Golf courses

Rankings published for the best golf courses in South Carolina


Carlos Ortiz walks with his caddy Eduardo Castillo on the 18th fairway during the final round of the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament on June 21, 2020 in Hilton Head Island.


South Carolina is blessed with an embarrassment of golf course riches, a fact made evident when examining an organization’s playing opportunity rankings in the state.

From the muscular Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort to the Aiken Golf Club that measures less than 5,800 yards and everything in between, the Palmetto State offers an assortment of courses to whet the appetite of any golfer.

the South Carolina Golf Course Rating Panel Annual Survey once again highlights the obvious in this year’s ranking of the best classic courses, designed before 1980, and modern layouts, those designed since 1980.

The Ocean Course, home to high profile events ranging from the 1991 Ryder Cup to the PGA Championships in 2012 and 2021, takes its usual place at the top of the modern category. Harbor Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, which hosts the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage each April, headlines the classics.

And these only scratch the surface.

“There are so many great golf courses in the state,” Aiken GC owner Jim McNair Jr. said. “There’s something for everyone. We have something like 37 acres of grass; I imagine a course like the Dunes (Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach) has 100 acres or more.

McNair’s course, located a short distance from the Aiken business district, ranks seventh in the classic category and is dripping with history. Over 100 years old, the club was among the first to have women’s tees and hosted the Women’s Invitational Tournament (1937-39) which featured stars such as Babe Zaharias and Patty Berg.

“We’re short by today’s standards, but we have members who say it’s too hard because of the tips,” McNair said. “The green complexes are amazing. The course focuses on strategy, accuracy and position off the tee.

These are among the qualities the assessment board looks for and finds all over the state.

The courses represented in this year’s ranking range from Aiken’s Palmetto Golf Club, which dates back to 1892; the Lowcountry gems of Seth Raynor; Camden Country Club with the influence of Donald Ross and the beauties of Robert Trent Jones among the classics. Modern layouts include the work of, among others, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Mike Strantz.

“Grading courses is really a challenge,” said Michael Whitaker, the association’s executive director. “As always, there are so many exceptional golf courses in South Carolina that you’re really splitting your hair in two choosing one over the other.”

The top five in the Classic category include Harbor Town, Yeamans Hall in Hanahan, Palmetto GC, the Dunes Golf and Beach Club and the Chanticleer course in Greenville CC. Joining the Ocean Course at the top of the modern list are the Secession Club (Beaufort), Congaree GC (Ridgeland), May River GC (Palmetto Bluff) and Sage Valley GC (Graniteville).

“To be included on a roster with some of these exclusive private clubs is quite an honour,” McNair said. “That’s the beauty of the game. Courses like ours and the Ocean Course are very different and yet very challenging.

The SC Golf Course Ratings Committee is made up of 125 golf enthusiasts who represent a wide range of professions, handicaps and backgrounds. The group’s goal is to promote excellence in the design and operation of the state’s golf courses through competitive grading, education and public awareness. Criteria used in judging include routing, variety, strategy, fairness, memorability, aesthetics, and experience. A panelist must have played the course to vote for it.

2021 South Carolina Golf Panel Rankings

Classic Classes

(Designed before 1980)

1. Harbor Town Golf Links

2. Club Yeaman’s Hall

3. Palmetto Golf Club

4. Dunes Golf and Beach Club

5. Greenville CC Chanticleer Course

6. Charleston DC

7. Aiken Golf Club

8.Camden CC

9. Greenville CC Riverside Course

10. Surf Golf and Beach Club

11. Orangeburg CC

12. Florence CC

13. CC or Spartanburg

14. Myrtle Beach National King North Course

15. Columbia CC

16. Palmetto Dunes Resort RT Jones Course

17. Course Palmetto Dunes Resort George Fazio

18. Charleston Municipal Golf Course

19. Furman Golf Club

20. Pine Lakes CC

Modern courses

(Designed since 1980)

1. Kiawah Island Resort Ocean Course

2. CG Secession

3. Congaree GC

4. May River GC

5. Sage Valley GC

6. Cherokee Plantation

7. Cassic Course Kiawah Island Club

8. Club Long Cove

9 Chechessee Creek Club

10. Kiawah Island Club River Course

11. Bull’s Bay Club

12. Caledonia Golf and Fish Club

13. Colleton River Plantation Dyeing Class

14. Old Tabby Links

15. Keowee Vineyard Cliffs

16. Colleton River Plantation Nicklaus Trail

17. Cliffs at Mountain Park.

18. Musgrove Mill GC

19. The GC at Briar’s Creek

20. Haig Point Club

21. Barefoot Resort Dye Lessons

22. Wachesaw Plantation Club

23. Belfair GC West Course

24. Reserve at Lake Keowee

25. Cliffs at Glassy

26. Tidewater GC and Plantation

27. Berkeley Hall North Course

28. Belfair GC East Course

29. True Blue Plantation

30. Great Dunes Resort Club

31. Dataw Island Cotton Dyke Course

32. Wild Dunes Resort Links Course

33. The Thornblade Club

34. Prestwick CC

35. Kiawah Island Resort Osprey Lessons

36. Cliffs at Keowee Falls

37. Club DeBordieu

38. Callawassie Island Club

T39. Oldfield

T39. Kiawah Island Resort Course Cougar Point

41. Reserve Club at Pawleys Island

41. Sea Pines Resort Atlantic Dunes Course

43. Daniel Island Club Beresford Creek Course

44. Kiawah Island Resort Turtle Point Course

45. Grand Dunes Members Club

46. ​​Cliffs at Keowee Springs

47. Seabrook Island Club Ocean Wind Course

48. Berkeley Hall South Course

49. Cliff Valley Route

50. Course of Daniel Island Club Ralston Creek.