The original course at Ford Plantation opened in 1986, commissioned at a reputed cost of $11 million by InterRedec, a holding company once controlled by the Saudi businessman Ghaith Pharaon, who remains to this day a fugitive from the American authorities after leaving the country in the 1990s to avoid fraud and racketeering charges.
The property changed hands after the demise of Pharaon, becoming known as the Ogeechee Golf Club, though it since changed its name to Ford Plantation in honour of Henry Ford, the automobile magnate who developed the estate in the 1920s and 30s.
Fast forward to 2014, when club members dug deep to finance a major $7 million renovation of the layout, resulting in the total closure of the course for more than one year to allow major drainage issues to be addressed, along with the rebuilding of every green and bunker.
Tim Liddy carried out most of the onsite work on
behalf of Pete Dye (as he’s done with many of the old master’s projects down
the years), constructing new continuous tees, re-positioning the green at the
signature 10th hole and removing most of the trademark railway sleepers that
once buttressed many of the lakes and lagoons.
The facility has recently renamed itself The Ford Field & River Club.
Now politically correctly (and I have no idea why the membership rejected Ogeechee Club) known awkwardly as The Ford Field & River Club, less awkwardly as The Ford. It was the personal property of Henry Ford and the Mansion on property is very graciously luxuriously. I personally have slept in Mr. Ford's bedroom, his wife's across the hall. Plantation is now a dirty word being removed from Coastal Empire and Lowcountry communities in the name of woke revisionism, for better or worse.. I get to play here fairly often and have seen several iterations of the course. It is not particularly easy to access and is in spectacular condition, worth the invite.
The first nine is nice classic, strategic Lowcountry Pete & Alice Dye through housing with almost no impact - way less so than Harbour Town and IMHO better than that as well. Nice angles abound, the 3rd Par 5 is remarkable for said angles and the greens are quite contoured. I don't do hole by hole regalías but there is not a weakness on that nine except the ninth is maybe too easily reachable in two (Par 5).
The second nine when originally built was wildly and artificially mounded. These were removed in the last renovation at request and the second nine built on what I was told were rice paddies is nearly flay, devoid of trees and while there are some nice angles to be had, that nine comes off a bit tame. It can be windy at times and the holes are far from pushovers, but there are few visual cues because of the design style. The golf course is challenging but not particularly penal, it is highly strategic, both nines, but they are rather different-looking,
Clubhouse is my singular favorite in the Coastal Empire/Lowcountry.
Tim Liddy is now the architect on record going forward as he is to the Colleton River Dye Course an hour away; good hands for a Dye Course to be in. This is one of the best courses in the area and is under the proverbial radar.
The one photo is the range with most of the second nine in the background. I have other photos from this summer currently hostage to a dead phone I am trying to recover, I will return once I retrieve them.