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|Palmetto is generally recognized as the hardest of the six golf courses at The Landings. (Tim McDonald/WorldGolf.com)|
Members of The Landings outside Savannah, Georgia consider the Palmetto course the hardest of the community's six golf courses.
There are six golf courses at the massive golf community just to the south of Savannah, and most of them are geared for leisurely play. Most of the other courses, all of them excellent, give a little, then take a little. The Oakridge course, for example, is forgiving off the tee, but takes it back with some tricky green complexes. Deer Creek is just the opposite. The Plantation course has tight fairways, but it isn't particularly long, and has flat greens.
Palmetto plays tough, man-to-man defense from whistle to whistle. It isn't as though this is the most difficult golf course in Georgia, although if you want to take it on from the back tees at a tad under 7,000 yards, you're looking at a considerable slope rating of 141.
But few members at The Landings play any of the courses from that far back; the yardages move down to 6,457 from the tournament tees to 6,174 for the club tees.
This is the course where they hold tournaments, from club championships to USGA get-togethers.
"It's the length," said member Bob Longueria, explaining why the course is generally considered the hardest. "The finishing holes are some of the toughest on the island. There's a lot of trouble everywhere. You pretty much have to carry everything on to the green; you can't be running them up."
The three finishers are indeed a mouthful, especially No. 17, a long par 4 that doglegs left around a pond and trees. It's a difficult shot to shape for most amateurs, and you're usually looking at a long approach into a touchy green, which slopes down left to the water.
The Palmetto course was designed by Arthur Hills, who also did Oakridge, and he was surely instructed to make the course more of a challenge for the members.
Deep traps and high embankments guard greens that are contoured in the way of some pretty harsh slope and undulation; some of the multi-tiered greens have three-putt written all over them.
"Very few straight putts on this course," Longueira said.
The layout is tree-lined with some mildly rolling fairways, and there are some water carries, both off the tee and into the green, that can be fairly demanding. The par 3s over water are also fun.
Even if you do get beaten up here, at least it will be in a beautiful setting. Like all the courses on Skidaway Island, the Palmetto plays through oak, pine, azalea and other coastal island scenery, with the kind of misty, marsh views that make people from so far away want to come and live here.
There is no outside play on any of The Landings courses.
The Landings on Skidaway Island is an exclusive, gated community on the barrier island, just outside Savannah. Residents here have the advantage of living on their own island while being 15 minutes from downtown Savannah.
They've worked hard here to preserve the natural beauty of the island, and it shows: giant oaks draped with Spanish moss, wide marsh views and hardwood hammocks dot the island.
It's a very active community, with more than 100 groups, including one of the largest ladies' golf organizations in the country.
It's a little puzzling why the Landings is not more well known. It's won some prestigious awards: The Urban Land Institute recognized it as "one of the nation's best residential communities," Live South magazine ranked it as one of the "Fabulous 50 communities in the South," and Where to Retire magazine rated it a "top 100 master-planned community."
There is some dispute over the origin of the island's name, whether it came from Indians or English settlers, but in any case, after the Civil War, freed slaves set up a school with the help of Benedictine monks.
Skidaway Island prospered during prohibition with several stills on the island, and Union Camp eventually took control and used the heavily treed island for pulpwood production in the 1940s, before eventually developing the island for residential use.
The community's three tennis centers have 34 courts, and there are also two deep-water marinas, a fitness center slated to be doubled in size, four swimming pools, two athletic fields, more than 40 miles of paved walking and biking trails and four clubhouse restaurants.
Then there is the Village, a family-style shopping center right on the island.
May 9, 2008
Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Solvang is a romantic, classic Western-style getaway amid the wine lovers' setting of California's central coast. And there's some great golf, too, with 36 holes of diverse play on site for both the public and resort guests.
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