The Country Club of South Carolina is located in the north-central part of the state, and architect Ellis Maples used the region’s forests and creeks to create a course that emulates those of North of Carolina, just a short while north. Where the courses of the sandhills are known for their wide, sandy waste areas, Maples created the impression with a battery of bunkers.
The course is a story of two nines, with the opening half beginning with a loop around the Polk Swamp before carrying along into a residential development. The north half of the course remains the undisturbed terrain that Maples found when he first visited the property during the late ‘60s. This half wanders through the woods, traversing native wetland and occasionally requiring a forced carry of Black Creek.
The course plays just over 7,000 yards from the tips, and it may seem like the bulk of that challenge comes during the final hole. The 460-yard hole makes a hard dogleg left around a lagoon, to a green well-defended by large bunkers. This No. 1 handicap hole will test the mettle during competition.
The Country Club of South Carolina starts with a left leaning down hill welcoming par four. Be wary of the fairway bunkers left. The par five 2nd is reachable, but you gotta avoid the fairway bunkers on both sides. The green is also well protected with bunkers. The 3rd is the shortest hoe on the course with a stream on front of the green. The uphill 4th bends left and has four bunkers in front of the green. The fifth bears right with bunkers on the inside and outside of the elbow. This green is protected by three bunkers. The 6th is the longest hole on the course and doglegs right. Ideal drive will be just left of the fairway bunker on the inside elbow. There is a water hazard left so favor the right and pick your favorite yardage. The 7th is a mid-yardage par three with a carry over a puddle to a raised green surrounded by three bunkers. The 8th has lots of bunkers. The fairway bunkers really squeeze the landing area so do the math to figure out whether you should lay up or carry them. The green itself has 4 bunkers. The 9th has fairway bunkers left and a generous fairway. Another well-bunkered green.
The back starts with a good birdie oppty as long as you avoid the fairway bunkers on the left. The 11th is a downhill par five to a green surrounded by 4 bunkers. The 12th is a mid-length Florida par three. Th 13th is a sharp dogleg left with a stream down the left side. Favor the right off the tee to ensure that you get a view of the green. Anything over 260 runs the risk of going thru the fairway. A decent drive will set up an approach of around 150 yards over the creek and slightly downhill. Now the slogging gets tough. What goes down must come up, the 14th is a long uphill par four. Take at least an extra club. The 15th is a long par four that leans left with a fairway bunker left. The redan green goes right to left with bunker in front left and bunker right. The 16th is a reprieve par 3, if you consider 220 yards a reprieve. The last par five leans left initially and then finishes hard right. From a yardage perspective you can get home in two. However, a creek runs in front of the green. This did not deter me and sure enough I was dropping four. Unless, you have a gorgeous lie, layup. The 18th is the longest par, dogleg left with water all the way down the left side. It is absolutely, unequivocally deserving of the number one handicap. We had two doubles, a triple and an in your pocket.
If you find yourself in Florence, this is the place to go