South Carolina combines miles and miles of coastline with more than 360 golf courses. So it should come as no surprise that, according to Links magazine, the state is home to three of the top 10 "golf islands" in the world.
Hilton Head Island, with some 30 top golf courses on and around the resort destination, is ranked seventh by Links. The island's lineup is headed by Sea Pines Plantation, with PGA Tour stop Harbour Town Golf Links and sister courses Heron Point by Pete Dye and the Ocean Course. Also ranked high are Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - home to the George Fazio course, 2014 SC Golf Course of the Year, as well as courses by Robert Trent Jones and Arthur Hills - and multiple layouts at Palmetto Hall Plantation, Port Royal Golf Club and the Rees Jones-designed Oyster Reef Golf Club.
"Links magazine is a golf aficionado's resource, and we have a great deal of respect for its editorial content," says Cary Corbitt, president of the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association and vice president of Sports and Operations at Sea Pines Resort. "Our island attracts the world's best golfers via the RBC Heritage - one of players' favorite events on (the PGA) Tour - as well as the millions of amateur and recreational golfers who stay and play on the island."
At No. 8 on the Links list of top golf islands is Kiawah Island, home to The Ocean Course, site of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship and ranked as the world's most difficult course. Four other courses, by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Gary Player and Clyde Johnston, are also part of the Kiawah Island Resort, and the island also is home to two acclaimed private Kiawah Island Club layouts, Cassique and the River Club.
Finally, perhaps the smallest island in the top 10 - Pawleys Island, located on the south end of Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand - is ranked 10th by Links. What the island lacks in number of courses it makes up for in quality, with Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue, both designed by the late Mike Strantz, heading up the list.
How impressive is the inclusion of SC's three islands on the list? Consider that the top three "islands" are nations: Great Britain, Ireland and Australia. Rounding out the top six are Long Island, Hawaii and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti). Georgia's Saint Simons Island comes in at No. 9.
Click here for more information about the rankings and the rest of Links' Top 25 golf islands.