If you're searching for history and scenic views, take a drive on S.C. 61, also known as "plantation row," and admire such gems as Middleton Place and Drayton Hall along the oak-lined, two-lane road. Continue driving seven miles northwest of Middleton Place's charms, and you'll find Shadowmoss Plantation - not a "plantation," but a hidden gem of a golf course in South Carolina.
J.P. Ringer, general manager and head professional since 2005, says it's not unusual for families to drop off their golfer(s) and then go visit nearby antebellum sites. And everyone has a great day.
Located close to Charleston and Kiawah, golfers love this course for its convenience, reasonable price, stunning views and so much more.
The rewards of finding Shadowmoss start with its Champions greens. Installed in 2003, the hybrid Bermuda putting surfaces rival the area's resort and private courses for smoothness and consistency. Indeed, tee-to-green conditioning is also excellent, for which Ringer credits superintendent Wayne Stonaker, a 30-year veteran.
"The strength of the course is definitely the greens," Ringer said. "There's maybe three weeks a year when they have any bumpiness, even in transition. Second is the playability for all golfers. We have few forced carries, so almost every green you can run the ball up."
Ringer's favorite holes are the par-4 13th - "it's reachable for most players with a good tee shot, but that's a demanding shot" - and the par-3 16th, which is guarded by water on the right and right-front approach. "The green at 16 looks large, but the water and bunkers front left and right make people keep the ball left. If you miss, you're down by the cart path, which is a difficult chip," Ringer said.
Shadowmoss Plantation was built by architect Russell Breeden in 1969-70, but a 2002 irrigation update and the Champions greens have kept it current. Not long at 6,701 yards from the tips, dense tree growth along the perimeters force players to be accurate.
"Depending on what length you play it, we have nice landing areas," Ringer said. "It's short enough that even from the back tees, the difficulty is the par-3s; the par-4s are playable for most, if they play the right distance."
Shadowmoss is especially popular with locals, and it gets enough tourist play to rack up 48,500 rounds a year on average. Upcoming plans are for renovations to the 1970s clubhouse and conditioning work on the tees, which "are kind of small for the traffic we get," Ringer said.
The course has changed little in its 45 years, mostly in wetlands that became lakes as the surrounding neighborhoods grew. "Nos. 2 and 13-16 look a lot different now," Ringer said. One thing hasn't changed: Shadowmoss Plantation remains a fun, reasonably priced alternative to resort golf - and worth the trip up S.C. 61 to play.
For information, visitwww.shadowmossgolf.com, or call 800.338.4971.
For more information on golf courses in South Carolina, visit DiscoverSouthCarolina.com/golf