More Courses and more Bang for your Buck!
By Claudio DeMarchi
The courses have been there for years and there was a time when those of us from the more northern winter climates would zip by in angst to get to those more popular coastal regions of South Carolina and beyond.
Not so much anymore! In particular, the Rock Hill area of South Carolina where the over flow of Charlotte growth has led to an influx of golfer style dining and recreational activities. In fact a short 20 minute drive back to the southern part of Charlotte gets you to a new Top Golf – just in case you did not get enough golf during the day. More by night!
Rock Hill is definitely benefiting from the Charlotte upscale overflow. Right off of I-77 in the Fort Mill area you will undoubtedly come across the quaint Baxter Village with a plethora of dining options from pubs to fine dining; A relatively new and also growing collection of restaurants center around the Pump House set on the banks of the Catawba River. A few exits south (Dave Lyle Blvd.) you will find another collection of bars and restaurants tucked in amongst a collection of hotels including our favorite Wingate by Wyndham. In addition, this exit hosts about as many shopping options as any golfer could want.
You certainly don’t need to look far to find great golf! There are 11 tracks to choose from in the area and all just minutes off of I-77. Traveling Golfer favorites include two private tracks but these are accessible through Golf Packages of South Carolina www.golfpackagesofsc.com .
Camden Country Club, a Donald Ross gem, an oldie established in 1903 is as good a Ross course as any I have played. If you are lucky a train will come through along the live tracks that run through the course. The new look of Pinehurst #2, guess where it came from? Yup!
Rock Hill Country Club, another oldie, was established in 1934. A true test for all levels of golfers designed by A.W. Tillinghast.
A sampling of other favorites…
Carolina Lakes Golf Club setting the standard in the area, is a well maintained, upscale facility in a pristine setting of natural streams and ponds with the Catawba River meandering through it. The challenging 7,024 yards of rolling fairways are carved through tall pines, maples and oaks.
Edgewater Golf Club carved out of South Carolina’s rolling terrain and majestic pines, this 7,100 yard gem is situated in a new Fuzzy Zoeller golf community showcasing rolling fairways, spectacular views and an abundance of wildlife.
Springfield Golf Club, classic, timeless, and traditional comes to mind when you are here! A course layout reminiscent to the “Golden Age” of golf architecture. Designed for the strategic golfer, the Springfield Golf Club is situated on a heavily wooded and hilly site. Four of the holes are flanked by the whispering waters of Sugar Creek, while 13 holes play across streams that meander into the Catawba River.
Moving on down I-77 towards Columbia and the Lake Murray region of South Carolina, Columbia is the State Capital and the largest city in the State, combining the graces of a rich past with the vibrancy of a city that is home to a major university and a jewel in itself is the majestic Lake Murray with over 650 miles of shoreline.
What appeals more to golfers after a round of golf than a cold one? Not much! Of course along with quenching your thirst comes a foodie adventure and there’s no shortage on that front either. A few that we really like and where you can get a good sampling of both are Twisted Spur in Columbia’s downtown Vista entertainment district. Also in the area are the likes of Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Alehouse and Old Mill Brew Pub both on Main Street and within walking distance from each other.
Before you get to Columbia you might just want to hang a quick left off of 77 in the Blythewood area where you will find The Windermere Club, one of my favorite courses in South Carolina! A P. B. Dye design with many memorable holes none more so than the three finishing holes – picture the 18th like the 18th at Pebble Beach!
Cobblestone Park Golf Club has recently been named one of the Top 30 Courses in the State. The once private University Club remains home to the University of South Carolina men’s and women’s golf teams. A must play!
Columbia Country Club, members here settle for nothing but the best in conditioning. This Ellis Maples designed course historically settles into the top 25 rankings of the State. Three challenging nines, over 90 bunkers and tree lined fairways that lead you to undulating greens.
Oak Hills Golf Club is another must play in the Columbia area. Near the State capital, rests one of the most recognized and respected golf clubs in the State. Named to Golf Digest’s “Places to Play” in 2006, this Steve Melnyk-Davis Love III design is situated on a 160 acre tract of gently rolling hills and nestled among thousands of oaks, pines and picturesque dogwoods, offers an unforgettable golfing experience.
The Rock Hill and Columbia regions of South Carolina may not be as popular for golf as its coastal counterparts but from a bang for your buck perspective you will be hard pressed to find better. Including the regions of Thoroughbred Country (Aiken / North Augusta) and The Upcountry (Greenville), which we did not get to visit on this trip, there are over 50 courses to choose from.
For a general overview of the four regions that are located from the middle of the State to the Mountainous Northwest corner down to the Aiken/Augusta area, visit www.m2mgolfsc.com
Daily golf packages for the entire area are generally under $100.00 per day.
The Mountains to Midlands Golf Alliance has a golf packager, Ricky Saucier – owner of Golf Packages of South Carolina, who can help you take the guess work out of your trip and customize your golf vacations to any of these regions. The regions are not that far apart so on any particular vacation, depending on the number of days, you can experience more than one region.
Connect with Ricky, you will not be disappointed! www.golfpackagesofsc.com