The Pete Dye course at the Colleton River Plantation Club appeared six years after the Nicklaus layout debuted at the same location. The front nine plays through woodland with the back nine occupying more open terrain amongst marshlands. Only two of the par four holes (at the 1st and 14th) measure less than 400 yards from the back markers on a course that can be stretched to over 7,400 yards for tournament play.
Highlight holes include strong par fours at the 9th (where the green is protected on the right by a large waste bunker), the 15th (which sweeps left to the target from the tee) and the 490-yard 18th, a closing hole that also veers to the left around a lake. Par threes at the 146-yard 13th and 232-yard 17th offer contrasting short hole challenges.
In advance of the US Junior Amateur Championships on the Pete Dye course in 2015, the architect visited the club. According to Al Theiss, the tournament general chairman, Mr Dye announced that the course was the best he had ever built, with Theiss pointing out that the layout was typical of the master designer as it was both visually intimidating and mentally challenging.Theiss told the tale about a modification Dye made to the 14th hole, where a large fairway bunker was reduced in size. When asked if he thought this would make the hole easier, Mr Dye responded by saying that golfers no longer worried about the bunker would be more likely to take a chance, hit the ball longer and end up in the marsh. "His genius is enticing better players into taking a risk they don't understand," said Theiss.
This is honestly my favorite Dye course, almost toe to toe with Whistling Straits (which is overrated but still). It's extremely challenging but still relatively playable, with lots of bold and interesting features. The front nine is not the most exciting but still with some cool holes. 1 is an interesting Leven style hole, 3 is a neat little redan. Every hole demands strategy. Once you make it back to the bayou on 9, the course is incredible. There's so much nuance and variety that makes it an absolute treat to play.
The first hole is less Leven and more a "Cape Green" - the true determinant of a Cape Hole; surrounded by trouble but not water on three sides and a foreboding mound at the left front entrance - a feature seen in play onseveral other holes on this course.
I'll later note in my full review (of this - one of my courses) the Par 4 fourth which is too challenging for most to see the superior strategy in just one or even a few plays. The first nine is akin to the second nine at Royal Aberdeen in that the other nine is so visually attractive that it can be challenging to have features, strategies and holes stand out.
I'm glad you enjoyed the course.
As a member I will disagree with "A tight tree-lined estate" for the first nine, the golf course is generous off the tee with strategic flexibility in the design. I will fairly review the course for the website in the near future. Cheers, glad you enjoyed, it's not an easy course to get to play.