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Recently, GOLF Magazine released a list of their picks for the 2022-2023 “Top 100 Courses in the U.S.” Five of these golf courses were in South Carolina.Selected first out of the courses chosen from the Palmetto State was the Kiawah Island (Ocean) course, which was ranked 32nd.Designed by Pete Dye an...
Recently, GOLF Magazine released a list of their picks for the 2022-2023 “Top 100 Courses in the U.S.” Five of these golf courses were in South Carolina.
Selected first out of the courses chosen from the Palmetto State was the Kiawah Island (Ocean) course, which was ranked 32nd.
Designed by Pete Dye and built in 1991, The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island was described as “one of the South’s most memorable playing experiences,” by the magazine.
Last year, the 2021 PGA Championship was held at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Next on the list of South Carolina courses and ranked in 44th place was Yeamans Hall in Hanahan. Designed by Seth Raynor and built in 1925, this course can be found in Berkeley County. This course combined “classic Seth Raynor design with coastal South Carolina topography.” Over the decades, the course began to fade, but a two decade-long renovation based on Raynor’s original property maps, which were discovered in the clubhouse attic, returned the course to its original beauty, GOLF magazine states.
Ranked 63rd, Harbour Town Golf Links jumped 10 spaces from its ranking last year. This Hilton Head Island golf course was built in 1969 and was designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. This course sits at the island’s south end and has been the yearly venture for the RBC Heritage tournament each spring. “Even 50+ years after the course opened, Harbour Town’s exemplar holes remain as compelling and interesting as anything modern architecture has to offer,” described the magazine.
This course is known not for its length but rather for its need for accuracy and “precise iron play” to help golfers get their shots around the live oak and pine trees scattered around the course.
In 85th place, the Congaree Golf Club, found in Ridgeland, made the list. This newer course was designed by Tom Fazio and was built in 2017. Various tournaments take place at Congaree and, regardless of its younger age, has garnered much attention for its beauty, design and playability by golfers.
Lastly, in 99th place, Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken made GOLF magazine’s list. This course is the oldest out of the South Carolina golf courses on this list and one of the oldest in the magazine’s pick of 100. Founded in 1892 by Thomas Hitchcock, Palmetto Golf Club has several contending holes in which to call your favorite.
“Each green is so good, and no surprise why: Alister MacKenzie lent a hand to them when he was working in neighboring Augusta,” wrote GOLF magazine.
This story was originally published November 15, 2022 8:00 AM.
You can play Pebble Beach... for a price.There are some things that money can’t buy, like, for instance, a tee time at Augusta. But access to other courses on GOLF’s latest Top 100 Courses in the U.S. list is a simple matter of economics. Pay, and you can play. Here are the seven courses that charge ...
You can play Pebble Beach... for a price.
There are some things that money can’t buy, like, for instance, a tee time at Augusta. But access to other courses on GOLF’s latest Top 100 Courses in the U.S. list is a simple matter of economics. Pay, and you can play. Here are the seven courses that charge the most (note: all prices are peak-season rates).
Shadow Creek, Las Vegas, Nev.U.S. Top 100 rank: 76$1,000
Here in the land of slot machines and sleight-of-hand artists, lots of money can change possession quickly. At this Tom Fazio-designed Shangri-La, $1,000 transfers from your wallet to the pro shop in exchange for passage to the first tee. That doesn’t cover your caddie or your room at an MGM property, where you must stay to book a time.
TPC Sawgrass, Stadium Course, Ponte Vedra, Fla.U.S. Top 100 rank: 50$840
The PGA Tour has been spending boatloads on increased purses and player incentives. With dynamic pricing at its flagship TPC, the folks in Ponte Vedra stand to make some of that back. Just this week, on GolfNow, a foursome at Sawgrass was fetching $840 per head. Caddie services sold separately.
Kiawah Island Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, S.C.U.S. Top 100 rank: 32$600
When you book a time at the famous host site of the War by the Shore, the Ryder Cup that changed it all, you might feel a battle brewing between your inner golfer and your inner accountant. We recommend that you live a little and let the inner golfer win. And if you stay on property, the rate drops for $463.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.U.S. Top 100 rank: 11$595
In 2012, a seaside manse behind the 10th green that once belonged to Gene Hackman went on the market for $79 million. For that kind of scratch, you could play 132,773 rounds at the country’s most fabled public course.
Whistling Straits, Straits Course, Haven, Wis.U.S. Top 100 rank: 54$485
The late Herb Kohler of Kohler faucet-making fame was the driving force behind this exhilarating Pete Dye course along Lake Michigan. Compared to the price of a bathroom remodel, golf here comes relatively cheap.
Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.U.S. Top 100 rank: 12$470
Already a host of more big-time tournaments than we can tick off here, this Donald Ross masterpiece has been chosen as a U.S. Open anchor site, meaning it will stage multiple iterations of the national championship in the years ahead. Under a recent policy change, you must stay at the resort to play No. 2, so greens fees are often bundled into stay-and-play packages (the peak is $390), although a rack rate would be $470.
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, S.C.U.S. Top 100 rank: 63$450
Widely recognized for the red-and-white lighthouse behind its 18th green, this artful course plays host to the RBC Classic. Like the Tour pros who compete here, you’re required to take a caddie. Ok, a forecaddie. The resort rate is $420 but it can go up to $450 if you aren’t staying on property.
Follow winding, oak-shaded roads 25 miles southwest of downtown Charleston's cobblestone streets and celebrated restaurant scene, and you'll find yourself on Kiawah Island. Carved by the Kiawah River on one side and fronting the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the barrier ...
Follow winding, oak-shaded roads 25 miles southwest of downtown Charleston's cobblestone streets and celebrated restaurant scene, and you'll find yourself on Kiawah Island. Carved by the Kiawah River on one side and fronting the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the barrier island is a true escape. Here, nature reigns supreme: ten miles of beaches roll out along the Atlantic; cicadas form their own sort of soundtrack; and lights-out is often determined by the sea turtles' nesting season. Even so, there's plenty to do for travelers who like their time in nature punctuated with good food, luxurious creature comforts, and a frozen drink in hand. Here are seven things to do in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
For access to all of Kiawah's amenities, from bike rentals to pools, you'll have to stay on the island. For an experience that's luxurious but unpretentious, book a room at The Sanctuary, an oceanfront hotel known for its five-star service and elevated onsite dining. For families who want a little room to spread out (or a kitchen), villa and home rentals are a smart choice; reserve through the resort directly, or book through a site like VRBO or Airbnb.
On the west end of the island, Beachwalker Park is Kiawah's only public beach access feels like a hidden gem, thanks to its wide, unspoiled expanses of sand. It offers the best of both worlds too: in addition to the ocean frontage, you can also score views of the Kiawah River here.
Five state-of-the-art golf courses are open to the public. For avid fans of the sport, the Ocean Course alone makes Kiawah worth the trip. Host to two PGA Championships, the 18-hole course is not for the faint of heart. Raised above the dunes to capitalize on the expansive shore views, golfers are also subjected to ocean breezes (which don't exactly make for an easy or predictable trip around the green). Try Cougar Point for marsh views and a slightly less technical experience.
One of the best ways to explore the island is to leave the car in park and take a beach cruiser for a spin (you can reserve them through the resort or bring your own). Between 30 miles of paved trails and 10 miles of hard-packed beach, there's no shortage of routes to explore. Ask for directions to the Marsh View Tower, an observation deck primed for birdwatching and soaking in the marsh and river scenery.
The naturalists here will school you in many of the species who call the island home, from bobcats and white-tailed deer to loggerhead sea turtles and American alligators. Sign up for a guided tour, like "Back Island Birding", "Marsh Kayaking," or "Ocean Seining and Beach Combing," or ask for their recommendations for the best nature-spotting places in the area.
Built around a lush lawn, Freshfields Village has plenty of restaurants and shops to explore, plus a boutique stay, the Andell Inn. Pick up a beach read at Indigo Books; snag treats for your four-legged friends at Dolitte's; and gear up for island adventures SeaCoast Sports and Outfitters. Start the morning with coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Java Java; settle in for grilled cheese and a milkshake at retro Vincent's Drugstore & Soda Fountain; or cap off the day with house-made frosé from newly opened The Co-Op. Check their calendar for seasonal events, like summertime's "Music on the Green" concert series and farmer's market.
Make the short drive to neighboring Seabrook Island for a taste of the area's salty maritime culture. Snag a umbrella-shaded table on the upper deck at Salty Dog Café for fresh catch, a cold beer, and riverfront views of the boats coming and going from the marina.
Alanna Elder (Climate Central) contributed data reportingAs the Charleston Municipal golf course's holes along the Stono River began flooding with high tides, Troy Miller, the course’s architect, could see something had to change. The turf was almost always wet enough to make for soggy swings, at best, and awash in seawater at worst.“When we had high tides, they had to close the golf holes because there was actually standing water across those holes and they were impassable,” Miller said.In 201...
Alanna Elder (Climate Central) contributed data reporting
As the Charleston Municipal golf course's holes along the Stono River began flooding with high tides, Troy Miller, the course’s architect, could see something had to change. The turf was almost always wet enough to make for soggy swings, at best, and awash in seawater at worst.
“When we had high tides, they had to close the golf holes because there was actually standing water across those holes and they were impassable,” Miller said.
In 2018, the back nine was unplayable for more than half of July. There was no holding back the sea or stopping the thunderstorms, so course managers decided to give the water somewhere to go instead. They dug ponds for stormwater to drain into and used earth excavated from those ponds to raise holes that sidle up to the river.
“The renovation made the biggest difference in the world,” said Billy Wise, who has been golfing there since he was a kid and still tries to go three times a week—a habit made harder when the course started closing several times a month for flooding. “It’s a gem now. People can’t wait to get in and play this course.”
Links golf courses, designed to enjoy seaside views, undulating terrain over the dunes, and a fine texture and tight turf from the sandy soil and indigenous grasses along coastal South Carolina, face grim prospects with rising sea levels, more intense rainstorms, and slower moving hurricanes.
As pollution levels in the atmosphere continue to increase and seas rise and rainfall intensifies, the renovations to Charleston Municipal offer a case study in how to buy precious decades in protecting a vulnerable coastal golf course from the effects of climate change.
A Climate Central analysis combining elevation data with the latest sea level rise projections shows parts of some courses in Charleston are already vulnerable to yearly coastal flooding, with those vulnerable areas projected to expand rapidly through 2050. The implications reach major tourism industries for coastal communities, as well as quality of life and components of golfing history. Course managers have faced the choice to adapt, or suffer.
“In the Lowcountry, golf courses have an issue and that’s that part of what we like with our golf courses is we like them to be near marshes and we like them to have these beautiful kinds of vistas around them,” said Norman S. Levine, professor of geology and environmental geosciences at the College of Charleston. “Sea level rise will affect them and they’ll have to look at how their course is designed in order to make sure that they can stay—pardon the pun—above water.”
Problems ahead for those courses, Levine said, could include coastal erosion, hurricanes, more frequent and stronger storms, and rising tides.
“We’re already seeing these changes,” he said. The Santee Cooper GIS Laboratory and Lowcountry Hazards Center, which Levine directs, has tracked flooding increasing from 20 or 25 days a year to 60 to 89 days a year.
“That’s flooding that may be on roads, it’s flooding that’s on the edges of places, and that’s going to continue,” Levine said. The November day of his interview, he said, was an example: an extremely high tide met with a storm system that pushed water higher.
“We have more and more of these days where we’re looking at full marshes, and when you have a full marsh, that means that saltwater wedges further in,” he said. By what timeline, and how bad it’ll be this season, depends on the storm season itself, and whether these effects continue to accelerate, threatening to flood communities and businesses.
“Charleston is one of the world’s eight most vulnerable cities or regions to sea level rise and so that’s going to affect our courses in this area,” Levine said. “We are the ‘Lowcountry’ for a reason.”
GOLFING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY
Sea level projections for Patriots Point Links show spots of occasional flood risk in the next decade, and more frequent flooding by 2050. Managers there agree flooding has not been a problem. Rising tides have brought a little water onto the 18th hole’s rough, but don’t seem to have substantially affected the course, Brad Parker, general manager for Patriot Point Links, said via email. Future renovations could raise that area and the island green on the 17th hole.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort includes 10 holes on sand dunes, providing golfers there with among the most seaside holes of any course in the Northern Hemisphere. That provides for spectacular PGA Championships, the most recent in 2021. Tourists travel from all over the world to test themselves on the ocean course, considered one of the most difficult in North America. That exposure means the course has historically been hammered by storms, and repeatedly rebuilt.
After significant flooding in three consecutive years, Kiawah Island published a report in 2018 on the problems building as flooding worsens, and strategies to adapt. The report details how in early 2017 sand berms and dunes already shrunk by Hurricane Matthew were cut into again by Tropical Storm Irma.
Areas of the golf course reached what the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management considered “emergency condition.” Other areas were deemed insufficiently setback from the high-tide line.
The town replenished dunes along those areas—pouring more sand there to slow erosion. (An evaluation of the roads and infrastructure mentioned roads could be modified to serve as auxiliary water storage and drainage basins; KICA and the Resort might even consider allowing parts of the golf course to serve that function, the report added: “There will be no golf on the island anyway until the excess water is drained and the island is back to normal operation.”)
Some portions of the course are already at chronic flood risk, expected to be inundated at least once a year on average. As seas continue to rise, the risks will swell and by 2100, unless emissions of heat-trapping emissions are reined in, most of the course's interior is expected to be at risk of chronic flooding.
Wild Dunes was built on the dunes for which it is named, but next to marsh that will impinge on the edges, Levine said. Climate Central's analysis shows coastal flood risks expanded beyond the riverfront to threaten beachfront and interior holes during the coming decades. Wild Dunes and Kiawah Island course representatives declined to comment for this story.
“[In the] ’80s and ’90s, it started getting worse where we get a king tide or if we had a storm, you shut the course down for a week at least, and that translates into lost money,” Wise, the local golfer, said.
Wise learned to game not just the course, but the weather. He watched for big thunderstorms that could close the back nine on the municipal course; he could tell, just driving in, whether the course was going to be underwater based on how dry the fairway on the ninth hole looked.
Then the course, which was built in 1929, was renovated with rising tides and stormwater runoff in mind. Some places were lifted 18 inches and others up to 7 feet and the reshaped course opened in 2020.
WET COURSES ARE LESS FUN
Fast and firm condition of golf course fairways and greens are “what makes golf fun,” Miller said, and that’s what they’re seeing more of now at the municipal course.
“Now the ball does bounce and roll and it allows you to use the contours of the ground and it just creates a better playing condition and a better surface for players...which has made more people want to play the course,” Miller said.
When Hurricane Ian dropped 8 inches of rain on the golf course, the course’s new stormwater basins even helped to drain surrounding neighborhoods and homes, then quickly dried. The course was open again in a day.
“It operated exactly how we had engineered it to and just shows the opportunity to use these green spaces to combat flooding in other parts of the city,” Miller said.
He came out to watch how the course handled an unusually high tide on a sunny day last October when an 8.47-foot tide, the fifth highest ever, came in. The water rolled up to but then back from the fairway without saltwater encroaching, which can kill grass. The course never needed to close.
“Which was just a huge rewarding experience to be able to see that what you are doing has been done correctly and understanding that we are building for the future and trying to create the integrity of this golf course for generations to come,” he said.
And those generations could be looking at protecting against not just 8.5- but 9.5- or even 10-foot tides.
“It’s not going to get any cheaper to do this work and addressing it today will pay in the short term and certainly in the long haul,” Miller said.
Waves rolling in higher won’t be the only problem, Levine points out. As sea level rises, the groundwater will also become more saline, which can make it harder for grasses and trees on the course to survive. The whole groundwater table can also rise, he adds, which can affect how it feels to play the course, or kill the trees screening one hole from the next.
Flooding alone presents a problem for golf course turf, said Cole Thompson, who works on the USGA’s green section research team, and those problems are compounded with seawater. They start with submerging plants made to live on land, and end with sediment piling up that, over time, affects how that course plays. Plants respond to seawater like they’ve just been hit with a drought—and it’ll look brown or straw-colored, or wilted. Even when that water dries, it leaves behind a salty residue in soils.
The U.S. Golf Association has been tracking the effects on turf from drought, heat, and seawater. Grass is good for sports with heavy traffic precisely because it does regrow, but with these flood-associated problems, it struggles.
“After a while, you’re going to have turf that’s just not recovering,” Thompson said. “Probably one-sixteenth of the amount of salinity in seawater would be problematic for most plants—so it doesn’t take much.”
With the last of those problematic forces in mind, the association has supported the development of more salt-resistant grasses, like seashore paspalum. Replanted over fairways, it can survive periodic ocean flooding.
But closing to re-turf holes are among the time-consuming and expensive changes courses might face. That, like flooding, comes at a cost: Wise said, “you shut the course down for a week at least and that translates into lost money as far as money coming into the course.”
South Carolina residents have reported 47 sightings of unidentified flying objects across the state this year, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.While many people associate UFOs with alien visitors from other planets, the term refers to any aerial phenomenon that cannot be explained. Scientists and skeptic organizations routinely do eventually identify many reported UFOs as being more mundane in nature, such as atmospheric phenomena or man-made objects....
South Carolina residents have reported 47 sightings of unidentified flying objects across the state this year, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.
While many people associate UFOs with alien visitors from other planets, the term refers to any aerial phenomenon that cannot be explained. Scientists and skeptic organizations routinely do eventually identify many reported UFOs as being more mundane in nature, such as atmospheric phenomena or man-made objects.
Still, UFO reports persist.
So far this year, Irmo, Myrtle Beach and the Cross community are tied for most UFO sightings in the state so far this year. Each has three separately reported UFO encounters, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.
South Carolina isn’t the greatest hotbed for UFO reports in the U.S, but it is no slouch either, a recent study shows.
The study by myvision.org — a site that provides evidence-based information on eye health — analyzed the last five years-worth of reports from the National UFO Reporting Center. The study then ranked the states by most UFOs reported since 1974.
According to the study, South Carolina ranks 22nd among the states with 2,134 UFO reports.
The latest UFO was reported on Oct. 6 in Sumter. The report states that the witness was driving to meet friends around 10 p.m. and was on a straight road when he noticed two orange lights over a forest. The display lasted fur about 20 seconds.
“You tell me what I saw cause it was drifting in the sky and not like anything I’ve seen before,” the witness’ statement reads.
Another report made on Sept. 15 on Kiawah Island states that a woman and her husband were walking along the beach when they saw a reddish orange sphere in the sky that seemed to be moving, but then started hovering in place.
“It seemed the object we saw vaguely changed colors (red to orange to yellow to white), the object seemed to change shapes from three small close connected spheres to one large sphere,” the report reads.
The National UFO Reporting Center was founded in 1974 by noted UFO investigator, Robert J. Gribble, the organization’s website states. The center has processed more than 150,000 reports.
The center’s main function has been “to receive, record and to the greatest degree possible, corroborate and document reports from individuals who have been witness to unusual, possibly UFO-related events.”
Here is where all 47 UFO reports have been made in South Carolina so far this year, according to the reporting center.