Our Story



Our Beginning

In 1999 the concept of Champions Retreat was born. Sculpt 27 holes of championship golf from 365 acres of skyward Georgia pines, long-standing hardwoods and wetlands. Sprinkle in luxury accommodations to include hardwood flooring, charming fireplaces and welcoming porches and create a unique golf environment down the road from the Augusta National. Gary Player chose the Masters Champions Dinner in 1999 as his setting to recruit Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer to share in the creation of this dream.


As the Big 3, they were the most iconic figures to ever play the game. Between them, 13 green jackets, 34 Major victories and 159 tournament wins. Never before had these three each created their own individually designed course at one property, making Champions Retreat a singularly unique experience in the world of golf and their collective efforts by 2005.

“The Island Nine is flanked on one side by the broad Savannah River and on the other side by the Little River. The spectacular hardwoods and pines along the river bank have been saved and the fairways have been raised to take advantage of the beautiful vistas out in the rivers. There is not a better setting for golf in the South.”
- Arnold Palmer
“This is a nice, rolling piece of property with mature pines throughout. Very little dirt has been moved, which means the course fits nicely with the existing terrain and its surroundings. This is the kind of site that provides you the opportunity to design a golf course that on opening day will appear as if it’s been there for 50 years. There is a great deal of variety in the routing, with this nine featuring uphill and downhill shots, as well as a balance of right-to-left and left-to-right holes.”
- Jack Nicklaus
“The site for the Creek Nine at Champions Retreat offered so many opportunities for a wonderful golf course. The opening four holes play a beautiful wetland area while the remaining holes move upland through native hardwood tress. The ninth dramatically plays over and around a large lake on the right. All level players will finish the nine with a variety of shot- making challenges.”
- Gary Player

Our Future

With the foundation for an amazing property laid, Champions Retreat began a transformation in 2014 under the new ownership of Bill Forrest. The vision to further elevate Champions Retreat through improvement of the courses to create national caliber playing surfaces, ensure elevated, bespoke hospitality, beverage and service, as well as control the methodology through professional management was the focus.

Since 2019, Champions Retreat has been adding the new generation of Champions. Jennifer Kupcho’s win of the Inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, followed by Japan’s Tsubasa Kajitani win in 2021 have furthered the lore of a breeding ground for championship golf. Future Augusta National Women’s Amateur events are to be played at Champions Retreat in 2022, 2023 and 2024. In addition, six touring Professionals call Champions Retreat home, representing the PGA, Champions and Korn Ferry Tours. Both Luke List and Scott Parel boast victories in the past 3 years.

Augusta National Women's Amateur Champs

Jennifer Kupcho of the United States celebrates with the Augusta National Women's Amateur trophy after winning the Augusta National Women's Amateur, Saturday, April 6, 2019.
Tsubasa Kajitani of Japan celebrates with the trophy after winning in the sudden-death playoff during the final round of the Augusta National Women's Amateur, Saturday, April 3, 2021.

Professional Members

Vaughn Taylor

Born in Roanoke, Virginia and raised in Augusta, Georgia, Vaughn Taylor turned professional in 1999. In 2004, Taylor played his first full year with a PGA Tour card. He claimed his first tour victory after a four-way playoff at the 2004 Reno-Tahoe Open. He now holds three PGA tour victories and one Korn Ferry Tour victory.

Henrik Norlander

A native to Sweden, Norlander currently resides in Augusta, Georgia. Norlander turned professional in 2011 and in the same year graduated with a Business Marketing degree from Augusta University. At this time, he holds two Korn Ferry Tour Victories, the 2015 Hotel Fitness Championship and the 2019 Wichita Open.

Luke List

A resident of Augusta, Georgia, List turned professional in 2007 after graduating from Vanderbilt University. He currently holds one PGA Tour victory and two Korn Ferry Tour victories. In the 2021-22 season, List earned his first PGA Tour title at the Farmers Insurance Open. He comes from a family of swimmers as both of his parents were All-American swimmers at the University of North Carolina while his sisters were also collegiate swimmers.

Matt Atkins

Born in Pennsylvania, Atkins played golf at Henderson State University for one year before transferring to the University of South Carolina Aiken. He turned professional in 2013 and currently holds one Korn Ferry Tour victory from the 2017 El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova. He secured his spot in the PGA Tour during the 2017-18 season.

Scott Parel

An alumnus of the University of Georgia, Parel turned professional in 1996 and currently holds three PGA Tour Champions Victories and one Korn Ferry Tour victory. After his win at the 2020 Chubb Classic, Parel moved to no. 1 in the Charles Schwab Cup for the first time.

Shad Tuten

Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, Tuten turned professional in 2016. In the same year, he won the Georgia Open where he finished at 15-under for a three-shot win. Tuten joined the Korn Ferry tour in 2020 and the PGA Tour Latinoamérica in 2017. He currently resides in Naples, Florida and has been a Member of Champions Retreat since 2017.