SOUTH CAROLINA: A GOLFER’S PARADISE
South Carolina is home to the first golf ever played in America – in Charleston in the 18th century. More than 200 years later, more than 360 courses cover the state from the scenic coastline to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Professional golf magazines have called South Carolina one of the top golf destinations in the United States because players of all ages and skill levels can find a holiday that’s perfect for them.
Visitors can play year-round because of South Carolina’s mild climate and bargain prices have made the state a popular stop for golfers for years.
Players can try courses built by top designers and professional golfers, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye. They can improve their skills in classes at numerous golf schools or take private lessons from PGA professionals.
The 60-mile-long coastal region around Myrtle Beach has more than 100 golf courses. The region known as the “Grand Strand” features more than 200 days of sun each year. Some courses were built on the marsh sites of former rice plantations, where players can see wild birds and alligators in the water areas.
Golfers can play a different course every day and then enjoy the nightlife of eating and shopping at Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing or watch top-class entertainment at The Carolina Opry or Alabama Theatre.
Each year in late August, the Grand Strand holds the world’s largest golf tournament, the Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship. More than 3,600 golfers play on 100 courses to win prizes.
Farther south is Charleston, a historical city and luxury holiday area. Wild Dunes, just 15 miles from downtown Charleston, features two championship courses, the Links Course and the Harbour Course, which Golf Digest has said are among the best in the state.
About 20 miles south of Charleston is Kiawah Island Golf Resort, home to five world-renown courses. The most famous, The Ocean Course designed by Pete Dye, has been called the toughest course in America and played host to major championships such as the 1991 Ryder Cup, the 2007 Senior PGA Championship and the upcoming 2012 PGA Championship.
Other courses at Kiawah include Cougar Point, designed by Gary Player, and Turtle Point, designed by Jack Nicklaus. The island offers 10 miles of beachfront along with luxury hotels, dining and shopping.
Only 23 miles from historic Charleston is Seabrook Island, where holiday-makers can stroll on the beach or take horse-riding tours after playing on its two golf courses.
Hilton Head Island has some 25 championship courses, including the Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Plantation, home to the PGA’s annual RBC Heritage tournament.