Day Trip: Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds


My mother- and father-in-law gifted my husband and me with the perfect Christmas present last year: a day of clay shooting at Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds in Greensboro, Georgia. It was the perfect gift in multiple ways; one, because we love to shoot, and two, because we were building a house, and it was not a tangible item that required moving.

Because of said house build and subsequent move, we didn’t actually get around to cashing in our present until October, but no matter. It was the first cool, crisp weekend of fall, and couldn’t have been more perfect for someone who doesn’t like excessive heat or the snakes that the heat tends to bring.

Upon entering the gates of Sandy Creek, I was immediately ready to get married again – because I fell so in love with this property. The perfect setting for an outdoor wedding, the 200-year-old barn relocated from Pennsylvania (and I thought my move was tough) overlooks a pristine 40-acre stocked lake with a two-story boathouse on 812 total acres. The aforementioned 6,750-square-foot restored barn also features a covered terrace with a stone fireplace, catering kitchen, an antique saloon bar and event porch.

We brought our own guns (one must be a bit particular when one has very short arms), but Sandy Creek provides everything needed for your outdoor adventure, including an array of shotguns, ammo and eye and ear protection, as well as archery supplies, canoes and kayaks, fishing gear and off-road course. As much as we love those other activities, on this particular day, we were there to kill a few clays.

For the uninitiated, clay shooting is sort of like golf with a shotgun. Each stand is unique in its terrain as well as the clay movement. The 20-stand signature course features ponds, wooded areas, rolling terrain and a century-old pecan orchard.

Our guide, Aaron, not only took us to his favorite stands – as well as stands he knew we’d shoot well after watching us – he provided excellent tips for better shooting, as a former third-best-shooter-in-the-state would do. (Aaron’s brother, Jasper – a junior national champion and 2020 state champion – also instructs at Sandy Creek. The entire guide team are Certified Recreational Instructors.) Aaron’s tutelage led to not one, but TWO perfect “rabbit” shots – something that has never happened for me whilst clay shooting (those wascally wabbits…). 

Another favorite stand simulated duck hunting over a pond, which included two fairly typical (or so I’m told by my duck hunting husband) flight approach shots, and a seemingly impossible clay-skipping-across-the-lake shot – basically the wet version of the rabbit.

Sandy Creek also features a five-stand sporting clays course – a par-three course, to continue the golf analogy. Five-stand shooters take aim from a cabin set above a spring-fed pond (with an old tractor hiding the clay thrower – so cute!), giving the distinct feeling of being a Hatfield or McCoy back in the day. 

The Sandy Creek facility was designed and is directed by Great Britain’s international shooting champion Justin Jones, who also taught some dude named Prince Charles how to shoot. He also created the private shooting grounds at the home of King Hussein of Jordan and coached James Bond himself (Sean Connery), among other celebrities. 

A world-class playground for outdoor enthusiasts, Sandy Creek offers something for everyone who enjoys the outdoors. Come spend a few hours, a morning, or an entire day outside.