SC Golf Course Ratings Panel: Best 30 You Can Play, Most Improved

By:Bob Gillespie

Date:4/20/2015

Of South Carolina’s approximately 360 total golf courses – as many as Ireland, just to compare – about two-thirds are open for play by the public. Each year, golf magazines offer their opinions on the best, but who knows them better than the state’s own players?

That’s the idea behind this spring’s release of South Carolina’s “Best 30 You Can Play” as selected by the SC Golf Course Ratings Panel – a collection of 100-plus media, recreational players and golf business veterans who annually produce lists of the state’s top 50 courses or, this year, the best public-access layouts.

Also chosen by panel members for 2015 were the state’s “Most Improved” courses, those that have undergone restorations and/or renovations. With the golf course construction industry flat in the US, more existing courses are being upgraded instead.

In its “Best 30” vote, the panel selected the top courses in different geographical regions. “Most Improved” courses were also picked by region. Vote totals were not announced.

Here are the “Best 30 You Can Play” winners:

Grand Strand: Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, designed by the late Mike Strantz, a Mount Pleasant resident who died in 2005, earns rave reviews from Myrtle Beach visitors. Second place goes to The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, a Robert Trent Jones course built in the 1940s and accessible via hotel golf packages.

Lowcountry: Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, designed by Pete Dye and site of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship, continues to be the state’s highest-regarded course by national publications. Hilton Head’s Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, finished a close second.

Upstate: Furman University Golf Club, renovated by another Pinehurst architect, Kris Spence, is home to the Paladins’ men’s and women’s teams. Clemson’s Walker Course finished second.

The rest of the “30 Best” courses:

The Links Course at Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms

Tidewater Golf Club, Cherry Grove

True Blue Golf Plantation, Pawleys Island

May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton

Turtle Point and Osprey Point courses, Kiawah Island

Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club, Pawleys Island

Tournament Players Club of Myrtle Beach

Grande Dunes Resort Club, Myrtle Beach

The Sea Pines Resort’s Heron Point by Pete Dye and Ocean courses, Hilton Head Island

Barefoot Resort’s Dye, Fazio and Love courses, North Myrtle Beach

The Country Club of South Carolina, Florence

Seabrook Island Club’s Ocean Winds and Crooked Oaks courses, Seabrook Island

Heritage Club, Myrtle Beach

Palmetto Dunes Resort’s Robert Trent Jones and Arthur Hills courses, Hilton Head Island

RiverTowne Country Club, Mount Pleasant

The Legends Golf & Resort’s Heathland Course, Myrtle Beach

Orangeburg Country Club, Orangeburg

Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club, North Augusta

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