Making the grade of 80 top courses from around the world, the Golf Course at Barnsley ranked third in southeastern U.S. golf resorts.
"It's a great honor to receive it because that ranking comes from their readership. So to me it's an honor that our guests and the people that play here feel that passionate about our golf course," said Scott Mahr, general manager at Barnsley Gardens.
Rated for seven areas of excellence, including service, staff, lodging, dining, design and location, the course at Barnsley made its biggest mark in the area of course design and access. In this area, the Adairsville course stood above all 15 ranked courses within the Southeast region.
Director of Golf Roger Mack commented on the professionally designed course and the attributes that bring it such acclaim.
"There's several aspects of the course that bring it this recognition.
"One is that the golf course is cut through the woods here on the property. There are no homes on the property so it's just cut through nature, and the golf course designer, Jim Fazio, took advantage of that," Mack said. "It's a good spot to come out and get away and enjoy your time away from your job."
Emphasizing nuances of the course design heightening the level of play at Barnsley, Mahr noted the challenge found with specific holes and their addition to the course's character.
"It's probably the best collection of par 3s anywhere. I think it's the changes in elevation, the golf course design, obviously the characteristics of the holes," he said.
Mack also commented on this attribute explaining that two par 3 holes have more than a 100-foot drop in elevation from tee to green, adding to the excitement and challenge of the course.
Other aspects regarded by Mahr as reasons for the course's success include the continuous work done to ensure optimum playing conditions.
"The golf course is always in great condition. It's literally always good and I think that's a big key for its success is its maintenance program," Mahr said. "You've got to have a golf course superintendent that's passionate -- that cares about that. Lance, his name is Lance McDonald, and he is incredibly passionate about his product."
Regard to the work done by McDonald and the maintenance team was also given by Mack as he commented on the green conditions adding to the level of challenge found throughout the course.
"With our Superintendent Lance McDonald keeping the greens at a good pace, this makes for a lot of excitement. You don't just plop up on the green and it sticks next to the hole. Our greens are typically firm and fast so you have to calculate for the land and roll, which you don't at a lot of golf courses," Mack said. "That makes the play of the course interesting and challenging every single time you play it. The golf course is not a boring golf course to play simply because of that. I like to say that you've got your hands full if you miss the approach shot on the short side of the flag."
Open to the public with memberships available, local residents make up a large percentage of golf course guests.
Mack estimated that about 65 percent of memberships are from Cartersville, Rome and Calhoun.
"Barnsley is a neat spot -- a very quaint, comfortable, relaxing resort with multiple amenities and we're open 365 days a year. Most private clubs are closed at least one day of the week," he said. "We know how special it is. It's just a matter of getting the word out and over the last three to five years that's started to happen."