We have been here before! But with 55 courses covering the rolling terrain in the Mountains to Midlands Golf Alliance program (www.M2MGolfSC.com) it takes time to discover and enjoy the distinctive offerings and hospitality that surround this area of South Carolina.
It is an eye opening experience in a State known for its coastal golf. This region is diverse with dramatic elevation changes and panoramic vistas while still maintaining southern hospitality, culture and southern cuisine in vibrant cities and towns.
It was a special visit this time around as we were showcasing the regions to Tony Leodora, the Philadelphia based Traveling Golfer, filming a future episode of Traveling Golfer Television. When all is said and done, Tony was astonished by the quality of the courses and how inexpensive to is to stay & play.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so starting in Columbia, you do not need to look any further than Cobblestone Park, home of the University of SC golf team, to get your vacation underway. A 27-hole complex with rolling tree lined fairways, generous landing areas off the tee and always well maintained. Play the right set of tees and you will have a fun day.
Golden Hills Golf and Country Club is a much tighter course requiring precise shotmaking skills on a number of holes. There is also quite a bit of water on the course, including a pond guarding the peninsula green on the challenging 10th hole.
Oak Hills Golf Club is a classic parkland style course nestled among the thousands of oaks, pines and dogwoods with elevation changes that you just don’t think of when teeing it up in South Carolina. Water down the right side of the 6th and 7th holes will challenge your round. Both the 9th and 18th are solid finishing holes!
All golfers need a little recharging and The Vista or 5 Points areas of downtown Columbia makes for great refueling stations, whether it be the upbeat rooftop patio at the Ale House or a little finer fare at the Blue Marlin. A couple of our favorites.
Making our way up to Aiken about an hour west on I-26 we make it to the quaint, yet vibrant downtown. A historic look and feel, yet the Alley right in the middle of town is electric with an excellent collection of bars and restaurants, many having music in the evenings. A great destination for couples and guys alike. Hooves up for horse lovers, within a couple of miles of the Downtown area you are amongst the many horse farms where horses rule. Some of the roads remain in dirt for the benefit of these majestic creatures. There is a reason that this area is referred to as Thoroughbred Country and the Saratoga of the South.
Mount Vintage Golf Club is the jewel of this region just north of Augusta. “I hate to admit it Claudio, but you are absolutely right about this course – it is as good as it gets.” Tony Leodora’s words over a pint or two of Yuengling!
A couple of other must stops playing this region are:
The River Golf Club: True to its name, there is plenty of water on this course … with a number of marshland views. The downtown Augusta skyline looms just beyond the river.
Houndslake Country Club: Dramatic elevation changes challenge your shot making on the 27 holes that have hosted US Amateur and South Carolina Golf Association Amateur Championships.
Aiken Golf Club: est. 1912, renovated in 1999 the course is close to downtown amongst the rolling Carolina sand hills.
Mov’n on UP you might say, literally as we head towards The Upcountry, where orange and the Clemson Tigers rule. As stated by Director of Golf at Clemson’s Walker Course, “If it isn’t orange, it isn’t here.”
You can feel the buzz in the air on the streets of downtown Greenville. Trendy downtown restaurants and bars line the main street in the fastest growing city in South Carolina. TacoSushi delivers just what you might think with an amazing fusion of Mexican and Japanese fare. Enjoy together or on their own.
Should you have the need for speed the BMW Performance Center is close at hand where you too can put the peddle to the metal.
The Walker Course at Clemson University is one of the must stops in the area with maybe 9 signature holes on the back 9 with Hartwell Lake as a dominant distraction. You will love the par 3 – 17th with the Tiger Paw bunkers.
River Falls Plantation, a Gary Player Signature design on the north side of the city. Known for their lush rolling fairways and well maintained greens. The course is bordered by the South Tyger River with the Appalachian Mountains looming in the background.
Woodfin Ridge Golf Club: Framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains and using Jacob’s Creek plus strategically placed reservoirs the track has all the tools to challenge the best.
Cherokee Valley Golf Club: Designed by P.B. Dye who took full advantage of the natural surrounding and landscapes to create not only a magnificent golf experience, but one with views that will take your breath away!
Working our way back to Rock Hill just 20 minutes south of Charlotte, NC we are treated to a Donald Ross gem in Camden Country Club. Established in 1903 and always rated in the top in the State. The redesign of Pinehurst #2 was after this distinguished private masterpiece. Camden is accessible through Golf Packages of South Carolina and the M2M Golf Alliance program.
Carolina Lakes Golf Club: Might just have the most dramatic par 3 in the M2M program if not the State. The 16th is all carry to a wide but very narrow green protected by a 100 yard bunker staring back at you. Upscale and well maintained in a pristine setting of natural streams and ponds.
Tega Cay Golf Club: Nestled on the shores of Lake Wylie offers up 27 holes of championship golf with the 9th hole of the Grande Course voted as the “Favorite finishing hole in the Charlotte area.
Edgewater Golf Club: Carved out of rolling terrain and majestic pines this might just be the hidden gem of the south. Tough yet fun to play with plenty of elevation changes.
Rock Hill is an area in transition, blending the Deep South with a new south. This suburb of Charlotte, NC has shown great economic growth in recent years with new residential, shopping and dining areas adding to the pleasure of visiting golfers.
As we prepared to bid farewell to our special guest Tony Leodora, the US version of the Traveling Golfer, he stated, “This is the perfect and refreshing alternative to what most expect in South Carolina.”
For more information about Tony Leodora and the Traveling Golfer visit: http://travelinggolfervideo.com/
Golf Packages of South Carolina can customize your next golf vacation to the Mountains to Midlands. Contact Ricky Saucier at http://www.golfpackagesofsc.com