A 9 iron from golf giants Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head…
By: Brad Kozak
The Olde English District sits between Rock Hill and Columbia running down the center of the state. No beaches, big flashy signs or flocking tourists but a rolling, hilly region of the Carolina’s that is a hot bed for golf and history.
My 5 days spent there was full of missed par putts, fabulous food, and a side of history that I hadn’t seen before. The history in small cities like Camden and Cheraw are what made the United States who they are today. Battles won and lost, city boundaries created and stories of war heroes passed down through the years. The buildings, refurbished plantation homes and ghost tales seem to line the streets of these small towns where 250+ years ago soldiers lived and gave their lives.
I was taken aback by the passion that our guides showed, and how proud they were to be a part of these unique experiences. I must admit, this is a place that opened my eyes to the history of the south and the struggle to make it what it is today. I loved every second of it.
The golf was unique and a strong test. The region boasts strong elevation changes and picturesque holes that rival any on the east coast. The week began with Springfield GC (www.playspringfield.com), where a solid layout provided a strong test, with blind shots and solid greens. A chip shot away from the Charlotte Airport makes this place a no brainer for potential travelers. The second course was one of my favourites of the week, and the home of the South Carolina Gamecocks golf team, Cobblestone Park Golf Club (www.cobblestoneparkgolfclub.com). This 27 hole facility was in pristine condition, and had one of the best “19th hole” patio views I have ever seen. The par 5 9th on the Black course broke into 2 separate fairways creating a risk reward (some more of a risk than others) and the par 3 2nd island green could have been the best hole that we played on the 5 day trip.
The week rounded out with 3 of the top courses in the region; Cheraw State Park (www.playcheraw.com) had generous fairways and beautiful water holes, for only $30 how can you go wrong? It was like we were all alone in the middle of nowhere on the back 9, and the final 4-5 holes was a true representation of golf in South Carolina, tall pines with pine straw and beautiful water views. Camden Country Club (www.camdencountryclub.com) came along with a strong background of history, but the only name that needs to be mentioned is Donald Ross. Being a rookie to his green complexes proved to get the best of me on the first few holes. I’ve never seen greens roll like this before. Such a “cool” test of golf, the golf course defiantly won that battle.
The last course literally came out of nowhere. Driving to the course with a fellow Canuck, we noticed a rickety old sign that read “Public Golf Course”. We immediately looked at each other with a look of nervousness. Edgewater (www.edgewatergc.com) couldn’t be further from a rundown public golf course. Every single hole was strong, and the elevation changes were the largest of the week. Starting with #1, most holes you were teeing it up and hitting downhill into what seemed massive valleys, and they just kept coming. Finishing off was the par 4 18th that could be a picture on the front of the South Carolina golf guide. Looking back I couldn’t think of a “bad” hole, and that certainly made for a very memorable experience to end the week of golf. The perfect ending to a fantastic golf experience.
Each night was a different dining experience and it seemed that as the week went on each day got better and better. The seafood was delicious, the southern flare was everywhere and even the Italian was authentic!
Being my first trip to the region, I didn’t know exactly what to expect but it opened my eyes and made me realize that there are 100’s of these places across the US. Places that have a strong historical presence, great leisure activities and delectable dishes from numerous restaurants.
Take a trip down 79 and 77 from the north, or fly into the Charlotte airport and make sure to spend a few nights in the Olde English District. It certainly is a well-rounded golf destination with something to offer anyone. Ricky Saucier (email@example.com) of Golf Packages of South Carolina is your local golf trip and knowledge expert and would love to help out in planning your next journey. South Carolina is known for its beaches and coastline but this could certainly change your mind…
For more information about golf in the Olde English District, visit www.OldeEnglishGolf.com.