CHARLESTON, SC – The city of Charleston is among the culinary capitols of the world, and for golfers looking to take off some of those extra pounds, the area serves up a stunning setting mere minutes away from downtown.
Located just over the amazing Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in beautiful Mount Pleasant, the Patriots Points Links on Charleston Harbor (www.patriotspointlinks.com), features not only a five-star track, but also an appetizing appeal for history lovers.
The moment you exit the bridge to head toward the course, you enter Patriots Point and are quickly greeted with a massive submarine partially submerged in a grassy park-like setting, and then immediately come upon the famed USS YORKTOWN aircraft carrier sitting majestically in the water.
Next thing you know, the golf grounds greet you and before you can get your clubs out of the car and onto the practice range, you are looking out on the harbor at famed Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired.
Get used to the iconic view since it will basically be with you throughout your round, often enhanced by boats of all sizes sailing about and even massive cruise ships dotting the horizon, all the while with the towering bridge serving as your reference point.
It’s truly a sight to see, and perhaps for the first time ever we would have actually welcomed some waiting on the tee box to soak up the sight, but that never happened as we moved right along with our round without interruption.
And what a round it was as the generally flat 6,000 to 7000-yard layout featured lots of water and sand befitting its “Low Country” location that is basically at sea-level, delivering a challenging yet enjoyable and playable afternoon with perfect early May weather in the 80s with mild ocean breezes.
But that’s only a sampling of golf in the Palmetto State, since those staying in the uber-charming Charleston, and why wouldn’t you, can easily drive to a few of the top golfing destinations in America.
We drove the short half-hour to nearby Kiawah Island, home of the legendary Ocean Course where the famous “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup was held in 1991, and where the 2021 PGA Championship will be staged.
And no visit to Kiawah would be complete without a walk-through of renowned Sanctuary Hotel, where we parked in warmth, strolled through the hotel to the ocean, and were met with a whipping wind and shockingly different weather just a few hundred yards from where we had just parked.
That served as an instant lesson in the degree of difficulty between oceanfront holes versus even slightly inland holes, and what the Ryder Cup players dealt with back in the day and what the world’s best players will face in a few years at The PGA, which is why of course Kiawah is one of the most dramatic tournament settings in golf.
For those wanting to go a little further, two traditional golfing playgrounds are easy drives, with Myrtle Beach only two hours north and Hilton Head just 2½ hours south.
So New Englanders seeking golf with short flights under two hours, the South Carolina coast offers a world-class menu for a full-course fix.