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|The first green at Eagle's Pointe Golf Club in Bluffton, S.C., wakes you up. (Lisa Allen/WorldGolf.com)|
BLUFFTON, S.C. - There's no better way to sum up Eagle's Pointe Golf Club in Bluffton other than to say it's fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously.
The course is fairly short (6,780 yards at the tips), and it's missing a par 5, making the course a par 71. It offers four tee stations, the forwards at 5,210 yards.
Eagle's Pointe has a lot of personality, great scenery, shot-making challenges and, on the back nine, room to wale with your driver.
Designed by Davis Love III, Eagle's Pointe is meticulously maintained, even if it tends to hold water more than many golf courses.
"There are a lot of senior and female players. This tends to be their favorite golf course around here," said Brent Carlson, head golf professional and general manager. "You can tell who designed it. It just kind of wanders through the hazards."
Once people play Eagle's Pointe Golf Club, they come back. "We're pretty popular with the local players," Carlson said. "We will see the same faces."
Carlson gives a lot of the course's credit to superintendent Kevin Morgan, who has been on the job for eight years. It's the course, Carlson said, that makes it successful. "After all, the staff is with someone for only five minutes. They spend hours on the course."
Eagle's Pointe Golf Club also offers a lot of clinics. "Golf can be difficult for those who don't know what they're doing," Carlson said. In short, one can get the basics in a hurry and on the cheap.
The key to the course is to commit to a management strategy on each hole, but be flexible, because once you view each shot, there is likely a variable that you didn't see from the tee.
Eagle's Pointe keeps you on your toes and constantly surprises you. It's not devious in that you'll find yourself in trouble in a hidden hazard, but it's impish. The holes reveal themselves shot by shot, and you'll have to make minor adjustments to your overall hole strategy.
The course snaps you to attention on the first hole. From the tee, one is confronted by huge bunkers, trees right along the right edge, water to clear and an undulating fairway. Use the swales, or they'll abuse you. The hole gets your golf heart racing.
Eagle's Pointe's second hole is a long par 5 that starts off wide and forgiving, but the green is tucked off to the right, making your third shot a bear. The green is guarded on the right by a bunker followed by a tree that will grab any ball not precisely on line. Oh, and on the left is a sea of bunkers. This hole requires laser-like accuracy.
No. 3 is a sly little par 3. There's no way to know until you've played the course a few times that there is a wind tunnel across the green that pushes shots left and short. Trust us on this, use at least one extra club, and aim a little right.
John Keller, head golf professional at The Reserve Club at Woodside Plantation in nearby Aiken, played Eagle's Pointe for the first time.
"I enjoyed the back. It had a little more room for tee shots," Keller said. "The front is target golf."
He particularly enjoyed Nos. 6 and 7, which utilize the same water hazard in surprising ways.
"You had to be really careful off the tee," he said.
On No. 6, water is a threat from the tees to just before the green, keeping you left. On the way back, No. 7 adds the twist of the water crossing the fairway short of the green, making your approach shot a little nerve wracking.
The course, Keller said, "is not redundant." Indeed.
No. 6, with water on the right, punishes shots too far left with a fairway that slopes to the trees. Hit it too far right near the green, and the water will take it, thanks to a finger that edges in front of the green.
The front finishes up with a par 4 that puts a tree smack dab in the middle of the fairway. Beware, though, there is a pesky tree on the left with branches up top that can snag your drive.
The back opens up immediately with a par-5 No. 10. There's water on the right off the tee and on the left mid-hole. The green sits behind some massive bunkers that will grab overzealous second shots.
No. 15 is a beautiful little par 3 that provides several options for an approach, but try to snuggle up to the pin, because the green is huge and undulating.
Three par 4s bring you in. No. 16's feature is a fairway with a wicked gully on the right that will punish wayward drives by forcing you to take a blind second shot.
Eagle's Pointe's 18th hole provides a narrow fairway between two bunkers for your tee shot and a elevated green amid a progression of bunkers. It's a short hole, so that helps you attack the pin. It's the last hole. Why not?
Gary Simmons, a 16-handicap golfer, plays at Eagle's Pointe often. "I like the layout," he said. "(Love) put holes that mirror each other but don't." Each has a twist.
Simmons likes the par 3s because they are mid-length and challenging. Because one doesn't have to fly the ball to the green, there are options.
Eagle's Pointe Golf Club is a pretty little course in great condition with a lot of surprises.
It's a very entertaining track with a light touch. Eagle's Pointe is not to be tamed, but a course to adapt to.
Go with the flow; it's a fun ride.
June 16, 2009
Lisa Allen is a golf, travel and business writer based in Beaufort, S.C. She has edited newspapers, magazines and books in Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina. Follow her on Twitter @LAllenSC.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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