At Charwood Country Club, three nine-hole courses challenge swinging skills amidst meticulously manicured greens and voluptuous treescapes. Today's Groupon covers 18 holes ripe with opportunity for victorious strokes and bets against the wind. As Charwood's rolling courses flaunt their nature-furnished glory, players can spit some swagger by from their supplied golf cart, a comfort that saves both time and strength. Before and after any round, guests can always take detour to the club's grub haven, LC's Grille, for a freshly-crafted breakfast, lunch, or inspired speech from the eatery's consoling chef.
Sculpted into 160 acres of rolling hills and forests of oak, pine, and dogwood, Oak Hills Golf Club provides a scenic challenge for golfers skilled and novice. The course designed by Steve Melnyk and Davis Love III features manicured Tifway 419 bermuda-grass fairways and elevated, undulating greens. Players might want to keep a still-life painter in the bag for when they reach the elevated tee box on the par 5 hole 18, where a viewing of nine different holes manifests itself in a verdant panorama of course and countryside. The Oak Hills staff of veteran PGA professionals amends swings during private lessons for adults and youths.
Designed by P.B. Dye—the son of renowned course designed Pete Dye—Northwoods Golf Club’s 18-hole course winds through 6,800 yards of stately arbors and lush South Carolina greenery. The picturesque par 72 challenges golfers with fairways designed with towering tree-lines, treacherous sandtraps, and intervening waterways filled with legions of errant golf balls and one ethereal bocce ball. Divot-tearing twosomes can conquer the emerald frontier astride a golf cart instead of depending on caddy piggybacks. The course capitalizes on the warm Columbia climate by remaining open 365 days a year, and players should call ahead to schedule a tee time.
Measuring 6,074 yards from the tips, the course at The Club at Rawls Creek doesn't demand extreme distance off of the tee to score well—but it will challenge golfers' short game and putting skills. Installed in 2006, the course's mini-verde Bermuda grass greens create an ultra-fast surface, requiring a touch more delicate than a headcover made from a pink feather boa. The layout also features numerous par-threes with elevated tees, where tee shots drop as much as 60 feet to reach the flagstick.
After their round draws to a close, golfers can refuel at the Creekside Grille. There, four flat-screen TVs broadcast the day's sporting events, and porch seating lets guests look out onto the grounds and discover constellations from the divots in the grass.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,074 yards from the tips * Four tee options
With certifications in golf instruction and club fitting and a degree from the Golf Academy of America, assistant pro Adam Sanford fosters smooth swings and improved skills in each club-toting trainee. Adam imparts hard-won golf wisdom at the Club's comprehensive practice facility, which features areas to hone full swings, putts, chips, and scissor-kick approaches. The 45–60 minute lesson helps iron out on-course kinks by giving special attention to short-game fundamentals, the most critical facet to holistic golf improvement and overcoming the taunts from rival fans sitting in the sand-bunker bleachers.
As golfers stand over teed-up golf balls, staring down the fairway of Indian Trail Golf Course’s 370-yard 14th hole—the course signature—they may be perplexed by its ranking as the round’s most difficult hole. Though the scorecard reads “short par 4,” the hole packs a good deal of hardship into its diminutive stature. Golfers must aim for the top of the fairway hill off the tee, while steering clear of the boulder on the right side and the large pond just beyond. Players are forgiven for going the conservative route with a long iron off the tee, as opposed to risking the driver or a retrofitted t-shirt cannon. If they leave themselves a decent lie on the approach, a two-tiered green awaits just over the water, making three-putts an all-too-common occurrence.
While not every hole features boulders, uphill fairways, and the ever-present threat of boogeyman attacks, the course is characterized by the ubiquitous threat of hazards. In all, nine ponds and more than 40 bunkers haunt players along the 6,272 yards of Bermuda-covered terrain, lending an air of hostility to the otherwise pristine surroundings.
Course at a Glance:
With the butt of a 12-gauge shotgun pressed against his shoulder and his eyes searching the skies for game, Bobby Kilgus's solitary hunting expedition was interrupted by something of an epiphany: suddenly, he had the impulse to transform his family farmland into a golf course. Though the instinct may have been dismissed by most people of his ilk—he had only played golf once in his life—Bobby and his wife set to work, researching the ins-and-outs of course design and enlisting the help of construction company owners to clear and sculpt the rugged earth. By 2003—a mere four years after he first saw visions of splendid fairways dancing atop the barrel of his shotgun—the Kilguses opened a 9-hole course, only to see it grow it into a full 18-hole course in 2007, hastened by tireless work and a steady diet of pureed fairway smoothies.
Eight years of toil culminated in a 5,822-yard, par 72 course that embodies down-home charm and challenging course play. With water in play on six holes, Bobby's grassy brainchild presents players with a number of tricky shots, including a 131-yard, blind tee shot into a completely hidden green at the par 3 13th hole, where it can be said that players—not unlike the course's architect—must take a leap of faith.
Course at a Glance: