Golf at the Historic Links at Stono Ferry

By:Bob Gillespie

Date:2/2/2014

If Char​leston is known for two things above all else (besides world-famous hospitality and food, that is), those are history … and golf. A treasure trove of antebellum homes and plantations dating to the 17th century abound in the area, while surrounding the city in every direction but east (the Atlantic Ocean) is a wealth of golf courses in all price ranges, including nearly two dozen accessible to the public.

Except in a few instances, though, the two – history and golf – don’t overlap so much. A notable exception is the Li​nks at Stono Ferry, voted South Carolina Golf Course of the Year in 2011 and located in the community of Hollywood, on the site of a Revolutionary War clash that took place two centuries before Florida architect Ron Garl created his layout in 1989.

The Battle of Stono Ferry took place on June 20, 1779, when a detachment of British soldiers, including Hessian mercenaries, defeated the defending Americans. A replica cannon stationed at the par-4 12th hole, named Redoubt, reminds players that before golf, the “shots” at Stono Ferry didn’t involve birdies and bogeys.

“It works with Charleston,” general manager Greg Wood says. “Seven out of 10 (visitors) come to the city for the history, and we felt we had significant history on the property, which we share with golfers.”

In fact, a golf course almost didn’t happen here. “From what I understand, it was going to be an equestrian site only, with polo fields and a horse race, the Charleston Cup,” Wood says. “Then (the original owners) said, ‘Let’s add golf.’” A planned fall grand opening fell victim to a more recent piece of local history – Hurricane Hugo – but only delayed the course’s debut a few weeks.

One of the first owners was former PGA Tour and Champions Tour player Jim Colbert. The course changed hands twice before 2002, when Charleston businessman Pat Barber bought Stono Ferry, built a home on the course and has run things since.

For visitors who fear that Hollywood (southwest of Charleston off U.S. 17) is a distant outpost, the biggest surprise might be how accessible the course is. “We point out that other than Patriots Point (in Mount Ple​asant), we’re as close in as any course in the area,” Wood says. “We’re only 16 miles from downtown and 30 minutes from Kiaw​ah and Se​abrook (islands). It’s not as far out here as they think.”

Indeed, tourists in town for the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah’s Ocean Course discovered Stono Ferry was close enough to watch PGA Tour players in the morning and still get in 18 holes the same day.

The course, employing a mix of pine forests, marshes and views of the Intracoastal Waterway, is worth the effort to find. Pre-PGA upgrades included converting greens to smooth but hardy Champions hybrid Bermuda grass and redoing bunkers. Winding through Lowcountry woods and skirting abundant water, Stono Ferry is an enjoyable challenge to all levels of player.

Particularly intriguing is the closing stretch, with the par-4 13th (“Battery Wilkes”) and the par-3 14th (The Crossing) bordering the waterway and featuring tee shots over marsh. Wood’s personal favorite is the par-4 16th (Retreat) with its severe dogleg-right fairway pinched by water left. “You’ve got to place your tee shot, but then can gamble to cut the corner,” he says. “You can play it safe left, but you have a longer shot in.”

Another change came at the 18th (Independence), a short par-4, when Barber had a horseshoe water hazard dug around the now-island green.

Stono Ferry, home to the College of C​h​arleston men’s and women’s golf teams, also features a state-of-the-art practice facility and learning center with indoor hitting bays and club-repair area, which is available to club members. Director of instruction is David Kite, son of PGA/Champions Tour star Tom Kite. An extra bonus for players living in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties is the Brigade Club, which offers discounts of $20 or more per round over walk-in rates, depending on time of year.

History and golf is an inviting combination, but truthfully, it’s mostly about the golf. That cannon positioned to the right of the 12th fairway? “We bought it on eBay,” Wood says, laughing.

For tee times or more information, visit www.stonoferrygolf.c​om or call (843) 763-1817.

Related Content

Golf Club at Wescott Plantation
Built by architect Dr. Michael Hurzdand and opened in 2000, the Golf Club at Wescott Plantation is a 27-hole beauty and real asset for the City of North Charleston. It is an upscale, daily-fee, resort-style course good for players of any caliber.
South Carolina Scores Well in Golfweek's "Best of" Rankings
Golfweek magazine’s annual ranking of “America’s 100 Best Resort Golf Courses” has been announced for 2014, and as usual, South Carolina has provided a handful of courses named to the best-of list.
Golf Vacation in South Carolina
Anyone who has golf-vacationed in South Carolina knows the possibilities range from all-you-can-play smorgasbords to high-end coastal resorts. And that’s the beauty of it, there’s a deal perfect for anyone, in any price range.
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club: Myrtle Beach’s Augusta National
The attention to the details of the course’s periphery is the main reason that Caledonia has earned a reputation as “South Carolina’s Augusta National.” It’s a shot makers course boasting astounding beauty.

Featured Products

The Links At Stono Ferry
Coast

Hollywood

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
Ron Garl designed this link-style championship golf course along the Intracoastal Waterway in the Lowcountry. Located on the site of the Battle at Stono Ferry, fought her ...

Featured products and attractions in "Golf at the Historic Links at Stono Ferry"

Nearby Attractions

  • {{item.name}}

You might also like:

Wild Water & Wheels
Coast

Surfside Beach

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
This 16-acre state-of-the-art amusement park is filled with over 33 exciting rides, including high speed flumes, a wipeout wave pool, waterfalls, a complete kids water pl ...
Golf Club Of South Carolina At Crickentree
Midlands

Blythewood

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
The Golf Club of South Carolina designed by Ken Killian is known for its stunning topography, meandering streams, soaring hardwoods, scenic 17-acre lake, and manicured ti ...
Indian Trail Golf Course
Midlands

Batesburg

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
This course has several sand bunkers incorporated throughout its design, and water hazards come into play on nine holes. The signature hole is #14, a scenic, 336-yard, pa ...
Mid Carolina Club
Midlands

Prosperity

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
The fairways are relatively tight, and ponds and lakes come into play on seven holes. This course's most difficult hole is #10, a 430-yard, par 4, requiring a tee shot up ...
Cheraw State Park Golf Course
Midlands

Cheraw

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Cheraw State Park Golf Course has been called "the best kept secret in South Carolina." The course is one of just 40 in the country to earn Golf Digest's highest honor as ...
Cokesbury Hills Golf Course
Midlands

Hodges

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
This relatively flat and short nine-hole course is an easy and enjoyable walk. With generous fairways and small fast greens, this course will provide a challenge for golf ...