Editor’s note: This column originally published in The Charlotte Observer on May 3, 2007.
He was golf’s ultimate minor-leaguer, a 31-year-old who had knocked around the bushes on and off for 14 years, circuits like the TearDrop Tour, Hooters Tour and Tarheel Tour, where a bunch of guys put up entry fees and play for it and where they don’t need gallery ropes.
The first course ever built on Hilton Head Island, the George Cobb-designed Ocean Course at Sea Pines Resort opened in 1962, initiating the rapid expansion of golf in the Lowcountry.
Yet in recent years, as the crowded golf scene continued growing, the Ocean Course fell into the shadows, specifically those of its neighbors, the Pete Dye-designed Harbour Town Golf Links and Heron Point.
The list of North and South Carolina courses that I’ve played might not be as extensive as some of my colleagues’. But it doesn’t lack variety.
From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Charleston shore, I’ve been fortunate enough to play at multiple courses throughout both states, including some that are considered the best in their respective regions.
However, there are a few that stand out. These are my five favorites courses that I’ve played to date, listed in no particular order.
When Gregg Karlberg bought his home in North Augusta’s Mount Vintage community in 2008, the “Class A conditions” at Mount Vintage Golf Club helped influence his decision.
Located about 17 miles north of Augusta National Golf Club, Mount Vintage’s three distinct nines – the Chester, Independent and Vintage – resemble the prestigious course just across the South Carolina state line, with a parkland layout and stacked-stone bridges.
Yet, like many courses, Mount Vintage struggled during the 2008 recession.