Golf fans traveling to Augusta and Hilton Head Island during the next few weeks can hone their games on numerous outstanding links across South Carolina.
(March 2016) — For golf fans, the dawning of spring truly marks the beginning of the golf season as well. The ball gets rolling with the granddaddy of them all, the Masters at Augusta National; then continues southeast to the coast and Hilton Head Island, S.C., for the player- and fan-favourite alike, the RBC Heritage.
Savvy golfers interested in not only watching the professionals, but also playing outstanding courses will find themselves in one of the game’s most golf-rich states. From the Lowcountry to the Upstate, South Carolina offers numerous memorable golfing experiences.
Located 144 miles from Augusta on Hilton Head Island, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is where college stars such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson demonstrated their early prowess during the resort’s longtime intercollegiate golf tournament played over two of its three outstanding courses by a trio of legends in golf course architecture: the renowned Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course, the Arthur Hills Course and the Fazio course, designed by George Fazio and his nephew, famed architect Tom Fazio – all three of which have been named South Carolina’s “Golf Course of the Year.” For short-term and long-term accommodations, Palmetto Dunes offers the island’s premier selection of vacation rental properties from oceanfront hotel rooms to spacious villas overlooking the harbour, lagoon, fairways or beach. www.PalmettoDunes.com
Mountains to Midlands
A quartet of regions extending from the center of South Carolina to the extreme northwest tip offers up some of its finest golf where small towns, medium prices and big-name course architects harmoniously blend together. In fact, four members of theMountains to Midlands (M2M) collaboration were recently ranked among the Top 15 Golf Courses in South Carolina by Golf Advisor. There are also local bands to be heard and sumptuous fare to be enjoyed. Along the way, you’ll learn plenty of rich Revolutionary War history and experience Civil War intrigue. Within any region of M2M at any time of the year, golfers can stay five nights and play five rounds of golf for less than $500. www.m2mgolfsc.com
America’s Value Golf Destination
For more than a half-century, traveling enthusiasts making their way through South Carolina along I-95 (and nearby I-26) have taken advantage of Santee’s excellent golf, superb fishing, affordable accommodations, and outstanding food and entertainment. Upscale premium green fees are nowhere to be found and dollars definitely do go further in Santee. For about $60 per day during the off-season guests can play golf with a cart, enjoy accommodations and a hearty breakfast. Santee offers — all in one I-95 exit — three lakeside golf courses with an additional 14 layouts within a half-hour drive. santeetourism.com/golf_packages
One of the game’s most positive stories during the past decade has been the emergence of McConnell Golf, which now owns a dozen 18-hole, private golf courses plus one nine-hole course around the Carolinas and Tennessee. Musgrove Mill in Clinton S.C., serves as a tribute to pure golf and a great day-trip for any golfer wanting to tackle one of golf’s finest tests — a sanctuary for golfers to eat and rest their heads after their rounds.
Skillfully designed within the surrounding countryside by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, the highly decorated Musgrove Mill is indeed off the beaten path — a special getaway reminiscent of Pine Valley in Clementon, N.J. “The Mill” features cottages for overnight accommodations, a first-rate practice facility, full-service clubhouse with a private chef, and historic significance as a former Revolutionary War battle site. Boasting a small, select membership, no tee times, and a secluded, natural course layout, The Mill is the ideal destination for the accomplished golfer. www.McConnellGolf.com
/ Brad King