Nearly every national golf publication, it seems, kicks off each spring golf season by releasing annual or biennial rankings of the best courses in the nation, the world and – in some cases – by state. But only Golfweek magazine, a weekly publication, also breaks its rankings down by date of birth … a course’s, that is.
“Golfweek’s Best,” online (view complete rankings at www.golfweek.com), offers a comprehensive look at America’s finest course – a more complete listing, in fact, than most of its competitors. The magazine, utilizing a small army of raters who compile data each year, offers listings of both Classic (built before 1960) and Modern courses. And not just a Top 100 in each, but also a “Second 100” ranking – 400 courses in all.
Golfweek also ranks each state’s best courses, in the case of South Carolina a listing of the top 15 public-access courses. Topping both that state list and ranking among the Greatest 100 Modern Courses are two perennial favorites: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, site of the 2012 PGA Championship, and Hilton Head’s Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the RBC Heritage, which celebrates its 45th year in 2013.
In all, South Carolina placed six courses in the Top 100 Modern listing and two in the Classic rankings, plus six more in the Modern “Second 100” and two in the Classic “Second 100.” That’s a total of 16 courses – and that doesn’t include a number of public-access layouts that made the “Best Instate” list.
Talk about a sweet “bucket list” for players. Below are the top S.C. courses you can play, and the top state courses in Modern and Classic categories. Enjoy.
Best You Can Play in South Carolina
1) Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Kiawah Island (No. 17 modern)
2) Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island (No. 46 modern)
3) Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Pawleys Island (modern)
4) May River GC at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton (modern)
5) Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach (classic)
6) True Blue, Pawleys Island (modern)
7) Tidewater GC, North Myrtle Beach (modern)
8) CC of South Carolina, Florence (modern)
9) TPC Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet (modern)
10) Heron Point by Pete Dye, Hilton Head Island (modern)
11) Aiken GC, Aiken (classic)
12) Barefoot Resort (Love), North Myrtle Beach (modern)
13) Wild Dunes Resort (Links), Isle of Palms (modern)
14) Barefoot Resort (Fazio), North Myrtle Beach (modern)
15) Grande Dunes (Resort), Myrtle Beach (modern)
Best Modern Courses in South Carolina
Note: Points are based on a 10-point maximum in multiple categories.
(Ranking in 2012; r – resort; p – private)
Year opened, architect
17. Ocean Course at Kiawah Island - 7.86
(19, r) Kiawah Island
1991, Pete Dye
46. Harbour Town Golf Links - 7.35
(41, r) Hilton Head Island
1970, Pete Dye
59. Long Cove Club - 7.15
1982, Pete Dye
85. Secession Golf Club - 6.97
1992, Bruce Devlin
86. Kiawah Island Club (Cassique) - 6.97
2000, Tom Watson
87. Sage Valley Golf Club - 6.97
2001, Tom Fazio
126. Chechessee Creek - 6.79
2000, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
128. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club - 6.77
(114, r) Pawleys Island
1994, Michael Strantz
146. Greenville Country Club (Chanticleer) - 6.67
1970, Robert Trent Jones Sr.
155. May River Course at Palmetto Bluff 6.64
(133, r) Bluffton
2004, Jack Nicklaus
157. Spring Island/Old Tabby Links 6.62
1994, Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay
180. Musgrove Mill Golf Club 6.53
1992, Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay
Best Classic Courses in South Carolina
38. Yeamans Hall Club 7.50
1925, Seth Raynor
83. Palmetto Club 6.97
1931, Alister MacKenzie; Herbert Leeds (1892)
127. Dunes Golf & Beach Club, 6.54
(112, r) Myrtle Beach
1949, Robert Trent Jones Sr.
199. Country Club of Charleston, 6.02
1921, Seth Raynor