South Carolina is home to golf courses renowned throughout the world like Harbour Town Golf Links and the Kiawah’s Ocean Course. Other favorites of regular golfing visitors include: Caledonia and True Blue in Myrtle Beach, and Wild Dunes in Charleston.
But among the state’s 360-plus courses, others are located in smaller communities and known mostly to insiders. Here are 10 – one in each of South Carolina’s geographic areas – worth discovering.
Midlands: Indian River Golf Course, West Columbia
Designed by Lyn Young and near Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Indian River isn’t long (6,507 yards from the back tees) but offers a variety of holes and terrain. A massive tree-cutting project opened up previously unseen vistas, including one on the par-5 16th, long and tight with a downhill approach to a green set against the property’s large lake.
Charleston: Pine Forest Country Club, Summerville
Northwest of Charleston off Interstate 26, Summerville, a.k.a., “Flower Town,” is home to this traditional, challenging Bob Spence design, nicknamed “Little Augusta.” Water is in play on every par-3, and the area’s best players love the slightly uphill, 453-yard par-4 finishing hole, dubbed “A Long Way Home.”
Lowcountry: The Plantation Course at Edisto, Edisto Island
Originally built by Greenville, SC, architect Tom Jackson in 1973, the one-time Oristo was renovated by new ownership in 2005 and offers a test of accuracy over length (6,130 yards maximum), with plenty of water and marshland to avoid. The par-4, dogleg left 14th plays over water both off the tee and on the approach.
Myrtle Beach: Prestwick Country Club, Myrtle Beach
It’s hard to be unknown in Myrtle Beach, but this 1989 Pete Dye design was voted “Top Five Best-Kept Secrets in America” by Golf Digest. With creeks, lakes and typical Dye mounding/bunkering/waste areas, Prestwick retains a classic feel, especially its par-5, 537-yard ninth and par-4, 441-yard 18th holes, which wrap around opposite sides of a lake.
Old 96 District/Greenwood: Persimmon Hill Golf Club, Saluda
Players passing through Saluda en route to Hickory Knob State Park Golf Course or Savannah Lakes Resort’s two courses might miss this classic, 6,925-yard Russell Breeden design. The course boasts the state’s longest hole – the 630-yard, par-5 18th – and a pair of par-3 holes measuring 230 and 240 yards, plus water on five holes.
Olde English District/Rock Hill: Edgewater Golf Course, Lancaster
This Fuzzy Zoeller design is new enough that its website suggests following its directions since GPS won’t get one there. With terrific rolling terrain, amazing vistas and plenty of water in play, Edgewater isn’t easy to find, but it’s worth the effort, notably to play the dazzling and demanding uphill, 444-yard par-5 18th hole.
Pee Dee Country:Fox Creek Golf Course, Lydia
To find Fox Creek, or Lydia for that matter, it helps to know the back way along S.C. 34 going from Columbia to Darlington Speedway. At 6,902 yards, this design by local James Goodson is open, fun and playable, but with quick greens. The par-5, 580-yard 18th curves left around a lake and can make or break a round.
Santee Cooper Country: Wyboo Golf Club, Manning
Greenville-based architect Tom Jackson designated this out-of-the-way course (outside Manning on S.C. 283) one of his “Signature Designs,” and the winding, tree-lined fairways and water make it a blast to play. The par-3 13th hole, 191 yards over water with a huge oak tree guarding the right side, demands precision and length.
Thoroughbred Country/Aiken: Paw Paw Country Club, Bamberg
A Russell Breeden design from 1981, this local favorite is 6,683 yards at its longest and features four sets of tees, thick woodlands, undulating fairways and several lakes in play. The par-5, 517-yard 16th hole requires a tee shot over a lake, and a lone pine tree in the middle of the fairway discourages trying to reach in two.
Upstate: Boscobel Golf & Country Club, Pendleton
Part of the Anderson Area Golf Group (AAG), this 1932 Ed Freeman design abuts U.S. 76 en route to Clemson. Mature oaks and rolling terrain are the obvious features, but Boscobel’s bent grass greens are its true defense, so demanding the Clemson golf team regularly practices on them. The downhill, 204-yard par-3 10th hole is a favorite.
For more information on golf courses in South Carolina, visit DiscoverSouthCarolina.com/golf.