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Promoting excellence in South Carolina golf course design and operations
through competitive rankings, education and public advocacy.
One Pete Dye gem has replaced another of the master architect's work as the best golf course in South Carolina in balloting by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Golf Resort, which will play host to the PGA Championship this summer, moved to No. 1 in the state rankings by the thinnest of margins, edging The Sea Pine Resort's Harbour Town Golf Links for the top spot.
"As always, there are so many outstanding golf courses that you're really splitting hairs," Michael Whitaker, the organization's executive director, said in releasing the rankings at the panel's annual spring awards ceremony Sunday, March 25 at the Daniel Island Club.
Designed by Dye and opened for the 1991 Ryder Cup matches, the Ocean Course has been named the nation's toughest course by two national publications. The crown jewel of Kiawah Island Golf Resort adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean will be tested by the game's best player in the PGA... the first men's major championship in the state. Dye, in association with Jack Nicklaus, also designed Harbour Town, which opened for the 1969 Heritage tournament and had been the panel's top choice since the rankings began in 2005. Since its debut, Harbour Town has been the focal point of Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island and home of the RBC Heritage, PGA Tour's annual tournament in South Carolina. A third Dye course, Long Cove on Hilton Head Island, is also in the top 10.
Although the order varies slightly, the panel's top 10 had only one change. Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken moved up one place to No. 10, replacing Kiawah Island's Cassique, which dropped from ninth to 12th. Sage Valley Golf Club (Graniteville) ranks third, followed by May River Golf Club (Palmetto Bluff) fourth, Greenville Country Club's Chanticleer Course fifth, the Dunes Golf & Beach Club (Myrtle Beach) sixth, Yeamans Hall Club (Hanahan) seventh, Long Cove Club (Hilton Head Island) eighth, Secession Golf Club (Beaufort) ninth and Palmetto Golf Club 10th.
Courses that made the largest advances since the 2010 ratings include the Reserve Club at Pawleys Island, 46 to 35; the TPC of Myrtle Beach, 66 to 38; and Barefoot Resort's Love Course in North Myrtle Beach, 52 to 44. The renovated Surf Golf & Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach, the third oldest layout on the Grand Strand, climbed into the rankings at 46.
Carolina's Top 50 Golf Courses for 2012
Top Golf Courses By Region
Background On SC Golf Course Ratings Panel
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 outstanding golf courses, resorts, and real estate developments.
1) South Carolinas 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:
The Panel consists of 125 members, twenty-five percent of which represent 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
For more information on the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel contact its Executive Director, Michael Whitaker, via email at email@example.com.
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