High Level Golf Dominates The Lowcountry
The home of golf in the United States is a hotly debated topic, but Charleston can actually lay claim to the nation’s first golf course and golf club—Harleston Green and the South Carolina Golf Club, both of which were established in 1786. And while Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head may be the main golfing destinations in the Palmetto State, Charleston also possesses its own rich golfing culture.
Golf in Charleston is fathomable and flat-out relaxing. Despite its popularity as a travel destination, the old town plays host to a limited number of golf courses, most of which sport designer names and are not afraid to charge accordingly. Some golfers may view this as a drawback; others may view it as charming and manageable. If you don’t want to deny yourself one of the true golfing pleasures in life, please choose the latter viewpoint.
Charleston area golf is strewn throughout a series of islands and peninsulas that collectively make up one of the most breathtaking golfing venues in the country. The most famed, revered and even feared of these golf facilities makes its home on Kiawah Island, just south of the city.
Kiawah is home to five golf courses, the most famous being the Ocean Course designed by Pete Dye. Many players and writers consider the Ocean Course to be one of the most difficult in the United States, what with its gusty, variable winds and legion of seaside holes.
The course hosted the Ryder Cup in 1991, just a year after it opened, and may be the closest thing on the East Coast to a true links-style course. Nicklaus’ Turtle Point Course opened in 1981. Fazio’s Osprey Course opened in 1988, and legend has it that arguably the greatest course designer of our time had to swallow a little pride when Dye’s Ocean Course burst onto the scene like a scalded 3-wood.
Isle of Palms is the island most conveniently located in relation to downtown Charleston, and it just happens to be home to the area’s second most popular golfing destination—Wild Dunes, where Tom Fazio has constructed the Harbor Course and the Links Course, both to critical acclaim from local and national media.
But not all the great golf in Charleston is out on the barrier islands. In fact, some of it is actually in Charleston and in nearby Mt. Pleasant. Dunes West, Stono Ferry and Coosaw Creek are local favorites. Wherever you decide to play, the courses will not disappoint, and the Carolina charm will certainly bring you back for more.
Best Places To Play
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
With five spectacular golf courses, including the renowned Ocean Course, Kiawah Island oozes classic golf. In fact, the game’s best architects, including Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Clyde Johnson and Gary Player, all have stamped their mark on a variety of golf holes, many of which are banked right on the edge of the majestic Atlantic Ocean. Accommodations include private oceanfront homes and villas, or luxury rooms and suites at the new Sanctuary Resort. Cougar Point is a Gary Player design and is considered a superb layout for players of all levels. Early holes play directly along broad expanses of tidal marsh, offering panoramic views of the Kiawah River and acres of needle rush and spartina grass.