Golf 2010

Robert Gilbert



Mountain vistas and sea breezes offer “cool” summer golf

Posted 8/31/2010 12:59:00 PM

For anyone living in the eastern United States, one word will come to mind when recalling the summer of 2010 — HOT. 

This, of course, is not news to anyone who spent any time out on the golf course. However, what might be news is that there are a handful of courses in South Carolina that offer a “cool” experience during the dog days of summer.

While nearly 300 miles and more than 1,500 feet in elevation separate the courses below, they still have one thing in common — on a hot South Carolina day, they offer the coolest rounds in the state.

Cool mountains

The high elevations of both Cherokee Valley Golf Club and The Rock at Jocassee do more than provide stunning vistas. They also have the coolest temperatures in the state during the heat of summer.

Cherokee Valley Golf Club

Designed by P.B. Dye, Cherokee Valley is a stunning course located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Greenville. With an elevation of nearly 1,400 feet above sea level, the area boasts average high temperatures 5 degrees cooler than nearby Greenville, and 9 degrees cooler than famously hot Columbia during July and August.

As for the golf, the elevation changes provide quite a challenge, albeit a beautiful one. Yardage-wise, Cherokee Valley is not a tremendously long course, however, thanks to the large number of uphill approach shots, several holes play a good 20 yards longer than posted.

The Rock at Jocassee

Located west of Cherokee Valley in Table Rock Resort, The Rock at Jocassee is the highest elevation public course in the state, coming in at 1,600 feet above sea level.

“You can really tell a difference when you’re playing in the morning and in the late afternoons during the summer months,” said Mark Faile, Golf Professional at The Rock. “On the hottest days, it’s usually 5 to 7 degrees cooler up here on the course than down the mountain.”

Featuring waterfalls and designated Indian burial mounds, The Rock is a “hidden gem” that offers golfers one of the most entertaining and unique rounds they will find in the area.

Cool sea breezes

Unlike the high elevation courses above, you won’t find cool temperatures at Ocean Point Golf Links at Fripp Island or the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes. After all, you can’t get any closer to sea level than these oceanfront courses. However, you will find constant breezes off the Atlantic cooling you off throughout the round.

Ocean Point Golf Links at Fripp Island

To say that the wind is a factor on the Ocean Point Golf Links at Fripp is an understatement.

“There are at least four holes where there are consistently strong gusts,” said Todd Strattan, Golf Pro at Ocean Point. “And with the exception of just a few sheltered holes, the wind stays at a pretty constant 10 to 15 mph on the rest of the course.”

Featuring several holes situated directly on the Atlantic, Ocean Point is one of the most picturesque courses on the coast. The cooling factor provided by the winds also makes it more popular in the summer than other area courses.

“With both the front nine and back nine ending up on the ocean, golfers get relief from the heat throughout the round,” Strattan said.

Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes

The famous 10th hole of the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes, with its beautiful sweeping views of the Atlantic, is the only oceanfront hole on the course, but it’s far from being the only hole affected by the strong ocean breezes. On a normal day the wind, which averages about 10 mph with periodic gusts up to 25 mph, makes its presence known on nearly every hole of the Trent Jones back nine.

Those stiff winds coming in off the water play havoc with your shots, but they also make the round much more bearable during the summer on Hilton Head Island and this highly-rated resort course.

For more information

The Rock at Jocassee: 864.878.2030; 171 Sliding Rock Road, Pickens;

Cherokee Valley: 864.895.6758; 450 Cherokee Valley Way, Travelers Rest;

Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort: 843.838.1521; 250 Ocean Point Drive; Fripp Island;

Palmetto Dunes: 866-380-1778; Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head;