Promoting excellence in South Carolina golf course design and operations
through competitive rankings, education and public advocacy.
"Best You Can Play In South Carolina" Public Access Courses Announced for 2011

North Myrtle Beach, SC – March 29, 2011 – The South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel announced its latest "Best You Can Play" listing of the state's top public courses at a ceremony held at The Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach, SC on Sunday, March 28.

"Go East" for the Palmetto State's finest public-access golf, seems to be the advice from South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel. Of the 31 courses selected in the panel's biennial voting on the Best You Can Play in South Carolina, 27 are located in the tourist meccas along the Atlantic seaboard.

"Given how golf has become such an important part of the tourist industry, it's no surprise that the coastal areas have developed numerous high quality golf courses for public play," Michael Whitaker, executive director of the panel, said in discussing the ranking released at the group's annual spring meeting.

Although the list is alphabetical without numerical ranking, Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island and the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island (the top two courses in the organization's 2010 overall rankings) were recognized jointly as "Best In State" after panel balloting resulted in the two courses receiving an identical number of votes.

"There are so many outstanding golf courses that you're really splitting hairs in the voting," Whitaker said. "Some of the older courses have stood the test of time, and others that have undergone renovation have increased in quality."

Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour's Heritage Classic, and The Ocean Course, which staged the 1991 Ryder Cup and will the play host to 2012 PGA Championship, tied for the best public courses in the state.

Regional honors went to:  Caledonia Golf & Fish Club at Pawleys Island for the Grand Stand area; The Walker Course at Clemson University for best in the Upstate; The Country Club of South Carolina in Florence and Mount Vintage Plantation & Golf Club in North Augusta tied for best in the Midlands.

Pine Lakes Country Club, the so-called "Granddaddy" of Myrtle Beach courses that dates to 1927, increased its presence in the balloting after undergoing a $15 million renovation. The Wild Dunes Resort "Links Course" on the Isle of Palms, built in 1979 and one of the first courses in the state with ocean-front holes, received a boost from its restored 18th hole. Erosion had victimized the classic finishing par-5.

The coastal courses honored stretch from Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links in Little River near the North Carolina state line to the Harbour Town Golf Links on the south. Sixteen are on the Grand Strand between the North Carolina line and Pawleys Island.

Kiawah Island Resort, represented by the Ocean Course, Osprey Point and Turtle Point, and Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, with its Dye, Fazio and Love courses, both placed three layouts on the list.

The South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is composed of 125 golf enthusiasts representing a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds. The panel's objective is to promote excellence in the state's golf course design and operations through competitive ranking, education and public advocacy. The "50 Best" courses (public or private) are selected in even-number years and the "Best Courses You Can Play" are announced in odd-numbered years. Criteria used in the judging include routing, variety, strategy, equity, memorability, aesthetics and experience. A panelist must have played a course to vote for it.

Information on previous rankings can be found on the organization's website www.scgolfpanel.org.

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The "Best You Can Play" Public Access Courses in South Carolina for 2011

+ = Best In State     # = Best In Region     * = New to the list of Best You Can Play

Listed alphabetically within region

MIDLANDS

# Country Club of South Carolina
Florence
(843) 669-0920
www.countryclubsc.com

# Mount Vintage Plantation & Golf Club
North Augusta
(803) 278-5000
www.mountvintage.com


UPSTATE

The Furman Golf Club
Greenville
(864) 294-2000
www.furman.edu/golf

# The Walker Course at Clemson University
Clemson
(864) 656-0236
www.clemson.edu/madren/toc/walker


LOW COUNTRY (CHARLESTON
)

+ Kiawah Island Resort - The Ocean Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570
www.kiawahresort.com

Kiawah Island Resort - Osprey Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570
www.kiawahresort.com

Kiawah Island Resort - Turtle Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570
www.kiawahresort.com

RiverTowne Country Club
Mt Pleasant
(843) 849-2400
www.rivertownecountryclub.com

* Seabrook Island Club - Crooked Oaks Course
Seabrook Island
(866) 586-6380
www.discoverseabrook.com

* Seabrook Island Club - Ocean Winds Course
Seabrook Island
(866) 586-6380
www.discoverseabrook.com

Wild Dunes Resort - Links Course
Isle of Palms
(888) 778-1876
www.wilddunes.com


LOW COUNTRY (HILTON HEAD)

May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff
Bluffton
(843) 706-6500
www.palmettobluffresort.com

Palmetto Dunes Resort - Arthur Hills Course
Hilton Head Island
(800) 827-3006
www.palmettodunes.com

+ The Sea Pines Resort - Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head Island
(866) 561-8802
www.seapines.com

The Sea Pines Resort - Heron Point by Pete Dye
Hilton Head Island
(866) 561-8802
www.seapines.com


GRAND STRAND

Barefoot Resort - Love Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536
www.barefootgolf.com

Barefoot Resort - Dye Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536
www.barefootgolf.com

Barefoot Resort - Fazio Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536
www.barefootgolf.com

# Caledonia Golf and Fish Club
Pawleys Island
(800) 483-6800
www.fishclub.com

Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links
Little River
(800) 717-8784
www.glensgolfgroup.com

Grande Dunes - Resort Course
Myrtle Beach
(843) 315-0333
www.grandedunes.com

Heathland at Legends Resort
Myrtle Beach
(800) 299-6187
www.legendsgolf.com

Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club
Pawleys Island
(800) 367-9959
www.pawleysplantation.com

* Pine Lakes Country Club
Myrtle Beach
(843) 315-7700
www.pinelakes.com

Prestwick Golf & Country Club
Myrtle Beach
(843) 293-4100
www.prestwickcountryclub.com

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club
Myrtle Beach
(843) 449-5236
www.thedunesclub.net

The Founders Club of Pawleys Island
Pawleys Island
(843) 237-2299
www.classicgolfgroup.com

The Heritage Club
Pawleys Island
(843) 237-3424
www.legendsgolf.com

Tidewater Golf Club and Plantation
Little River
(843) 913-2424
www.tidewatergolf.com

TPC of Myrtle Beach Myrtle Beach
(843) 357-3399
www.tpcmyrtlebeach.com

True Blue Plantation
Pawleys Island
(800) 483-6800
www.truebluegolf.com


Background On SC Golf Course Ratings Panel

Overview

The South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is composed of golf enthusiasts representing a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds. These individuals have been charged with the task of identifying the best that South Carolina golf has to offer.

Objective and Purpose

The objective of the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is to promote excellence in SC golf course design and operations through competitive rankings, education and public advocacy. The Panel serves as an ambassador for golf in South Carolina by striving to stimulate and facilitate the promotion and marketing of the outstanding golf courses, resorts, and real estate developments.

1)      South Carolina’s 50 Best Courses – Bi-annually (in even-numbered years) members of the Panel identify their choices for the “50 Best Courses” in the state, public or private.

2)      The Best Courses You Can Play – Bi-annually (in odd-numbered years) the Panel releases a listing of the best non-private courses in the state. Every resort, public access, and daily-fee course is eligible for this elite listing.

How We Rate Them

In determining their ratings panelists consider the following criteria:

  • Routing – How the course flows from hole to hole in harmony with existing topography.
  • Variety – Degree to which the course demands a full range of shot requirements.
  • Strategy – How design features test course management.
  • Equity – The course’s capacity to reward good shots and penalize poor ones.
  • Memorability – The distinctiveness of the golf course and its individual holes.
  • Aesthetics – The degree to which scenery and surrounds lend to the enjoyment.
  • Experience – Incorporates all elements of the course: practice areas, clubhouse and more.

Structure

The Panel consists of a maximum of 125 members, 8 of which serve as Regional Directors. Twenty-five percent of the panel represents each of the following geographical regions:  The Upstate, The Midlands, The Lowcountry, and The Grand Strand. Twenty percent of the panel are women.

Categories of Membership

·         Golf Industry – individuals who have a direct connection to the golf industry

·         Players & Coaches – individuals who excel at playing or coaching the game

·         Media – individuals who report on golf for one or more media outlets

·         Business & Industry – individuals who utilize golf within the business community

For more information on the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel contact its Executive Director, Michael Whitaker, via email at mikew@scgolfpanel.org.

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