Designed by Pete and Alice Dye, the Long Cove course opened in 1981 with rolling, tree lined fairways, challenging greens and water featuring prominently in the course design. The residential community at Long Cove Club is spoiled for choice when it comes to on-site sporting activities – there’s tennis, boating, fishing, kayaking and swimming but the jewel in the crown is their private golf course.
Members here consider there is no single signature hole as there are so many contenders to choose from. Dye constructed the Bermuda grass fairways at Long Cove to be wider than on previous designs, with more room for ordinary golfers to remain in contention.
Dye shifted plenty of soil, in fact, a young Tom Doak worked here on his first construction project in the summer of 1981. The course was reshaped at one end of the site to imitate sand dunes, presenting a totally blind approach shot at the 5th hole for everyone but the bravest player. Long Cove’s Tifdwarf grass putting surfaces are larger, and more contoured than earlier Dye course designs but the two holes at 13 and 14, along Calibogue Sound, are reminiscent of low profile design features at Dye and Nicklaus's Harbour Town course.
Long Cove elicits many favourable comments from ordinary golfers who play here – “surroundings are magnificent… as pretty as any course you will play… lots of risk/reward choices”. So why not post your own review if you’ve played Long Cove?
It amazes me how Long Cove is not really talked about given its prominence in the Palmetto State. The Dye duo -- kudos to Alice -- did a stellar effort. Yes, there's housing on a number of holes but the placement doesn't really take away from the golf experience.
Turf quality is exceptional and the visceral connection to the low country area of South Carolina clearly captivates the body and soul.
The thing about Long Cove is that Pete followed a more reserved approach. You don't see the harsh angles or the head scratching man-made inventions that simply over power the locale where the course is situated. Long Cove fits like a old snug sweater -- fitting ever so well with the land it occupies.
Tom Doak wrote in his updated Confidential Guide book series on the important role Alice played in keeping Pete on a much more subdued -- but still meaningful -- final outcome.
The opening hole is top shelf. The player has to decide just how much of the corner of the water penalty area you wish to flirt with. The green is nicely protected by the same water area. If the pin is cut to the far right the pressure on the approach increases dramatically.
The outward side is routed well. At the par-3 2nd and the par-5 3rd you must deal with the same water penalty area faced at the 1st. This time the water pushes in from the left side. There's bailout area at the 2nd -- but those going that way will likely be placing a four on the scorecard. The par-5 3rd is a great example of just how much nerve one can summon on the tee shot. The fairway turns left -- water always lurking on that side -- and the fairway tapes down considerably. Working a right-to-left ball flight through a bottleneck of this type is no small feat of accomplishment. The reward if carried out can mean reaching the green in two shots and a possible birdie.
The par-4 4th is often forgotten but it's a hole where placement is paramount. Trees can easily be in play -- whether with the tee shot or approach. Just shows that a hole need not be mega-length to make one execute at a high level.
The Dyes have cleverly included an engaging short par-4 found at the 5th. Golfers have to decide if the boldest of plays to get to the green is worth the gamble. There's room to the right but the more one goes that direction the more problematic the pitch shot into the target is within one's skillset.
The 5th and 6th are where the intensity meter rises. At the former - the par-5 curves right and again the question is asked -- how far does one attempt to play the tee shot while dealing with a fairway area that narrows the further one goes. At the latter it requires a quality effort from the tee and then a well-positioned approach to have an opportunity for a birdie.
The par-3 8th showcases a 233-yard hole that drops down slightly from the tee and is highlighted by a gorgeous green with two sections -- and heaven forbid if one misses right of the green because the likelihood of escaping without bogey or more is only remotely doable if your last name is Ballesteros.
The closing hole on the front is a fine dog-leg right. Golfers able to attack the turning point can reap a short approach but the reward is only provided when the skills are demonstrated.
The key attribute at Long Cove is the promotion of playability without a blatant dumbing down in doing so. Higher handicaps can enjoy the challenge provided the correct tee box is chosen. On the flip side -- those who fancy themselves as skilled players will have that presumption clearly tested. Long Cove is a wonderful result in which challenge and beauty are woven together.
The inward half is very good in terms of the hole variety and the eye appeal it provides.
The par-4 10th provides a gentle bend to the left and features a green with a mixture of movements. The par-4 11th, mirrors the 4th, as trees once again squeeze the optimum landing area off the tee. Failure to get to the right position can mean a problematic outcome on this 399-yard hole.
The long par-4 12th takes golfers near to the march that borders the northwest portion of the property. Being able to work the ball from right-to-left is a big time plus here. The left side of the green is set behind a water penalty area and when the pin is placed tight to that side one must show proper respect.
Once you arrive at the par-3 13th and par-4 14th the whole character of the course showcases another persona. The wind pattern along the marsh area can fluctuate at given moments and golfers had best think long and hard on club selection.
The final four holes are a testing quartet. The long par-5 15th wondrously takes you deep back into the tree-lined terrain. The par-4 16th is a testing par-4 of 460 yards and the penultimate hole is the final par-3 -- with a water penalty area lurking just to the right. The closing hole is a strong two-shot finalize but I was hoping for something more than what's presented.
Long Cove was not created as a monstrous test for the world's best players. However, make no mistake in thinking Long Cove is Dye-lite. Hardly. Pete did not include all the design land mines of design he would incorporate into later efforts. Candidly, I find much of Pete's efforts in his end years to be pushed via owners who wanted an over-the-top diabolical creation. that always sought to go one step past the preceding one.
Playing an 18-hole round at Long Cove provides a mot welcome diversion from the daily grind. The golf examination is good and certainly memorable in a number of instances. Those securing an invitation to play when on Hilton Head should not pass up the opportunity to do so.
M. James Ward
We were in for more Pete Dye golf at Long Cove, but this course was a treat, even though I was a bit tired since it was our second 18-hole round of the day… The first hole had water all down the left side. Finally, on Number 4, we came to a hole without water directly in play. But that didn’t last long. We soon discovered that water or marsh came into play on much of Long Cove. Yow! Keep it straight.
Long Cove is long, narrow, and challenging with water in play on 12 holes. It plays like three different courses: tree-lined holes, almost desert-like holes, and holes with marsh and Intracoastal Waterway. It’s quite impressive. The houses are set back unobtrusively and the grounds are home to wildlife galore; it’s a bit like walking through a bird sanctuary. I would love to return to play here one day when I am fresh. Larry Berle.