Apparently, Jack, Arnie and Gary drew lots at the 1999 Masters Champions Dinner to select which of the three available sites they would have for their 9-hole design. The Golden Bear went first, choosing the Bluff, The King was next and he picked the Island, which left The Black Knight with the Creek. All three nines are topographically different, making this a rather unique collaboration from three of the golfing greats.
Six of the holes on the Island nine are laid out in the middle of the Savannah River, the first four holes of the Creek nine wind round a huge wetland area, while holes on the Bluff nine occupy undulating terrain with elevation changes similar to those on Augusta National, making it a real shot-maker’s layout.
Highlight holes on the Bluff circuit include the par three 2nd (played to a double crowned green); the par five 5th (with an elevated tee position onto a fairway that doglegs left and up to the green); and the par four 7th, which veers right and up to a green that’s benched into a little rise.
Fairways are pretty flat on the Island nine but the best hole of all twenty-seven on the property is located here at the par four 4th, with a railway bridge crossing the Savannah River in the background and a giant oak tree in the middle of the fairway protecting the path to an offset green that runs slightly away from front to back.
This is a hidden gem that somehow doesn't seem to get as much publicity as it should.
The course is very good, but the experience of the community brings it up a rating in my opinion. Once you drive through the gates, it is like you have arrived in a Utopian Golf Village, that is there for you to relax, and have a great time.
A very cool local tradition is hitting over the Savannah River into South Carolina. It is a 240(ish) yard carry, and was a super cool tradition that my caddy insisted I do. Shockingly, I was successful.
The 3 x 9's all have their own personality, but truth be told, I didn't find one to be a weak link. All 3 designers (Player, Nicklaus and Palmer) did an excellent job.
If you can get an invite, make sure you go play it. You will not be disappointed.