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Aiken, South Carolina
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Patrick Koenig
Patrick Koenig
  • Address275 Berrie Rd SW, Aiken, SC 29801, USA

The Palmetto Golf Club is a monument from the dawn of US golf. Thomas Hitchcock founded Palmetto in 1892 and he also laid out a rudimentary four-hole golf course, which was soon extended to nine holes by Herbert Leeds (the architect and early member of the Myopia Hunt Club). Herbert Leeds and James Mackrell, Palmetto’s first golf professional, extended the course to 18 holes in 1895. Since then, the hands of numerous architects, including Donald Ross, Alister MacKenzie, Rees Jones and, more recently, Gil Hanse, have all tweaked and tuned the course that is in play today at Palmetto.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig

The Chicago Golf Club has the oldest 18-hole golf course in the USA operating on its original site and the Palmetto Golf Club can reasonably claim to have the country’s second oldest golf course.

The green complexes at Palmetto are a delight and their current size is the result of Gil Hanse's restoration work, which pushed the putting surfaces outwards utilising the existing mounds to great effect. Additionally the bunkers were reworked under Hanse’s stewardship.

Notorious for its excellent two-shot holes on the outward half, Ben Hogan reckoned holes 3, 4 and 5 were the best back-to-back par fours he’d ever played. Additionally Hogan apparently listed Palmetto’s 3rd, 5th and 13th in his all-time list of 18 favourite holes.

With a clubhouse designed by Sanford White (who also designed the clubhouse at Shinnecock Hills) and a who’s who list of golf course architects who have left their impression, it’s no wonder that Palmetto Golf Club is on many people’s must-play list.

Dr Alister MacKenzie was quoted in the May 1933 edition of American Golfer Magazine: “The alterations at Palmetto have been such a success that the Chairman of Bobby Jones’ executive committee at the Augusta National writes me saying, ‘We have only one serious complaint to make against you regarding the Augusta National. That layout you designed at Aiken is liked so well that the Aiken colony does not seem to be the least bit interested in coming over to the Augusta National’.”


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Course Architect

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Alister MacKenzie

Alister MacKenzie was born in England, but his parents were Scottish and the family holidayed every year close to where his father was raised in the traditional Clan MacKenzie lands of Sutherland.

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