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Golf at Hidden Valley Country Club

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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Brad Frick has played and worked at Gaston's Hidden Valley Country Club - about 15 miles from downtown Columbia - since high school. He even broke his leg there in 1996; riding downhill at the par-4 18th hole, "the cart went one way and I went another," he said.

Today, he is the head professional and partner in Enhanced Golf Management, Inc., which manages the 1963 Russell Breeden-designed course - the first in our "bargain golf" series.

For years, the book on Hidden Valley was "good layout, poor conditioning." With new superintendent Jason Bedenbaugh, whose background includes an internship at Pinehurst No. 2, the latter is changing. Work remains to be done, particularly the green at the par-5 second hole, but the 6,800-yard course now features good fairway turf, reworked bunkers and more space after removal of 500-600 trees.

Built on rolling terrain, Hidden Valley has a tight, shot-maker's front nine and a more open, "big-hitter" back nine, plus one of the area's best three-hole finishes: the risk-reward par-5 16th, the downhill par-3 17th with its nearly 200-yard carry and the rolling, pond-guarded par-4 18th. One of the Midlands' best views is from the green of the 116-yard, uphill par-3 14th hole, offering a vista not unlike those in the Appalachian Mountains.

Price is also a strong point. Walk-ins pay greens fees (with cart) of $30 weekends, but Frick offers a one-year, $60 "players pass" that guarantees $20 fees weekdays, $25 weekends. Sign up here and receive e-mail "specials," offering weekday tee times for foursomes as low as $17-$18 per player.

Hidden Valley has golf instruction, a stocked pro shop and food-and-beverage options. But cost has always been the prime selling point. Now, it's cost - and value.

"Growing up, you always heard, ‘Hidden Valley is a nice layout, but ...'" Frick says. "We're trying to get rid of the ‘but.' We want it to be, ‘nice layout and nice course.'" Nice prices, too.

Hidden Valley Country Club is at 147 Excaliber Road, Gaston. Call (803) 794-8087.

Bob Gillespie
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.