Occupying a gently rolling, wooded property to the north of Hilton Head Island, the 18-hole golf course at Cherokee Plantation was Donald Steel’s first design in the United States. The recent history of the estate can be traced back to the early 19th century and to Daniel Blake, a descendant of the English-born South Carolina governor Joseph Blake. After the plantation was sold in 1930, it changed hands several times before a consortium of five (including Peter de Savary of Skibo Castle fame) purchased the estate in 1998, spending more than $50 million on improving leisure amenities.
In The American Private Golf Club Guide, author Daniel Wexler describes the course as “an often interesting track (which manages to produce a bit of Old Country flavor through the frequent use of stacked sod-walled bunkering, and with the exception of the par five 5th and 18th (each utilizing man-made lakes), the great majority of holes offer an element of naturalistic charm.
Standouts include the 438-yard tree-bothered 6th, the 449-yard 14th (a long dogleg right played from tees set back amidst wetlands), and the 585-yard 17th, a long, narrow three-shotter played to one of several bunkerless greens. Holes 14-17 are widely separated from the rest of the layout (making for two longish green-to-tee journeys) and the lakes and wetlands quash and notion of this being in any way a ‘links’ course.”