South Carolina, Off Course
From mountains to shore, great golf waits to be discovered. To explore further visit Discover South Carolina.
Getting behind the wheel for a golf trip can be a real game changer--driving lets you venture off at your own pace with a sense of freedom and discovery. Whether you want to check off a course on your bucket list (say, Kiawah’s Ocean Course or Hilton Head’s Harbourtown) or find a hidden gem, South Carolina offers a diverse playlist, ranging from picturesque mountain layouts to links along sugar-white dunes--all within a few hour’s drive. Here are some highlights just waiting for you to discover.
Cherokee Valley's 15th hole
Mountain golf might not be top of mind when planning a South Carolina golf vacation, but it should be. Upstate’s Edgewater Golf Course, about an hour from Columbia in the quiet hamlet of Lancaster, feels worlds away. This hilly jewel of a course, which has been quietly moving up the best-in-state rankings, runs through lush pine forests with spectacular views and dramatic elevation changes, making it among the most challenging in the region. Pair a day or overnight visit to Edgewater with an outing on adjacent Fishing Creek Lake, angling for large-mouth bass or just quietly exploring the hidden coves along the 61 miles of lakeshore by kayak or canoe.
Further Upstate, Cherokee Valley Golf Club in Travelers Rest beckons with its 18-hole masterpiece designed by P.B. Dye. The views are as top notch as the golf, with open vistas that highlight the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The eighth hole’s elevated tee, with its 70-foot drop, yields a panoramic view of Glassy Mountain and its famous chapel. With Cherokee’s plum location just a quick drive from Greenville, there’s a lot to discover off course--take a scenic ramble through downtown’s Falls Park with its public gardens, bistros and iconic pedestrian bridge or check out Greenville’s exciting craft beer scene with more than 20 breweries on tap. Let your post-round adventure begin at Swamp Rabbit Brewery, right in Travelers Rest.
Meander the Midlands
Hickory Knob's 11th hole
As the only resort state park in South Carolina, Hickory Knob offers a range of activities and lodging options, including campsites, all within minutes of its beautiful 18-hole championship golf course. (It’s an easy drive from Upstate or the coast, making Hickory Knob a perfect midpoint for a stopover.) The course plays through the gently rolling hills of the Midlands skirting the shoreline of Lake Thurmond. With its combination of value, challenging golf and picturesque scenery, Hickory Knob has everything you want in a golf course and more. After your round, relax by the park’s pool, go skeet shooting, or take to Hickory Knob’s hiking and birding trails. Greenwood, a half hour away, is home to Inn on the Square, a full-service boutique hotel to call home while you discover the area’s other treasures. For history buffs, Ninety Six National Historic Site is where one of the first land battles of the Revolutionary War unfolded. And no trip to South Carolina would be complete without sampling its famous barbecue: Fat Daddy’s in Greenwood is a great place to start.
Cruise the Coast
If you’re more the beachy sort, there’s still plenty to discover along the coast, where literally hundreds of courses beckon, from Hilton Head Island to Kiawah to Myrtle Beach.
In a town known for its star-studded courses, Myrtle Beach continues to surprise and delight. Much attention has been given to stellar courses such as Caledonia (a Golf Digest Top 100 Public Course) -- while others fly under the radar. For a special treat, look no further than Prestwick Country Club, an immaculately conditioned course with lightning-fast greens and a Scottish accent, designed by P.B and Peter Dye. You’ll need to discover your inner tour player to master this very tough test of golf that purists consider a hidden gem along the Strand.
For an equally surprising off-course challenge, tackle the Horry County Bike & Run Park. This super-fast 7-mile flowing trail right was made for mountain bikes but hikers and walkers are welcome too. Wedged between the pines and the Intracoastal minutes from the beach, it twists and turns across 72 acres and has surprising elevation that will leave you wondering if you’re still in Myrtle Beach.
At the opposite end of the coast, near South Carolina’s southern border, lies the oldest, most prestigious golf community of Sea Pines, which includes the world-class Harbour Town Golf Links. This Hilton Head oasis is the perfect spot to start or end your road trip--in luxurious comfort. The classic resort brims with new discoveries, including the award-winning Atlantic Dunes golf course by Davis Love III. The PGA champion led a major revamp of the former Ocean Course, punching up the dunes to highlight the gorgeous seaside setting. After your round, drink in all the beauty of the Lowcountry setting at the stunning new Frasers restaurant in the elegant Plantation Clubhouse.