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10 Upstate golf courses in S.C. top 50

Hospitality and Tourism
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A panel of 125 golf enthusiasts from across South Carolina have selected the top 50 golf courses, both public and private, in the state.

The Greenville Country Club’s Chanticleer Course was the highest rated course in the Upstate, coming in at No. 5 overall. In all, the region had 10 courses selected to the list selected by the S.C. Golf Ratings Panel. The ratings were unveiled during the group’s spring meeting Saturday and Sunday at Isle of Palms.

Top golf courses in the Upstate

All top 10 course in the Upstate are private courses.

  • 1. Greenville Country Club – Chanticleer Course.
  • 2. Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards, Sunset.
  • 3. Musgrove Mill Golf Club, Clinton.
  • 4. The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Sunset.
  • 5. Cliffs at Mountain Park, Travelers Rest.
  • 6. Country Club of Spartanburg.
  • 7. Thornblade Club, Greer.
  • 8. Cliffs at Glassy.
  • 9. Cliffs at Keowee Falls, Salem.
  • 10. Greenville Country Club – Riverside Course.

SOURCE: S.C. Golf Course Ratings Panel.

“As always, there are so many outstanding golf courses in South Carolina that you’re really splitting hairs,” said Michael Whitaker, the association's executive director, in a statement.

For the third consecutive year, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Ocean Course was selected as the top golf course in the state by the panel. The Ocean Course was the site of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship. The course, designed by Pete Dye, will host the 2021 PGA Championship.

The Chanticleer Course at the Greenville Country Club rounded out the top 5 in the state, dropping one spot from No. 4 in 2014. According to the country club’s website, the course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and is a par 72 course with a slope of 155 and course rating of 75. Its companion Riverside Course was ranked No. 46 in the state.

The Cliffs resorts had four of its seven courses make the top 50 in the state led by No. 18 Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards, which is a par 71 course designed by Tom Fazio. No. 28 Cliffs at Mountain Park, No. 40 Cliffs at Glassy and No. 45 Cliffs at Keowee Falls rounded out the resort’s entries on the list.

The Musgrove Mill Golf Club in Clinton was No. 23 on the state list. The Reserve at Lake Keowee was No. 27 and the Country Club of Spartanburg came in at No. 30 overall. The Thornblade Club in Greer was No. 37 overall on the statewide list.

Harbour Town — site of the PGA Tour's REC Heritage, which reopened last fall — climbed from fifth to second in the 2016 balloting. Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville remained third, and May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff slipped two spots to fourth.

Rounding out the top 10 are No. 6 Yeamans Hall Club in Hanahan, No. 7 Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, No. 8 Secession Golf Club in Beaufort, No. 9 Long Cove Club at Hilton Head Island and No. 10 Caledonia Golf and Fish Club at Pawleys Island. Caledonia is the only newcomer to the top 10, replacing Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken.

“With new members joining the panel and a lot of courses recently completing renovations and upgrades, you’re going to have fluctuations on the list,” Whitaker said. “There are so many good ones that a lot of quality golf courses don’t make the top 50.”

According to the ratings panel, the ratings used to determine the top 50 courses included:

  • Routing. How the course “flows” from hole to hole and its blending with the topography.
  • Variety. The degree the course “demands a full range of shot requirements.”
  • Strategy. The design features and how they test course management.
  • Equity. The capacity of the course to both reward good shots and punish bad ones.
  • Memorability. The “distinctiveness” of the course.
  • Aesthetics. The degree the scenery and surroundings “lend to the enjoyment.”
  • Experience. How all elements of the course are incorporated.

SOURCE: S.C. Golf Course Ratings Panel.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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