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Let's Play Golf: SC's Top Public Courses

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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A course as beautiful as it is challenging, The Ocean Course has been named the Best in Region by the SC Golf Course Ratings Panel.

The SC Golf Course Ratings Panel— Made up of more than 100 golf enthusiasts who represent a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds,—has once again named The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort the Best in Region among Greater Charleston golf courses in the 2021 “Top Courses You Can Play” list. A course as beautiful as it is challenging, The Ocean Course has also been named South Carolina’s top layout for more than a decade in the Golf Course Ratings Panel’s every-other-year “Top 50 Courses in South Carolina,” which includes public-access and private courses. 

“Word-of-mouth” of another type has boosted both The Ocean Course and Harbour Town, with the Ocean Course earning praise from PGA TOUR players during the 2012 PGA, while Harbour Town was rated the second-favorite annual stop by the TOUR players, behind only Augusta National. Such endorsements usually lure tourists and weekend players.

South Carolina’s coast dominates the “Top Courses You Can Play,” with eight Charleston courses, four from Hilton Head Island-Bluffton and 13 from the Grand Strand—or 25 of the 29 named—making the rankings, not counting honorable mentions.

The Ocean Course was a top vote-getter in the Charleston area, along with the Links Course at Wild Dunes Resort (Isle of Palms), and all of Kiawah's courses, including Turtle Point (designed by Jack Nicklaus), Osprey Point (Tom Fazio) and Cougar Point (Gary Player) were also selected among the top courses. Kiawah has hosted such events as the 2007 Senior PGA Championship, and the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championships.

New to the list for the Greater Charleston area was the Harbor Course at Wild Dunes Resort. Bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway, the Harbor Course will test all aspects of your golf game.

The Sea Pines Resort's Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island was named the best among Lowcountry golf. The much-heralded layout is the site of the annual (since 1969) RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, South Carolina's only annual PGA TOUR event. Harbour Town and Bluffton's May River Club at Palmetto Bluff were the most popular courses in the Lowcountry and Resort Islands.

Equally as noteworthy, The Sea Pines Resort's two other championship courses—Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III and Heron Point by Pete Dye—also made the list. 

Best among the Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand's nearly 100 courses are Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, which claimed the title of Best in Region, and True Blue Plantation—both in Pawleys Island—and North Myrtle Beach's Tidewater.

Two Upstate courses—The Walker Course in Clemson and Furman University Golf Course in Greenville—also made the list. In the Midlands and Pee Dee, Orangeburg Country Club claimed the Best in Region. Also listed is The Aiken Golf Club while the Florence Country Club and North Augusta's Mount Vintage Plantation had honorable mentions.

Orangeburg Country Club and one of Myrtle Beach's regular award-winners, The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, are actually private courses. Because both allow outside play (OCC through Santee golf packages Golf Santee and Santee-Cooper Golf; The Dunes Club via partner hotels in Myrtle Beach), the two are included in the "You Can Play" rankings.

 

South Carolina's Top Courses Anyone Can Play

Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the most popular courses in the Lowcountry.

Whether you're a pro, an enthusiast or just occasionally hit the links, an unparalleled golfing experience awaits when you tee up at one of our top public golf courses. The Palmetto State's mountains-to-sea topography means you can choose from a range of impressive aesthetics to set your preferred mood for a round with friends or a solo turn to practice your swing.

 

Upstate

The foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, serene lakes, and lush foliage make stunning backdrops for golfing in this region.

Views of Lake Hartwell define the 18-hole championship John E. Walker Sr. Golf Course.

Midlands

Breathtaking landscapes and premier designs distinguish Midland-area golf courses.

Mist rises over the greens at Orangeburg Country Club's par-4 seventh hole.

Charleston

Drink in ocean breezes and spectacular views when you golf in the Charleston area. 

The Links Course at Wild Dunes Resort was a top vote-getter in the Charleston area.

Kiawah Island Resort - The Ocean Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

Kiawah Island Resort - Cougar Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

Kiawah Island Resort - Osprey Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

Kiawah Island Resort - Turtle Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

Seabrook Island Club - Crooked Oaks Course
Seabrook Island
(866) 586-6380

Seabrook Island Club - Ocean Winds Course
Seabrook Island
(866) 586-6380

Wild Dunes Resort - Links Course
Isle of Palms
(888) 778-1876

Wild Dunes Resort - Harbor Course

Isle of Palms
(888) 778-1876

Hilton Head Area

World-class courses are the calling card of South Carolina's most famous golf mecca.

Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines Resort is one of Hilton Head's most scenic and challenging courses.

Grand Strand

Peaceful views of saltwater marshes and live oaks dripping in Spanish moss add to the beauty of these coastal courses.

Beauty and a beast: Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is Myrtle Beach’s Augusta National.

Barefoot Resort - Dye Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536

Barefoot Resort - Fazio Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536

Barefoot Resort - Love Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536

Caledonia Golf and Fish Club
Pawleys Island
(800) 483-6800

Grande Dunes - Resort Course
Myrtle Beach
(843) 315-0333

Heritage Club
Pawleys Island
(843) 237-3424

Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club
Pawleys Island
(800) 367-9959

Pine Lakes Country Club
Myrtle Beach
(877) 283-2122

Prestwick Country Club
Myrtle Beach
(843) 293-4100

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club
Myrtle Beach
(843) 449-5236

Tidewater Golf Club and Plantation
Little River
(843) 913-2424

TPC of Myrtle Beach 
Myrtle Beach
(843) 357-3399

True Blue Plantation
Pawleys Island
(800) 483-6800

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.