The Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds is an idyllic post-round playground

Sandy Creek's lakeside boathouse serves as a launching point for fans of fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Courtesy of Reynolds Lake Oconee

After you’ve experienced all six (soon to be seven) golf courses at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga., you may be ready for a shot of a different variety. And there’s no better place to find one than the Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds, an 800-acre facility where you can hike, fish, kayak, canoe, go off-roading — and shoot to your heart’s content.

Justin Jones
The facility’s director, Justin Jones. Courtesy of Reynolds Lake Oconee

The Sporting Grounds’ crown jewel is a 20-station sporting-clays course situated along a mile-long trail circuit. The course was designed in 2017 by the facility’s director Justin Jones, a man whose lineage in shooting sports runs deep. Jones’ grandfather and father captained the British Olympic trap-shooting teams, and his family farm in Wales is home to the leading trap-shooting grounds in Great Britain.

Jones himself is an international shooting champion, and the Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds he designed is intended to bring British tradition and authenticity to the heart of Georgia.

“I designed [the shooting course] very much like a golf course,” Jones says. “We have par 3s, par 4s, par 5s in terms of difficulty on each hole or each station. Different distances, just like on the golf course. Every month, we move around the machines — the traps that actually launch the clays — just like moving the pin on a green.”

Reynolds’ ultimate field of play? Its golf, including the spectacular par-4 18th on Rees Jones’ Oconee course. Courtesy of Reynolds Lake Oconee

Interested visitors will be happy to know that shooting experience is not required. Jones estimates that 70 percent of his guests are first-time shooters. Each group of guests is accompanied by a certified guide, and the course can be configured to launch clay targets at a variety of speeds, trajectories, angles, elevations and distances to accommodate every level of shooter. According to Jones, golfers may be surprised to find they have a natural predisposition for success, thanks to the hand-eye coordination required. In fact, a day on the Grounds may even improve your golf game.

In a controlled but rough-and-tumble environment, guests can enjoy an off-road driving course that follows the native contours and topography of the land. Courtesy of Reynolds Lake Oconee

“I had a golfer come out, and he was struggling with the shooting,” Jones says. “He had a dominant left eye. I closed his left eye for him, and he started hitting everything right in the middle. So then he started doing the same for his putting, which has improved dramatically too.”

Yep. It sounds to us like a course well worth taking. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on