Design Notes

Beau Welling rejuvenates historic Atlanta Country Club

John Colligan and Trey Kemp overhaul Texas’ Meadowbrook; Florida’s Killearn gains a new Chris Wilczynski-designed nine

Atlanta Country Club.

Longtime PGA Tour venue Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, Georgia has reopened following a comprehensive renovation project led by Beau Welling and his firm, Beau Welling Design.

The renovation included significant infrastructure updates and design alterations to the course, enhanced practice facilities and additional off-course amenities. As part of the renovation, Welling and senior designer Scott Benson revitalized the 58-year-old Willard Byrd-designed championship layout to increase playability and foster a communal golf experience while modernizing the golf course.

"Our team is very proud of the work we’ve done to reinvigorate both the golf course and the larger campus while preserving the longstanding ideals of which Atlanta Country Club is rightfully proud," Welling said. "For many years, Byrd’s design challenged the game’s greats as a prominent venue for championship golf. With this renovation, Atlanta Country Club will no doubt continue to be a true test for the elite player, but I’m even more excited about what this will do for the membership and their guests who will enjoy the elevated playability and sense of community that we hope to inspire with all of our designs."

One of the primary changes to the golf course is the installation of the Hydronics temperature control system underneath each green. The subsurface water pumps and piping allow the new 007XL Bentgrass putting surfaces to continue to thrive year-round, including during the heat of Georgia summers. Other agronomic improvements include a change from Bermudagrass in the fairways to Zorro Zoysia as well as a complete overhaul of drainage and irrigation systems across the entire property.

Based on feedback from the membership during the project master planning and initial surveys of the property, BWD added 13 forward tees throughout the course, including multiple elongated and winding "ribbon" tee complexes to offer additional options for tee placements and an increased variety of shot selections off the tee. While many holes feature design enhancements that sought to honor the original Byrd design, the par-3 fifth and par-5 11th holes were substantially redesigned in the renovation.

"As a membership, we are excited that the exceptional golf and overall experience at Atlanta Country Club is getting even better," said Larry Nelson, a World Golf Hall of Famer and an Atlanta Country Club member. “We recognized now is the right time to look toward the future and how this renovation can help us achieve our goals as a club, and we could not be happier with the work Beau and his team have done to cement our legacy as stewards of the game for generations to come."

Among the other work performed, numerous fairway and greenside bunkers were adjusted to recalibrate the bunkering strategy and now feature Bunker Solutions technology designed to improve drainage and create a more visually compelling appearance. Several existing cart paths were also rerouted to promote proper drainage and increase course aesthetics.

Around the clubhouse, the BWD team redesigned the practice area, including a 40 percent larger driving range and the addition of a multi-green short game area, as well as a new practice putting green. All these changes are intended to foster a more communal atmosphere for the membership which is highlighted by a new patio overlooking the 18th green which creates an excellent vantage point for spectators and/or members to watch golfers finish their rounds.

Founded in 1964 and opened in 1966, Atlanta Country Club hosted the PGA Tour’s Atlanta Classic from its inception in 1967 through 1996, where winners included Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite and John Daly. It also played host to the inaugural Players Championship in 1974 when Nicklaus was the winner.

Meadowbrook Golf Course, a municipal layout owned and operated by the city of Fort Worth, Texas, is in the midst of a comprehensive redesign by architects John Colligan and Trey Kemp.

The two were responsible for reviving the fortunes of another Fort Worth muni, Rockwood Park, in 2017. With the success of that project, the city contracted with them to wave their wands at Meadowbrook, originally a John Bredemus design which turns 100 this year.

This is the first significant renovation work at Meadowbrook since 1963, when Ralph Plummer reworked tees and greens, together with digging seven new lakes. Plans call for rerouting 15 of the century-old Bredemus holes.

“Rerouting the golf course to take advantage of the topography is a major part of the renovation,” Kemp told “The only holes that will not be rerouted are holes 10, 12 and 13. However, the 12th will change from a par 4 to a par 5 and the 13th will go from a par 5 to a par 4. Rerouting the golf course will be done for two major reasons: the city wanting to use the same recipe that was done at Rockwood Park, which included rerouting; and so that the layout will make the most of the site’s dramatic topography.

“Another major change golfers will notice is the width of the holes; many on the current course are very tight and claustrophobic and with the revamped layout, we will open up corridors and allow for wider fairways to give the golfer more options off the tee.”

Greens, bunkers, lakes and cart paths will also benefit from the Colligan/Kemp touch, together with subsurface drainage. Irrigation designer Larry Rodgers is aligned with the project in modernizing the existing system.

Construction commenced the first week of February, with the course expected to reopen in the summer of 2025.


Killearn is on the comeback trail, thanks in part to architect Chris Wilczynski. Located in Tallahassee, Florida, the Killearn Country Club & Inn debuted in 1967, with an 18-hole championship course designed by Bill Amick, who added a third nine in 1975, that came to be known as the North and then the Narrows. From 1969-1989, Killearn played host to the PGA Tour’s Tallahassee Open, known as the Centel Classic for its final three years. Never the most significant event on tour, it nonetheless attracted some of golf’s most prominent names, and produced champions such as Lee Trevino, Hubert Green and Chi Chi Rodriguez. From 1990 through 1993, the LPGA played at Killearn, and winners included Beth Daniel, Pat Bradley and Danielle Ammaccapane. Then Killearn’s fortunes began to sag.

By 2014, the club’s owner decided to sell off the third nine and develop housing, but the plan never came to fruition. At long last, a white knight emerged in the form of tech maven David Cummings, a Tallahassee resident who grew up at Killearn. In 2022, he bought the club, and soon embarked on a multimillion-dollar investment to reinvigorate the golf and club experience. He hired architect Chris Wilczynski to revitalize the golf, which includes reimagining the old North/Narrows course into the Clover.

“As a child growing up in Killearn, we would exclusively play the North/Narrows course due to its availability and kid-friendly nature,” said Cummings. “Now, with the new Clover course, it’s the ultimate family-friendly golf outing. I’m excited for the next generation of golfers to develop their love of golf on the Clover.”

Wilczynski’s new course features five par-3 holes and four short par 4s. The walking-only layout will offer three tees per hole, narrow, tree-lined fairways, small greens with strategically placed bunkers and grass hollows, new drought tolerant TifTuf Bermudagrass, a new irrigation system and improved drainage. Construction is due to be finished in May.

“My vision for the Clover was to create short, fun and accessible holes that would complement the championship Camellia course (to re-open in summer 2024) and provide players with a totally unique golfing experience,” said Wilczynski. “The holes on this course are short so we took some creative risks with the design elements to give golfers the opportunity to challenge their shotmaking skills. I think it’s going to be an exciting and popular component to the reimagined club.”