Bob Gillespie



Golf Digest’s Greatest: Best courses, and the best for everyone

Posted 2/13/2013 4:31:00 PM

Since 2002, an annual ritual for Golf Digest has been the winter release (in the magazine’s February issue, now on sale) of its “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.” Over the past decade, the rankings – as compiled by a roster of rankers who play as many courses as possible – have undergone constant tweaking and now include a listing of the 100 best links that can be played by the public.

For vacationers, the latter is probably the more relevant; after all, knowing that (this year) the nation’s No. 1 is ultra-exclusive Pine Valley in New Jersey, while fascinating, is also frustrating if you can’t get through the front gate.

So while it speaks highly of South Carolina golf that it has two perennial members of the 100 Greatest – Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course (No. 21, up from a previous ranking of 26th); and Hilton Head’s Harbour Town Golf Links (No. 96, climbing from a tie for 100th); both Pete Dye designs, by the way, are public/resort – of more use to adventuring players is the 100 Greatest Public Courses.

Also not surprisingly, South Carolina in 2013 is well-represented with six entries on that list. Besides the Ocean Course (No. 4 on the best-public charts) and Harbour Town (No. 18), four others made the rankings – including a couple of newcomers for this year.

At No. 27 (down slightly from 22nd) is Bluffton’s May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff, a stunningly beautiful Jack Nicklaus design that some reviewers say can rival the state’s Big Two. No. 52 (down from No. 46) is Myrtle Beach’s The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, an iconic Robert Trent Jones layout that has thrilled players since opening in 1947.

The “new guys” on Golf Digest’s list this year are both in Myrtle Beach. No. 97 Caledonia Golf & Fish Club was built by the late Mike Strantz near Pawleys Island, and No. 98 TPC Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet is the work of architect Tom Fazio and PGA Tour legend Lanny Wadkins.

Also included in the Best Courses issue are a state-by-state listing of top courses, and – new this year – the magazine’s “Second 100 Greatest” courses. In the first, South Carolina is one of just four states with 30 or more courses (California, with 40, plus Texas and Florida are the others); eight of the S.C. courses are public or resort. The “Second 100 Greatest” ranking has eight S.C. courses included.

To view complete listings, click here for the 100 Greatest Public Courses, and click here to see the Second 100 Greatest. Here are the top 30 S.C. courses by Golf Digest (public-access clubs include website information unless already listed):

1) Ocean Course; 2) Yeamans Hall Club, Hanahan; 3) Harbour Town; 4) Kiawah Island Club/Cassique, Kiawah; 5) Sage Valley Golf Club, Graniteville; 6) May River Club; 7) Kiawah Island Club/River; 8) Long Cove Club, Hilton Head; 9) Secession Golf Club, Beaufort; 10) The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek, Johns Island;

11) Greenville Country Club/Chanticleer; 12) Colleton River Plantation Club/Nicklaus, Bluffton; 13) Musgrove Mill Golf Club, Clinton; 14) The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards GC, Sunset; 15) Chechessee Creek Club, Okatie; 16) The Dunes Club; 17) Colleton River Plantation Club/Dye, Bluffton; 18) Palmetto Golf Club, Aiken; 19) Haig Point Club, Daufuskie Island; 20) The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Sunset

21) Daniel Island Club/Ralston Creek, Charleston; 22) Caledonia; 23) TPC Myrtle Beach; 24) Belfair Golf Club/West, Bluffton; 25) The Cliffs at Keowee Springs, Six Mile; 26) Country Club of Charleston; 27) Grande Dunes Golf Club/Resort Club, Myrtle Beach; 28) The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, Salem; 29) The Cliffs at Glassy, Landrum; 30) True Blue, Pawleys Island.