Bob Gillespie



Top George Cobb Sr. courses in South Carolina

Posted 1/27/2014 1:18:00 PM

When the late golf course architect George W. Cobb Sr. was named posthumously to the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame, no one was more appropriate to present Cobb’s induction speech than Greenville-based golf architect John LaFoy.

Cobb – whose best-known work is the famed Par-3 Course at Augusta National – brought LaFoy, a friend of his son George Jr., into the golf architecture business in 1968. From 1971 until Cobb’s death in 1986, the two designed or renovated hundreds of courses across the U.S., including more than two dozen in South Carolina.

“I thought about going to (the University of) Georgia graduate school in landscape architecture,” says LaFoy, a graduate of Clemson. “Mr. Cobb said if I stayed with him, I’d learn more about designing courses than in school. He was right.”

Here are LaFoy’s picks as S.C.’s top Cobb courses:

The Surf Club, Myrtle Beach: “Mr. Cobb had a knack for straightforward golf courses that require you to think, but aren’t overly penal. That one has well-positioned hazards so you have to carefully place your shots. I know it’s a cliché, but you really do use every club in your bag.”

Spanish Wells Golf Club, Hilton Head: “It’s only nine holes, but Spanish Wells is a neat little course. The two best Mr. Cobb did (at Hilton Head) are that one and the original 18 holes at Shipyard Plantation.”

Spring Valley Country Club, Columbia: “We didn’t do many courses in the Midlands, but that’s a good one. Nothing fancy, just good holes and shot values.”

Green Valley Country Club, Greenville: “Really fun and a nice golf course.”

Greenwood Country Club, Greenwood: “The original 18 holes (Lake and Cedar nines).”

Ocean Point at Fripp Island Resort: “That one’s pretty good. After we built it, though, it sat for two years with no one playing it.”

Sanctuary Golf Club at Cat Island, Beaufort: “Mr. Cobb and I did it together, and I think that was his last course (built in 1985).”

Star Fort National Golf Club, Ninety Six: “We did that one for the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) in the 1960s when they were building golf courses. I haven’t seen it in a while but the son of a friend of mine played there and said it was a nice one.”