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Golf for a Weekend at the “Inland Myrtle Beach”

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 360-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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With 14 golf courses situated almost a stone’s throw from each other, Santee Cooper has become an economical alternative to Myrtle Beach for golfers who are looking to enjoy great weather, Southern hospitality and a range of playing choices – and don't care about sand and surf.

For buddy trips, the prices, proximity and quality of golf are hard to beat. Here’s a guide to the perfect three-day Santee Cooper golf excursion.

Arrival
Hotel Options for Your Stay

Clark’s Inn & Restaurant
Address: 114 Bradford Blvd., Santee
Phone: (803) 531-9658

Fairfield Inn & Suites Santee
Address: 9074 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-7070

Hampton Inn Santee/I-95
Address: 9060 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-2444

Dinner: Thai House II
Address: 9086 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-9060

Other: Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile
Address: 2212 State Park Road, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-2000
If Asian cuisine doesn't seem fit for a golf getaway in South Carolina, try this quaint and inexpensive spot. For more traditional Southern tastes, it’s hard to beat mustard-based barbecue.

Day One
Breakfast: Cracker Barrel
Address: 250 Britain St., Santee
Phone: (803) 854-3020
Cracker Barrel has a national reputation for solid American food. Biscuits, eggs, grits and the rest will get your first day off to a good start.

Golf: Wyboo Golf Club
Address: 2565 Players Course Drive, Manning
Phone: (803) 478-7899
The town of Manning is about 25 minutes down Interstate 95 (Exit 119) from Santee, but Wyboo Golf Club, a signature design by Greenville native Tom Jackson, is worth the trip. Ranked as one of South Carolina’s “hidden gems” since opening in 1999, the wooded course is not overly long at 6,908 yards and features generous fairways leading to well-guarded greens Probably the most demanding hole is the par-3 13th, playing 141-216 yards and sited alongside a pond on the left with a large oak guarding the right.

Lunch: Santee Seafood Bistro & Fresh Market
Address: 648 Bass Drive, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-4840
Enjoy plenty of seafood choices in a small, relaxed space with patio seating. The fish tacos are a favorite.

Dinner: Wilbur’s Cocktails and Supper Club
Address: 9150 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-5150
This spacious lounge and restaurant offers cocktails, traditional American dinner fare, live music or DJ’s to unwind after your first round.

Day Two
Breakfast: Waffle House
Address: 8915 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-3311
Yes, it’s a Southern cliché, but so what? Covered, smothered and fried works for golf-driven appetites—and you’re in the South, so …

Lake Marion Golf Club
Address: 9069 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-2554
Built by area architect Eddie Riccobini and opened in 1978, Lake Marion is a fitting complement to its sister course, Santee Cooper. The 6,770-yard design features mini-verde hybrid greens, pine-lined fairways, plenty of lakes and a whopping 47 bunkers. Its toughest hole is the 561-yard, par-5 fourth. Two added attractions at Lake Marion are the new (opened in 2019) Palmetto Traverse, a lighted putting course that challenges the best players, and one of South Carolina’s largest and most well-stocked pro shops, specializing in shoes of all varieties.

Lunch: Craig’s Place & Deli
Address: 9083-C Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-4601
Conveniently located for a quick bite before afternoon golf, this restaurant features small and relaxed counter service with a nice selection of sandwiches, including Reubens and wraps.

Santee Cooper Country Club
Address: 630 Santee Drive, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-2467
Opened in 1967, Santee Cooper is the oldest of the courses located in the town of Santee, and arguably the most scenic with pine forests, elevation changes and a panoramic view of Lake Marion at the 18th hole. Designed by legendary architect George Cobb (who also designed Augusta National’s famed par-3 course), the 6,589-yard course employs doglegs, strategic bunkering and a mix of tough par-3's and risk-reward par-5 holes. The par-4 18th hole is not overly long (386 yards from the tips), but the proximity of Lake Marion and the view of the Interstate 95 bridge make it memorable.

Dinner: Captain’s Quarters Seafood and Steak
Address: 9053 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-4695
Sit back after a long day on the links and enjoy seafood, steaks and cocktails in a nautical setting; outdoor seating on nice nights.

Day Three
Breakfast: Clark’s Inn & Restaurant
Address: 114 Bradford Blvd., Santee
Phone: (803) 531-9658
For the final day of your golf trip, splurge a bit. Clark’s is a Santee tradition, with a big breakfast buffet on weekends.

Santee National Golf Club
Address: 8636 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-3531
Santee National, located on the north side of Interstate 95, is the newest of the town’s three courses, built in 1989 by Porter Gibson. Devastated by Hurricane Hugo soon after its opening, the course was restored with Champion Bermuda greens guarded by 40 bunkers and five water hazards. Santee National’s front nine is more open, while the back nine is tight and tree-lined. The par-3 17th hole is framed by a church and is known as “Santee’s own Amen Corner,” while the 18th starts on a lake and ends at the Lowcountry-style clubhouse.

Alternate: Orangeburg Country Club
Address: 2745 Griffith Drive NW, Orangeburg
Phone: (803) 534-5988
Though private, Orangeburg Country Club—ranked among South Carolina’s top 50 courses—is accessible to outside play via Golf Santee. Originally built by 1960s architect Ellis Maples, the 7,032-yard design was restored in 2009 by Pinehurst’s Richard Mandell with deepened bunkers and slick Champion Bermuda greens. Its best holes are the par-4 seventh (over water to a back-to-front-sloped green) and par-4 13th (bordered by a lake on the left and finishing at an elevated, bunker-guarded green).

Lunch: Armando’s Mexican Restaurant
Address: 9134 Old Number Six Highway, Santee
Phone: (803) 854-9126
Load up on all your Tex-Mex and traditional favorites before hitting the road for home.

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 360-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.