Throughout the last 20 years, Greenville, S.C., and the South Carolina Upcountry have emerged as a must-visit destination. Now, the Upcountry has joined a South Carolina golf alliance called “Mountains to Midlands,” which transports golfers to a place where small towns, medium prices and big-time course architects harmoniously blend together.
By: Brad King
South Carolina has long been renowned for featuring some of the most outstanding yet affordable public golfing experiences of any state in the country. While the publicity often covers the Palmetto State’s more well-known coastal enclaves, a new alliance called “Mountains to Midlands” — a quartet of regions extending from the center of the state to the extreme northwest tip — offers up some of its fine golf of its own!
Demonstrating that strength, four members of the Mountains to Midlands www.M2mgolfsc.com collaboration were recently ranked among the Top 15 Best Golf Courses in South Carolina by the prestigious on-line media outlet Golf Advisor.
Most impressively, Cobblestone Park Golf Club, a P.B. Dye-designed gem in Blythewood, S.C. — and the University of South Carolina home course — ranked No. 2 in the state behind only Hilton Head’s Harbour Town Golf Links and two spots ahead of 2012 PGA Championship site the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort.
At No. 7 on the Golf Advisor Top 15 in South Carolina was Mount Vintage Plantation & Golf Club in North Augusta — another Mountains to Midlands member — while fellow M2M reps Edgewater Golf Club in Lancaster and The Walker Golf Course at Clemson University in Greenville joined them at Nos. 8 and 14 respectively on Golf Advisor’s list.
The Walker Course is the home layout for the vaunted Clemson Tiger golf team and offers up a spectacular collection of finishing holes along the shores of Lake Hartwell. Yet, as good as The Walker Course is, it receives plenty of competition for best in Greenville from another nearby college course, The Furman University Golf Club — where Betsy King, Beth Daniel, Dottie Pepper and Brad Faxon among others honed their college games. Like Clemson, Furman’s golf course has received wide acclaim through the years including being voted the best public golf course in The Upcountry by the South Carolina Golf Ratings.
The Upcountry — a six-county area that abounds with natural resources and recreational opportunities — is anchored by one of the fastest growing cities in the State – Greenville. In the past two decades this formerly sleepy factory town has seamlessly managed to merge traditional southern charm, jaw-dropping natural beauty and an unexpected contemporary cool, and emerged as one of America’s hippest, must-visit destinations — and Greenville has propelled the rest of The Upcountry along with it. German automobile company BMW established their North American plant in nearby Spartanburg, along with Michelin’s headquarters and plants, and created opportunity for related industries.
And there is no shortage of world-class golf. There are nearly two-dozen widely revered courses and clubs around the Greenville-Spartanburg area; part of the reason The Upcountry www.upcountrysc.com joined Mountains to Midlands, which also includes Lake Murray Country, the Old 96 District and the Olde English District. Mountains to Midlands allows golfers to mix and match their golf within the regions, or stay within the regions of their choice. This bourgeoning alliance transports golfers to a place where small towns, medium prices and big-name golf course architects harmoniously blend together. Abounding with natural resources and recreational opportunities, The Upcountry portion of Mountains to Midlands includes a laundry list of outstanding golfing experiences.
The Preserve at Verdae is a William Bird design carved out of the Carolina Forest located in mid-town Greenville, while Bonnie Brae Golf Club has been popular around Greenville for its playability and affordability ever since opening in 1961.
Brookstone Meadows Golf and Country Club in Anderson, S.C., is just minutes from downtown Greenville and features a Tom Jackson-designed gem, while nearby Anderson Country Club dates all the way back to the turn of the 20th century. Also in Anderson, the renowned golf course architect George Cobb, who designed Augusta National’s Par-3 Course, laid out Cobb’s Glen Country Club, which opened in 1976.
There are too many more to mention individually, but rest assured; the South Carolina Upcountry and the entirety of the Mountains to Midlands coalition cover a scenic and historic area of that south, where numerous interstate highways make travel easy and the golf courses accessible. Considering its close proximity and impressive supply of outstanding layouts — as well as the area’s temperate climate allowing the game to be enjoyed year round — little wonder Mountains to Midlands is fast becoming renowned as a wonderfully satisfying and surprisingly affordable golf destination. Indeed, along with its outstanding golf, Mountains to Midlands offers impressive value.
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.