As a member of the South Carolina Golf Rating Panel, I am asked to vote every year for the best golf courses in the state. Some years we vote for the best public courses, some years for the best courses public and private combined. This year, we have been asked to vote for the 10 best “classic” courses in the state and for the 30 best “modern” courses, regardless of whether they are public or private. Results of the voting will be announced publicly coincident with the Panel’s annual meeting this spring.
Given the large number of excellent golf courses in the state, it is a difficult task but one I take seriously because South Carolina is my second state of residence. (I am a resident of Connecticut most of the year.) I also believe the panel’s judgment on best courses can be helpful to visiting golfers as well as for those retirees looking for a private club to join. I have played a majority of the courses in the state thanks to both my retirement gig as a golf community reviewer but also as a member of the panel. Many of those I haven’t played in the last few years left quite an impression; I have no problem comparing them fairly with those I have played more recently.
I played my number one rated “classic” course five years ago. The Chanticleer course in Greenville is part of a two-course membership inside the limits of one of the most popular cities in the Southeast. I rated its Greenville Country Club companion, the Riverside course, renovated a dozen years ago to “feel” like a design by Seth Raynor, #7 among the classic courses. But Chanticleer, designed by Robert Trent Jones the Elder, and renovated in the early aughts by his son, Rees, is so sleek, challenging and fun that I rated it just ahead of the heralded Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken and the famed Sea Pines Harbour Town course. The rest of my Top 10 include Camden Country Club (#4), The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach (#5), Florence Country Club (#6), the Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach (#8), Orangeburg Country Club (#9) and the Wild Dunes Resort Links Course in Isle of Palms (#10).
In the coming days, I will post in this space my choices for best modern courses in South Carolina.