The 15 Best Golf Courses in South Carolina: A Golfer’s Paradise
As a golfing destination, South Carolina boasts diverse landscapes that elevate each course to a unique gem in the southeastern United States golf scene.
From coastal challenges to inland marvels, this guide explores the must-play courses in the Palmetto State. Navigate through the distinctive settings and conquer challenging layouts that define the golfing crown of South Carolina.
1. The Ocean Course – Kiawah Island
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is one of the most challenging and revered golf courses in the USA. A Pete and Alice Dye design, this iconic destination has played host to several historic events, the Ocean Course joined the world stage during the iconic 1991 Ryder Cup, dubbed ‘The War by the Shore’ due to the tension around the event.
More recently, in 2021 during Kiawah’s second PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson was the surprise champion at the age of 50, becoming the oldest-ever major champion.
Length: 7,849 yards
Designer: Pete Dye & Alice Dye
2. Osprey Point – Kiawah Island
A Tom Fazio design, Osprey Point is a very worthy sister course to the iconic Ocean Course. Weaving around Kiawah Islands waterways, Osprey Point is a more technical and strategic challenge than the harsh brutality of The Ocean Course.
Designer: Tom Fazio
3. Oak Point – Kiawah Island
The Third of Kiawah Island Golf Resort courses, Oak Point offers another different challenge. Built among the sandbank island’s marshlands, Oak Point is almost reminiscent of a traditional Links course, with low undulating fairways, heavy bunkering, and natural rough.
Designer: Clyde Johnston
4. Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head
The 18th Hole at Harbour Town is one of the most recognizable in the USA, backed by the famed red and white striped Lighthouse of the harbor.
Harbour Town is host of the annual RBC Heritage tournament on the PGA Tour, one of the most popular events for players, who often bring family to the island to relax after the stresses of competing in the Masters the week prior. The course isn’t long but demands accuracy and a strong short game to score well.
Designer: Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus
5. Robert Trent Jones Course – Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island
One of three spectacular courses belonging to the beautiful Palmetto Dunes Resort, the Robert Trent Jones Course opened in 1968, making it one of the most established on the Island.
Renovated in the early 2000s, the course is heavily impacted by the Atlantic Ocean’s elements, making for a testing round for any level of golfer.
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
6. George Fazio Course – Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island
George Fazio, Uncle of Tom, was an established golf architect in his own right, and this masterpiece on Hilton Head Island has been accredited with Top 100 Best Courses and Best Course in South Carolina awards.
Designer: George Fazio
7. Arthur Hills Course – Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island
Unlike some of the 7,000+ yard layouts on the Island, Palmetto Dunes Arthur Hills is a test of precision and shotmaking. Protected by extensive bunkering and waterways, with no less than 10 of the 18 holes bringing water into play.
Designer: Arthur Hills
8. Atlantic Dunes – Sea Pines, Hilton Head Island
One of Sea Pines Resorts’ three layouts, the Atlantic Dunes Course was restructured by Hall of Fame Golfer Davis Love III. The concept was to bring the feel of an oceanside course throughout the 18 holes, and the results, including extensive sand, wild grasses, and palm tree-lined fairways, are spectacular.
The Atlantic Dunes is a must-play when staying at the Sea Pines Resort.
Designer: Davis Love III
9. The Links Course – Wild Dunes
Tom Fazio’s very first solo design, the Links Course has recently undergone an extensive renovation. Located on the northern tip of the Isle of Palms, near Charleston, the views, which conclude with an Ocean view on the 18th, are one of the features that make this one of the most popular courses in South Carolina.
Designer: Tom Fazio
10. The Harbor Course – Wild Dunes
Like many of the coastal courses in South Carolina, the Harbor Course at Wild Dunes is known for its extensive water hazards. From lagoons and salt marshes to the Intracoastal Waterway, you need to be striking the ball well and trust your yardages to stay dry and post a score.
Designer: Tom Fazio
11. Oyster Reef Golf Club – Hilton Head Island
Built among traditional low country terrain, Oyster Reef offers countless stunning views of the beautiful island. The stand-out hole is the Par 3 6th, which plays 192 yards from the tips, with a green that is set against the beautiful Port Royal Sound.
Designer: Rees Jones
12. Dolphin Head Golf Club – Hilton Head Island
Opened in 1974, Dolphin Head was Garry Player’s first course on Hilton Head Island. A semi-private course, the design is carved through the dense Carolina forest, providing a sense of nature and retreat from the rest of the island.
Designer: Gary Player
13. Heron Point – Sea Pines, Hilton Head Island
Another of Pete Dye’s famed South Carolina designs, Heron Point at Sea Pines resort is a classic risk-reward, familiar to so many of his other greats. A great addition to Harbour Town Golf Links and Atlantic Dunes, making Sea Pines one of the finest coastal resorts in the USA.
Designer: Peter Dye
14. Barony Course – Hilton Head Island
One of the first courses to be established on Hilton Head Island, this 1963 George W. Cobb may appear open from the tee boxes, but the challenge for players is the approach play to and short game around the greens.
Bermuda grass and well-protected greens complexes make for a challenge for even the most accurate and skillful golfer.
Designer: George W. Cobb
15. Robber’s Row – Hilton Head Island
One of Port Royal Golf Club’s three designs, Robber’s Row combines the original layout of George W. Cobb, which underwent renovation by Pete Dye, creating a wonderful combination of two great architects.
Built on an important location in the Civil War, the course offers extensive water and sand hazards providing a test for every level of golfer.
Designer: George W. Cobb and William C. Byrd
Every year, the Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina hosts the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing where the world’s best golfers compete.
The best time to golf in South Carolina is in the spring and fall, when the weather is mild. The summer can be hot and humid, and the winter can be cold, especially in the mountains.
Dress codes at golf courses in South Carolina generally adhere to traditional golfing etiquette. Collared shirts, tailored shorts or pants, and soft-soled golf shoes are typically required. Avoid tank tops, denim jeans, and sandals.