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Promoting excellence in South Carolina golf course design and operations
through competitive rankings, education and public advocacy.
Top Golf Courses in South Carolina Announced For 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Whitaker, 864-907-1949 or [email protected]
The Ocean Course, which has staged the 1991 Ryder Cup matches and the 2012 PGA Championship, has again been selected the best golf course in South Carolina in balloting by the South Carolina Golf Course Rating Panel.
The crown jewel of Kiawah Island Golf Resort, the Ocean Course earned the honor for the fourth straight time, edging Sea Pines Resort’s Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the top spot.
“As always, there are so many outstanding golf courses in South Carolina that we’re really splitting hairs,” Michael Whitaker, the association’s executive director, said in releasing the Top 50 rankings at the panel’s annual spring meeting Saturday at Orangeburg Country Club.
The panel is composed of 125 golf enthusiasts from throughout the state and represents a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds. The organization’s objective is to promote excellence in the state’s golf course design and operations through the competitive rankings, education and public advocacy.
Judging criteria include routing, variety, strategy, equity, memorability, aesthetics and experience. The best courses, public or private, are selected in even-numbered years, and the best public courses are ranked in odd-numbered years.
Designed by Pete Dye and opened for the 1991 Ryder Cup matches, the Ocean Course always ranked among the nation’s most challenging by national publications, and the layout adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean won rave reviews from the elite of professional golf during the 2012 PGA Championship won by Rory McIlroy. The PGA Championship will return to the Ocean Course in 2021.
Harbour Town, which will play host to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage for the 50th straight year next month, retained second in the 2018 balloting. May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff climbed one spot to third and Sage Valley Golf Club (Graniteville) slipped to fourth. Greenville Country Club’s Chanticleer Course remained fifth.
Rounding out the Top 10 are Yeamans Hall Club in Hanahan (sixth), the Secession Golf Club in Beaufort (seventh), Kiawah Island Club’s Cassique Course (eighth), the Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach (ninth) and Long Cove Club at Hilton Head Island (10th). Cassique, 11th in 2016, is the only newcomer to the top 10.
“With new panel members and renovations or upgrades on a lot of courses, you’re always going to have fluctuations on the list,” Whitaker said. “There are so many good ones in South Carolina that a lot of quality golf courses don’t make the Top 50.”
The Top 10 courses represent the work of some of the game’s greatest architects. Pete Dye fashioned the Ocean Course and Long Cove and, in association with Jack Nicklaus, Harbour Town. Nicklaus designed May River in addition to his Harbour Town credit, and Robert Trent Jones Sr. has Chanticleer and the Dunes Club on the list. Seth Raynor produced Yeamans Hall, Tom Fazio did Sage Valley and Bruce Devlin designed Secession. Tom Watson designed Cassique.
In addition to Raynor, noted architects from the first half of the 20th century with credits include Alister MacKenzie at Aiken’s Palmetto Golf Club (No. 11) and Donald Ross at Camden Country Club (No. 34).
Moving into the Top 50 in 2018 are Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love (Hilton Head Island, No. 31), Daniel Island Club’s Ralston Creek Course (No. 39), the Surf Golf & Beach Club (North Myrtle Beach, No. 39), Orangeburg Country Club (No. 43), Grande Dunes Resort Course (Myrtle Beach, No. 44), Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course (North Myrtle Beach, No. 46), TPC of Myrtle Beach (Murrells Inlet, No. 47), Callawassie Island Club (Okatie, No. 49) and Kiawah Island Resort’s Turtle Point Course (No. 50).
RED = New to Top 50 P = Available for Public Play PR = Private Club
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 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:
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.
Categories of Membership
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