The Cliffs is a collection of seven private residential communities situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the western Carolinas, between two of the nation's award-winning cities for quality of life: Greenville in South Carolina and Asheville in North Carolina.
The Cliffs’ portfolio of sporting amenities for members includes seven championship golf courses, designed by renowned architects such as Tom Fazio, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
The tree-lined 18-hole layout at Keowee Vineyards is a Fazio design from 1999 and the routing leads eight of the fairways around the shimmering waters of Lake Keowee.These lakeside holes are the stars of the show, highlighted by the long par five 4th and the 250-yard 17th, which plays across the water to a peninsula green.
Number one is a welcoming hole short uphill take an extra club on your approach. The par 3 2nd and par 4 3rd are shoulder shrugs. Number four is a super hole. Downhill towards the lake dogleg right par five, you can clear the bunker on your left, not so much on the right. Second shot you want to be left as there is a water hazard right. The greens are mowed partway down the crowns. Thus, like Pinehurst, you can land on the green, start rolling off and it picks up more speed and turns a decent shot into a tricky pitch. Pretty hole, except for being the number one handicap hole. The 5th is a par 4 paralleling the lake. There are perhaps 4 or 5 rows of vineyard to the left. These are the only vineyards I saw on the course. I did pass maybe 2 acres worth on the way in. Over ten years ago my wife and I considered building in one of The Cliffs communities. There was a huge price difference the lower the altitude. Lots with views were big $$ as were lakefront lots. I think their marketing people recognized the value of the word vineyard and leveraged it sell the lower tiered lots. Golf is a real estate play. Back to the course the 6th is a cute par 3, elevated tee box to an elevated green with a carry over a small water element. Seven is a short uphill par 4 with an elevated redan green protected with a bunker on the left. The long uphill par 4 8th I think is the toughest hole on the front. The green is also elevated and protected by two BABs on the right. The 9th is a straightaway downhill par 5. What you see is what you get, all you have to do is hit the ball straight. Water does come into play greenside left and there is a collection of bunkers short right.
The back starts with a par 4 that brings you back to the clubhouse. The dogleg right par 4 12 screams at you to try to cut the corner. Don’t do it. The trees are tall and there is a dropoff right. The number 2 handicap hole par 13th is fantastic. A long dogleg right with the lake in the elbow. Unless you a huge hitter or just plain crazy aim for the middle of the fairway. Depending upon your drive and pin location your approach may have to clear the water hazard. The 14th and 15th are yin and yang par 5s. One tee box is on the water and is uphill and the other is downhill with the green on the water. The 16th is a cute downhill par 3 with the green on the lake. Take one less club. The 17th is impressive. From the tips off an elevated tee 250 yards to a peninsula green with a bunker in front and one in the back. Beautiful view of the lake. After the previous 5 holes 18 is no slouch. Long par four uphill dogleg right.
If your choice is Keowee Springs or the Vineyard go for the vino!
I would pay to play it again.