The Nicklaus course at Colleton River Plantation made its debut in 1993, six years before the longer, tougher Pete Dye layout was unveiled, with both 18-hole layouts set out on a peninsula that separates the Colleton and Chechessee rivers. The Nicklaus course offers the usual Lowcountry mix of wooded and swamp-laden holes, as well as featuring a closing stretch of holes that occupy a more open landscape.
It may be shorter than its sibling but the course can still be stretched to just over 7,100 yards, with only a couple of the par fours measuring less than 400 yards from the tips. The 166-yard 4th is a very photogenic short par three, playing to an island green out in the marshes which is completely surrounded by water at high tide. Golfers should also bring their driver across the bridge to the green as the tee boxes for the 5th hole are also located on the island.On the inward half, the links-style final five holes are very impressive, starting with the short par five 14th, which emerges from the woods then doglegs sharply to the right, over a very large fairway bunker to the green. The 189-yard 17th is a lovely par three, its green perched on the river, whilst the 454-yard closing hole flirts with marshland all along the right side as it bends towards the home green.
Throughout the back nine, the holes that interact with the marsh or the ocean are on the highlight reel. The par 3 12th over the marsh measures 200 yards from the back tees and it’s no easy task to hit the green. An important feature to compliment Jack on is the bunkering on this course. The par 5s have impressive cross bunkers and the par 3s have carefully placed bunkers to give “perspective” in the line of sight across the horizon. The climax, and most celebrated aspect, of this course are holes 14 to 18 which play through attractive sand dunes and waste areas that bring you out to the ocean. The topology and surrounding landscape completely changes on the turn of a dime, which really keeps your interest in the evolving property. Previously you were playing in tree lined areas, or hitting over marsh-land, and now the course takes on a third personality along the ocean’s edge. The par 3 17th along the water is very special and really shows how impressive the routing is to take advantage of such natural features. It’s worth noting that the 9th hole is a wonderful Cape style par 4, and from this green, you get a glimpse of the final stretch on the back nine along the ocean. This panoramic view certainly whets your appetite by letting you know that there’s something special ahead. It’s an enjoyable course with lots of fun shots, and a wonderful contrast to the Dye course, which only adds to the overall top notch experience at the Colleton River Club. Those visiting the Hilton Head area should jump at the opportunity to play both courses.