Bear's Best still golden in Gwinnett

The initial excitement over Bear's Best Atlanta's 2002 opening brought flocks of golfers to the Suwanee course - and it hasn't slowed.

Golfers still make the facility one of the busiest in Gwinnett, a sign that it has carved out a comfortable niche in the local golf market. The thrill of playing different Jack Nicklaus-designed holes from around the world is still attractive.

"One of our biggest challenges the next couple of months is that we are so busy," Bear's Best general manager Craig Riddle said. "It's hard to get tee times for everybody, so it is one of our challenges. If you haven't played the course I suggest you try it. We try to stress more an experience than just golf, so even if you have a bad round, hopefully it will still be one of your best golf experiences."

Despite the steady stream of golfers, Bear's Best doesn't let play drag to a halt. Each group gets one of the club's 65 full- and part-time forecaddies, a person in each group whose tasks range from finding errant drives to reading putts to providing information on the course. The forecaddies also are charged with keeping the club's four-hour pace of play in effect.

Time has only made the course better, allowing the trees, grass and other plants in the landscape to grow in better.

"In the last 31⁄2 years, the course has really, really matured," Riddle said. "We've added a couple of hundred trees that have started to grow. With every golf course, age definitely matures it and makes it better."

A major attraction at Bear's Best is still the variety of Nicklaus' designs. The holes at the Suwanee club are exact replicas of the Golden Bear's holes at famous courses around the world, ranging from Muirfield Village (Ohio) to Gleneagles (Scotland) to Castle Pines (Colorado) to St. Mellion (England).

For more information on Bear's Best Atlanta, go to www.bearsbest.com or call 678-714-2582.

Reeves, Stembridge take SJGT titles

Seth Reeves of Duluth and John Stembridge of Norcross won age-group titles earlier this week at the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour's Georgia Club Junior Classic in Statham.

Reeves won the boys 14- and 15-year-old title with rounds of 67 and 74 while Stembridge was first in boys 16- to 18-year-old play with scores of 74 and 67.

Lawrenceville's Lindsay Adams (80-82) was second in the girls 12- to 14-year-old division, just ahead of third-place finisher Abby Johnson of Braselton (84-81).

Jack Walsh of Lawrenceville (81-73) was third in Reeves' age group, Auburn's Drew Czuchry (77-78) tied for fourth and Lawrenceville's Zach Estep (75-81) tied for seventh.

In the boys 16- to 18-year-old competition, Snellville's Tyler Cashbaugh (74-71) tied for fifth and Duluth's Billy Shida (70-79) tied Dacula's Thomas Bush (76-73) for 13th. Snellville's Kevin Seay (77-74) was 18th and Duluth's Kevin Bennett (79-74) was 20th.

Golfing Gwinnett is a weekly column that highlights golf in the area and welcomes contributions from courses and individuals. To be included in the column, fax information to (770) 339-8081 or

e-mail to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.