Charleston sometimes has a problem of overshadowing itself when it comes to all of the unique offerings that people can enjoy everyday in this city. Many families come here for our beautiful, low-key beaches and downtown shopping while history buffs return frequently to check off another historical site on their bucket lists. Then there’s the renowned Southern cuisine and nightlife that has drawn national attention from travel magazines over the past few years, yet there’s still more to Charleston. Scattered throughout Charleston’s barrier islands and throughout the mainland are some of the most challenging and beautiful golf courses in South Carolina. Many of the well known courses like Kiawah draw enthusiasts from all over the U.S. while the lesser known courses provide equally breathtaking views with half the crowds.
Dunes West Golf
Dunes West, located off of Highway 41 in Mount Pleasant, is a beautiful gated community offering the perfect combination of privacy and community. The Dunes West subdivision is focused around the 6,871-foot golf course, which was designed by Arthur Hills, a prolific designer of more than 160 exclusive golf courses around the United States. This par-72 golf course provides a beautiful walk or ride amongst the oak trees that line Wagner Creek, which meanders along the length of the course. After a successful round of golf, many residents relax at the clubhouse, which also overlooks Wagner Creek. If your skills are a bit rusty, the club offers golf classes through the Frank Moore Golf Academy. Run by PGA professionals, there are classes for all ages and skill levels. If you’re not feeling up for a round of golf, Dunes West has many other options, including two pools (one with a waterslide for the more adventurous pool-goer), tennis courts and a fitness center.
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Daniel Island Golf Club
As the jewel of the planned Daniel Island community, the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, South Carolina, does not disappoint. This private community boasts two 18-hole courses, one by Tom Fazio and the other by Rees Jones; this coupling of designers within the same community can be found nowhere else in America. The Beresford Creek course was chosen to host the 2012 Carolina PGA Championship, the winner of which received an automatic qualifying spot for the 2013 National PGA Championship. The Ralston Creek course offers a practice course so you can perfect your swing before the next round with friends. Both courses provide players with serene views of the marsh and the surrounding upscale neighborhood. Before or after a round of golf, meet up with friends and family at the country club’s Grill Room, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (as well as brunch on selected days). Try the house specialty, the oven-fired pizza. The clubhouse also offers two saltwater pools with waterslides, a poolside café, and themed events during the warmer months. For an activity that will get you even closer to the beautiful nature surrounding the Club, rent a kayak or two from the Golf Club and spend your day explore the rivers and marshes.
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Charleston National Golf Club
If you’re looking for a golf community in Mount Pleasant, look no further than the Charleston National Golf Club. Home to Mount Pleasant’s premier public golf club, this community off of Highway 17 in north Mount Pleasant offers a unique experience to residents and visitors alike. Rees Jones, designer and reconstructor of such courses as the Breakers Hotel, Pinehurst #7, and the LPGA course, created Charleston National with the gorgeous surroundings in mind. Each tee allows for five different skills levels, so anyone can enjoy this beautiful and challenging course. The course’s fairway is set alongside tidal marshes, pine forests and the Intracoastal Waterway, and combines the best that Charleston golf and the Lowcountry scenery can provide. When you need to relax after a round of golf, retreat to the clubhouse, where you can purchase new golf gear at the pro shop or grab a quick bite at the Rees Jones Pub. Make sure to sign up for a session at the Golf Clinic so you’ll be prepared for one of the many local golfing events that Charleston National hosts each year.
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Rivertowne Golf Club and Rivertowne on the Wando
Thomas Gibson, star of the TV show “Criminal Minds” and Charleston native, recently told Golf Digest that the Rivertowne Golf Club was one of his favorite courses to play in the Charleston area. If this golf connoisseur and acclaimed actor says the Rivertowne is a good course, there’s probably something to it. Other golfers agree: the Ginn Tribute, a pivotal event on the LPGA tour, was held at Rivertowne in 2007 and 2008. It’s easy to see why this semi-public golf course and community have garnered such a buzz. Situated between the Wando River and Horlbeck Creek, the Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole course offers spectacular views along its entirety. The clubhouse provides golf clinics and a pro shop for residents and visitors, as well as lunch, dinner, and take-out options from the dining room. Rivertowne on the Wando, the subdivision surrounding the golf course, offers other amenities to its residents, including a pool, tennis courts, fishing ponds and three deep-water docks.
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The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island
The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island – Opened in 1991, the Ocean Course is Kiawah’s premier golf course and one of the top rated in the world by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The Ocean Course has held several well known tournaments including the Ryder Cup, World Cup of Golf, and the PGA Championship in 2012. Currently ranked #4 in the nation for public courses, you’ll play holes surrounded by beautiful vistas of the Lowcountry marshland. The finishing stretch spans Kiawah’s gorgeous coastline – a view so good that some golfers come simply for the last few holes. And with a fantastic, resort clubhouse for dinner and drinks after your game, you’ll never regret signing onto a day at The Ocean Course.
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Other Featured Courses Around Charleston
The Links Course, Isle of Palms – This was renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio’s first creation. He recalls the opening in 1980 and admits that it was one of his most passionate projects that he has ever committed to. It is ranked as the best public golf course in South Carolina with it’s rustic fairways, palm shaded roughs and an 18th hole that overlooks the Atlantic at the north end of Isle of Palms. It is pristinely maintained and there is a great club house to begin or end your day on the course. Located within Wild Dunes, it is also an easy drive from anywhere in Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. Search For Property on Isle of Palms
Bulls Bay Golf Club – Originally this 200 acre plot of land was used to grow tomatoes, but in 2002 it was carefully reconstructed into the Bulls Bay Golf Club. Just minutes from downtown Charleston, this is a course that will never bore you. What makes Bulls Bay different from typical, symmetric courses is that creator Mike Strantz built it around the naturally flowing landscape. Because of this, you’ll see the pace change throughout the course making it challenging to maintain a rhythm. Veterans of Bully Bay maintain that you could play the course everyday for a year and have 365 different games. Search Bully Bay Properties
Country Club Of Charleston – Located in the heart of Charleston overlooking the Ashley River, creator Seth Raynor surprised golf enthusiasts in the area with a well engineered and complex set of greens that at first glance seemed bland and predictable. However the clean look masked plateauing greens and carefully placed sand traps that make for a fun, yet challenging day. The Country Club of Charleston also offers a great social membership which includes everything but golf – so you can enjoy the river breezes without the added costs.