Walter Travis laid out the original nine holes of the Plantation course in 1926 and Dick Wilson added a second nine in the 1960s. Rees Jones then stepped in to perform a complete renovation in 1998.
“With all its greens built on five-foot fill pads and flanked by deep bunkers to both sides, it must be torture for poor sand players,” remarked Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. “A great golf resort needs a better second course than this.”
And so it came to pass. In 2018 Love Golf Design stepped in to ring the changes. All greens and green sites were completely reconstructed (and lowered). Davis and Mark Love said that it has “truly been a labor of love” because the duo grew up playing the course more times than they can count.
Travis’s original nine holes now form the front nine. Lead architect Scot Sherman takes up the story: “On that nine, we have mostly retained the routing, but have made major changes at the sixth by clearing and shifting the green towards an existing lagoon, which has increased the length by 30 yards and greatly improved the view. We have also shifted the ninth green towards a stand of live oaks, which has added about 25 yards to that hole.
On the back nine, we have reclaimed the original fourteenth hole as a par five. We have also reclaimed the original short par-four fifteenth and short par-three sixteenth holes from the original routing of those holes.”
The design team has brought back old-fashioned features such as chocolate drops, which have been scattered around the course – there’s even a Principal’s Nose at the tenth. Railroad ties appear here and there, supporting bunker faces and lagoon banks.
Will the revamped Plantation course, recreated in a fun Golden Age stylee, reach the heady heights of its Seaside sibling? Only time will tell.
Full disclosure, I have not played the latest reincarnation by the Loves. When I played the Plantation i enjoyed and thought it was a real solid course but not quite as good as Seaside. Several, folks i have queried since the redesign, say that it is still close but they prefer The Plantation. I guess there is only one thing to do and that is to go play it.