While Myrtle Beach, an hour-and-a-half drive up Route 17 to the north, gets most of the credit for being a golfer’s paradise, the great city of Charleston, S.C. has its own, albeit much smaller, cache of courses to keep you entertained for a week or two.
Several new layouts have come on line during the last decade, joining a number of established courses. Located either in the Charleston or Mount Pleasant area are such solid layouts as Charleston National Country Club, Dunes West Golf and River Club, Rivertowne Country Club, and the Links at Stono Ferry. These tracks stand up against any in the Palmetto State for design, playability for golfers of all abilities, and price. And, of course, the upscale Kiawah portfolio, which includes the classic Ocean Course, is located close to Charleston. Here is a look at a few of he best courses in the Charleston area.
Charleston National Golf Club: Original plans called for the creation of a national membership-based venue that would rival other such exclusive destination golf clubs. The developers even had an airstrip built not far from the site. That was all before Hurricane Hugo took down some 4,000 wonderful old Spanish moss-draped “live oak” trees and forever altered the land. Proposals for a private facility were abandoned, the course was opened to the public and a tasteful community sprang up on the surrounding acreage. While the live oaks may be gone, the Rees Jones-designed layout still meanders skillfully through marshes and woods and affords a scenic, pure test of golfing skill. www.CharlestonNationalGolf.com.
Rivertowne Country Club:
Rivertowne is Arnold Palmer’s first signature layout in the Charleston area. The course, which hosts an annual LPGA event, is situated among scenic marshlands and majestic live oaks, with 13 holes routed along the Wando River and Horlbeck Creek. The tree-lined fairways provide generous landing areas to set up approach shots to multi-tiered greens guarded by bunkers and water. www.RivertowneCountryClub.com
Dunes West Golf Club: Upon entering this magical place, enjoy the straight, long drive up to the stately clubhouse that takes you past tall live oaks draped with Spanish moss.
Dunes West (plays from 6,859 yards from the tips to 5,208 yards from the forward markers. Water enters play on seven holes, but the fairways are fairly large and forgiving. The greens are mildly undulating and guarded by bunkers - both sand and grass. www.DunesWestGolfClub.com.
The Links at Stono Ferry: The Links at Stono Ferry has won numerous accolades in recent years for its conditioning, design and character. The course is located along the intra-coastal waterway and features a links-style design. The front nine was carved out of stands of massive oaks and pines, while the back nine offers superb views of the marshlands and waterway. www.StonoFerryGolf.com.
You can access the courses at Kiawah through the Kiawah Island Golf Resort (www.KiawahResort.com), which offers a number of packages. While The Ocean Course is famous, the other tracts at Kiawah--Turtle Point, Osprey Point, Oak Point and Cougar Point--are all treats in their own rights. Some claim Turtle Point and Osprey Point are as good as The Ocean Course, save for the latter’s final stretch of holes.
For further information about Charleston, visit www.CharlestonCVB.com or call 843/958-3629.