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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]

#17 Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

        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).




South Carolina's Top 50 Golf Courses for 2018
Selected by the South Carolina Golf Course Rating Panel

RED = New to Top 50    P = Available for Public Play    PR = Private Club

2018 RANKING

COURSE

2016 RANKING

1

Kiawah Island Resort - Ocean Course P

1

2

Sea Pines - Harbour Town Golf Links P

2

3

May River Golf Club (Palmetto Bluff) P

4

4

Sage Valley Golf Club (Graniteville) PR

3

5

Greenville Country Club – Chanticleer Course PR

5

6

Yeamans Hall Club (Hanahan) PR

6

7

Secession Golf Club (Beaufort) PR

8

8

Kiawah Island Club – Cassique Course PR

11

9

The Dunes Golf & Beach Club (Myrtle Beach) P

7

10

Long Cove Club (Hilton Head) PR

9

11

Palmetto Golf Club (Aiken) PR

12

12

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club (Pawleys Island) P

10

13

Cherokee Plantation Golf Club (Yemasee) PR

15

14

Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards (Sunset) PR

18

15

Colleton River Plantation - Nicklaus Course PR

13

16

Kiawah Island Club – River Course PR

21

17

Chechessee Creek Club (Okatie) PR

14

18

Country Club of Charleston PR

17

19

Bulls Bay Golf Club (Awendaw) PR

22

20

Old Tabby Links (Spring Island) PR

16

21

Colleton River Plantation – Dye Course PR

20

22

Cliffs Mountain Park PR

28

23

Musgrove Mill Golf Club PR

23

24

The Golf Club at Briar's Creek (Johns Island) PR

25

25

The Reserve at Lake Keowee (Sunset) PR

27

26

Haig Point Club (Daufauskie Island) PR

19

27

Tidewater Golf Club & Plantation (Little River) P

26

28

Wachesaw Plantation (Murrells Inlet) PR

29

29

Belfair Golf Club - East Course (Bluffton) PR

32

30

Debordieu Club (Georgetown) PR

43

31

Sea Pines – Atlantic Dunes (Hilton Head) P

NR

32

Belfair Golf Club - West Course (Bluffton) PR

33

33

Thornblade Club (Greer) PR

37

34

Camden Country Club PR

34

35

Wild Dunes Resort - Links Course P

48

36

Cliffs at Keowee Falls PR

45

37

The Reserve Club of Pawley's Island PR

35

38

Daniel Island Club – Ralston Creek Course PR

NR

39

Surf Golf and Beach Club PR

NR

40

True Blue Plantation (Pawleys Island) P

42

41

Cliffs at Glassy (Landrum) PR

40

42

Country Club of Spartanburg PR

30

43

Orangeburg Country Club P

NR

44

Grande Dunes Resort Course (Myrtle Beach) P

NR

45

Florence Country Club PR

39

46

Barefoot Resort–Dye Course (N. Myrtle Beach) P

NR

47

TPC of Myrtle Beach (Murrells Inlet) P

NR

48

Berkeley Hall – North Course (Bluffton) PR

34

49

Callawassie Island Club (Okatie) PR

NR

50

Kiawah Island Resort – Turtle Point P

NR


Top Golf Courses By Region

GRAND STRAND
  1 The Dunes Golf & Beach Club (Myrtle Beach)  P
  2 Caledonia Golf & Fish Club (Pawleys Island)  P
  3 Tidewater Golf Club & Plantation (Little River)  P
  4 Wachesaw Plantation (Murrells Inlet)  PR
  5 Debordieu Club (Georgetown)  PR
  6 The Reserve Club of Pawleys Island  PR
  7 Surf Golf & Beach Club PR
  8 True Blue Plantation (Pawleys Island)  P
  9 Grande Dunes Resort Course P
10 Barefoot Resort – Dye Course P

LOW COUNTRY
  1 The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort  P
  2 Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort (Hilton Head Island)  P
  3 May River Golf Club (Palmetto Bluff)  P
  4 Yeamans Hall Club (Hanahan)  PR
  5 Secession Golf Club (Beaufort)  PR
  6 Kiawah Island Club – Cassique Course  PR
  7 Long Cove Club (Hilton Head)  PR
  8 Cherokee Plantation (Yemasee)  PR
  9 Colleton River Plantation - Nicklaus Course (Bluffton)  PR
10 Kiawah Island Club – River Course  PR

MIDLANDS
  1 Sage Valley Golf Club (Graniteville)  PR
  2 Palmetto Golf Club (Aiken)  PR
  3 Camden Country Club  PR
  4 Orangeburg Country Club  PR
  5 Florence Country Club  PR
  6 Columbia Country Club PR
  7 The Reserve at Woodside Plantation (Aiken) PR
  8 Forest Lake Club (Columbia) PR
  9 Aiken Golf Club P
10 Mt Vintage Golf Club PR

UPSTATE
  1 Greenville Country Club – Chanticleer Course  PR
  2 Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards (Sunset)  PR
  3 Cliffs at Mountain Park (Travelers Rest)  PR
  4 Musgrove Mill Golf Club (Clinton)  PR
  5 The Reserve at Lake Keowee (Sunset)  PR
  6 Thornblade Club (Greer)  PR
  7 Cliffs at Keowee Falls (Salem)  PR
  8 Cliffs at Glassy PR
  9 Country Club of Spartanburg  PR
10 Furman University Golf Course P




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 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.
  • Overall Golf Experience – Includes all elements of the course: practice areas, clubhouse & more.

Structure

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

  • 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

 

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