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Degree of Difficulty: Test Your Skills on SC’s Challenging Golf Courses

Perry Baker Perry Baker
Perry is a former photojournalist who now serves as the Interactive Manager for DiscoverSouthCarolina.com.
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Experienced golfers love a course that will rough them up—at least occasionally. And with 350-plus golf courses in South Carolina, there’s no shortage of courses that will challenge and exceed your expectations. Put your swing and your skills to the test at these four spots.

 

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
The Ocean Course is legendary. Site of the famous “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup in 1991, as well as the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championships, this course is a true test of golf, offering the most seaside holes (10) of any course in the Northern Hemisphere. When the wind blows—and at Kiawah, it always does—golfers will have all they can handle. Pete Dye designed this course with an assist from his wife Alice (who suggested raised fairways for coastline views from every hole).

Prestwick Country Club
Prestwick in Myrtle Beach is a Pete and P.B. Dye collaboration that is designed in the classic Scottish tradition. More than 1.3 million yards of earth were moved to create the course’s deep bunkers, steep berms and large sandy areas. Over 7,000 yards in length from the tips, this course will challenge you from tee to green.

Harbour Town Golf Links – The Sea Pines Resort
A classic Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus design, Harbour Town serves as the only annual South Carolina stop for the PGA TOUR, with the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. This picturesque waterfront course, which also happens to be a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, calls for precise shot-making, with narrow, tree-lined fairways and the smallest greens on the tour. 

Mount Vintage Golf Club
Offering 27 holes (Vintage Nine, Chester Nine and Independent Nine), the Tom Jackson-designed Mount Vintage in North Augusta has been deemed a “magnificent layout” by golf icon Byron Nelson. With rolling hills and treacherous greens, golfers will be challenged to make a score close to par for their round. The demanding 5th, 6th and 7th holes around Pavilion Lake have been called the “Amen Corner” of Mount Vintage.

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island will win over your heart with a challenging design that requires straight drives and a deft touch around the greens.

More Courses Worth Noting

Caledonia
Mike Strantz's Caledonia course at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island will win over your heart with a challenging design that requires straight drives and a deft touch around the greens.

Wild Dunes Links Course
Architect Tom Fazio claims this design is one of his favorites. Just outside of Charleston, half of the holes on the course run along the Intracoastal Waterway, so you might just need to bring along a few extra balls.

Dunes Club
Robert Trent Jones designed this oceanside layout in Myrtle Beach decades ago, and it still stands as a top course. The signature Par 5 13th hole, known as Waterloo, is legendary for tempting players into attempting a (sometimes disastrous) shot over water. 

May River
Weaving its way through majestic live oaks of the Lowcountry, Jack Nicklaus’ May River in Bluffton will penalize any wayward shot off the tee, with greens that are slick and punishing. Still, you would be hard-pressed to find a prettier spot for a golf course. 

Perry Baker
Perry is a former photojournalist who now serves as the Interactive Manager for DiscoverSouthCarolina.com.