Historic Golf: Classic Courses at SC’s Oldest Resorts

Title: Historic Golf: The Classics Unveiled at South Carolina’s Oldest Resorts

Subtitle: Tracing the Legacy of Golf in the Palmetto State

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: a golfer’s paradise renowned for its stunning courses and richly woven tapestry of golfing history, dotted here and there with the hallowed grounds of some of America’s oldest golfing sanctuaries. South Carolina’s connection to the sport runs deep, interweaving generations of golfing enthusiasts who have strolled the legendary fairways found in these parts since the inception of the game. This is a journey into the depth of golf’s history in South Carolina, a pilgrimage into the sanctums of classical golf – the age-old resorts.

One cannot speak of South Carolina golf history without mentioning The Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken. Founded in 1892, it’s the oldest golf club in the Palmetto State. Originally built as a winter retreat for the wealthy northerners seeking milder climates, the club is a testament to the early American love affair with golf. With its towering pines and delicate azaleas, the course was updated by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, the acclaimed golf architect, in the 1930s to add a touch of complex finesse to this old-timer.

Then we have the Pine Lakes Country Club, the granddaddy of Myrtle Beach golf. Opened in 1927, it’s rich in history and tradition, often recognized as the birthplace of Sports Illustrated magazine. Designed by Robert White, the first president of the PGA of America, the course offers stimulating challenges and scenic beauty that transcends time. The recent renovations have augmented the club’s majestic charm, blending its historic underpinings with modern attributes, creating a seamless fusion of old-world grace and contemporary style.

Situated in the Lowcountry, on Spring Island, come across the venerable Old Tabby Links. Redesigned by golfing legend Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay from an original 1992 design by Michael Poellot. Old Tabby Links is considered a beautiful gem amongst South Carolina’s historic golf-specific resorts. This course offers an incredible mix of lush fairways, salt marshes, and ancient live oaks draped with Spanish moss, a vista that treats patrons to an unparalleled golfing milieu.

On Pawleys Island, we find another historical golf course of note, the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. Built on a former rice plantation, this exquisite course is enveloped by ancient oaks and the beautiful South Carolina landscape. Lauded for its challenging layout and aesthetic splendor, this course, opened in 1994, is considered one of the top courses in South Carolina and carries a timeless charm and sophistication seen in courses many years its senior.

Further north, in South Carolina’s Upcountry, lies the Chanticleer Course at Greenville Country Club. Designed by the celebrated Robert Trent Jones in 1970, it remains one of the state’s best-kept golfing secrets, presenting an enthralling challenge with its undulating terrain and carefully placed hazards. Its recent renovation has tastefully honored Jones’s design while enhancing playability, striking a sublime balance between modernity and tradition.

Lastly, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island stands as a testament to golf’s enduring allure. Designed by Pete Dye and majorly revamped in 2012 ahead of the PGA Championship, the Ocean Course is considered one of the most challenging courses worldwide. This course, while not as old as others on this list, carries immense historical significance, being a Ryder Cup venue in 1991.

It’s fascinating, this journey through time, across fairways, and greens steeped in history. Golf in South Carolina has evolved, yet has sustained its ties with history, providing enthusiasts a wonderful blend of the old and new. As we revisit these courses, we immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of South Carolina’s golfing heritage – a legacy interwoven with charm, challenge and the relentless pursuit of the game.

7 thoughts on “Historic Golf: Classic Courses at SC’s Oldest Resorts”

  1. Being a golf enthusiast, I am always intrigued by the history of this amazing sport. So many golfers focus on the newest, most cutting-edge clubs, but so often we forget about the historic roots of the game. The piece on Myrtle Beach and Palmetto Golf club was particularly cool! I didn’t know the Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken has been kicking since 1892 and updated by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, what a fascinating anecdote.

  2. Love the homage to the grand old courses here in SC. I’ve had the pleasure of playing most of these, with the Palmetto Golf Club being my personal favorite. Nothing quite like the feeling of nostalgia teeing off where the greats of yore once stood. BTW, any more hidden gems out there folks recommend? Looking for ‘off the beaten path’ courses to try out.

  3. This definitely stoked my interest in wanting to play some of these historic courses, especially the Chanticleer Course at Greenville Country Club. I’m intrigued by the balance of modernity and tradition. But before I go, I’m wondering, any tips on how to handle those ‘carefully placed hazards’?

  4. Wow, I never realized how many of these beautiful resorts had such deeply rooted historical significance in golf. It makes me appreciate the game on a whole new level. I’ve been to the Pine Lakes Country Club and it’s truly a breathtaking course! One note – you mentioned that the Old Tabby Links was redesigned by golfing legend Arnold Palmer – were there any signature design elements he’s known for that were incorporated into the redesign? I’m curious about what makes a classic ‘Arnold Palmer’ course.

  5. Whoa, so Sports Illustrated was born at Pine Lakes Country Club? Who would’ve thought? Really cool tidbit. Although now I can’t help but imagine editors in plaid trousers and argyle socks drafting the first issue in between swings!

  6. KeepinItInTheFairway

    Excellent write up! It’s sometimes easy to forget the roots of the game when you’re solely focused on beating your best score. This was a good reminder that part of what defines golf is the deep history and the characters that shaped it. Speaking of shaping, who else thinks a round at the Ocean Course is the quickest way to redefine your handicap? Ha!

  7. Solid article! I’ve always appreciated how SC has honored golf’s history while blending in modern elements. Also, I can tell you firsthand – the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is no joke, it’s a tough one! Thanks for sharing this gem.

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