For the best daily fees, though, your best bet might be the suburbs. Fortunately, there are courses in every direction. Here are 10 worth checking out:
The Frog, Villa Rica
Designed by Tom Fazio, The Frog is one of the Atlanta area's favorite daily-fee courses. Located about a half-hour west of downtown, the course features bentgrass greens, Fazio's signature bunkers and plenty of undulation. It's also an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary course.
Bear's Best, Suwanee
Located in about 40 minutes northeast of downtown Atlanta, Bear's Best Atlanta compiles the greatest Jack Nicklaus golf course designs into one 18-hole golf course. Like its sister course in Las Vegas, Bear's Best Atlanta is a selection of 18 holes from Jack Nicklaus' nearly 300 course designs worldwide. Among the featured courses are Castle Pines, Muirfield Village, PGA National's Champion Course, Sherwood Country Club, Shoal Creek and the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles.
Echelon Golf Club, Alpharetta
Built as a high-end private club, this Rees Jones design offers tee times to the public as well. With plenty of elevation change and impeccable conditions, Echelon Golf Club is laid out over 600 acres of rolling hills, known for its horse farms and polo fields. There's also a 35-acre practice facility where you can work on any shot imaginable.
Chateau Elan, Braselton
Chateau Elan is both a resort and public golf venue. As you might expect, the resort is located amid the largest winery in Georgia, which makes the perfect backdrop for 63 holes of golf. Two of the 18-hole courses, the Chateau Course and Woodlands Course (both designed by Denis Griffiths), are open to the public as is a par-3 course there. The best course, the Legends Course (designed by legends Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Kathy Whitworth), is private, but there is limited access for guests.
Stone Mountain (Ga.) Golf Club
Just minutes from downtown, Stone Mountain Golf Club, one of the most popular public offerings in the Atlanta area, has two courses that wind through a forest of Georgia pines and around Stone Mountain Lake. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the original Stonemont Course is the more difficult of the two layouts, with narrow fairways, plenty of bunkers and thick Georgia pines. The newer Lakemont Course, designed by John LaFoy, is more resort style and offers some of best views on the carving side of Stone Mountain.
Cherokee Run Golf Club, Conyers
This Arnold Palmer design, which features zoysia fairways, got new MiniVerde greens a few years ago as part of a complete restoration. The work also included the thinning out of trees. Cherokee Run Golf Club is a tough test and plays well more than 7,000 yards from the back set of tees. The final four holes are nicknamed "The Trail of Tears," evoking the unfortunate forced relocation of American Indians in the 1800s.
Cobblestone Golf Course, Acworth
Cobblestone Golf Course, located just northwest of Atlanta, features eight holes along Lake Acworth. Designed by Houston architect Ken Dye of Finger-Dye-Spann, this municipal course was renovated in 2010 and remains a local favorite. Discount programs are available for frequent players at this gorgeous 6,600-yard layout, which is one of the best values in the area.
Summer Grove Golf Club, Newnan
At nearly 7,000 yards, Summer Grove Golf Club was developed to preserve natural obstacles such as creeks, wetlands, and stands of dogwood and pine trees. As such it is one of just two Audubon International Signature courses in the state. It was designed by Jeff Burton and Joe Jemsek, the latter of whom is part of the Jemsek Family, which also owns Cog Hill in the Chicago area. With plenty of doglegs and lush conditions, Summer Grove, located just less than an hour from downtown Atlanta, is worth the drive.
Fox Creek and Legacy Golf Links, Smyrna
Finally, if you're looking for a quick nine or 18 or just want to get some practice time, head over to Fox Creek Golf Club or Legacy Golf Links, located near the new Atlanta Braves stadium, about 25 minutes northwest of downtown off I-75. Both are executive golf courses in good shape and fun to play. Fox Creek was designed by John LaFoy, while Larry Nelson designed the Legacy. There are also 100 hitting stations on the range, short-game area and plenty of instructors to help you with your swing and player programs.