now I appreciate having the clubhouse amenities as well as the tennis and swim.

 

While I can't speak to the crowd at Rivermont, I very much enjoy the player culture we have at Berkeley. There seems to be a place for everyone and any level of competition you want to partake. I can't say for sure, but I'd guess that Berkeley has 50-60 guys with sub 5 handicaps and quite a few traveling tournament players. Tee times have also never been a problem, even on Saturday morning you can find a game available and the pro shop staff are great at introducing you to various groups that you may fit into.

 

Does anyone have any more detail around the practice areas. I assume both have a range, putting green and chipping green with either a bunker on the side of the range or the side of the chipping green. What does Berkeley have in addition to this that makes it better. Or is it just the quality, and things like size that make Berkeley better in this area?

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Rivermont’s range is it’s biggest weakness. It’s like they built the course and clubhouse and said, “oh sh*t, we forgot to create a range” so they used what little space they had left to create the small, irons-only range. There are a couple of practice greens and there is a nice practice bunker, but it really isn’t the best practice area. More of a warmup area, which I consider to be different.

 

With that said, as much as I like BH’s course, I think Rivermont is one of the more fun courses to play in North Metro Atlanta.

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