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|Patriots Point Golf Links overlooks Charleston Harbor. (Courtesy of Patriots Point Links)|
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. -- Patriots Point Golf Links meets the criteria to advertise itself as a links -- at least by the standards of American golf, where any open track near a big body of water (and sometimes not even that) is entitled to the name.
But in some ways this course just outside Charleston seems like a true Scottish links. All that's missing is heather, a few sand dunes and a mildly inebriated Scotsman.
Lacking those, Patriots Point will have to settle for being one of the prettiest layouts on the Carolina coast.
Nestled on a grassy peninsula overlooking Fort Sumter, the course is certainly open, save for a smattering of trees, including some willows that seem to still be weeping over those haunting first rounds of the Civil War fired nearby.
And it does have the water, overlooking Charleston Harbor and Shem Creek and dotted internally with streams and ponds. There's so much water everywhere, the sun is bound to find something to sparkle off, and it does, virtually through the entire round.
All this beauty culminates in the closing three holes, which wrap around a point of land jutting out into the harbor just across from historic downtown Charleston.
"As far as views go, this is the best around, if you want to enjoy the Charleston waterfront," local Jim Smith said.
It's not just the scenery that makes the closest stretch special; the last three holes are also the most dramatic plays here.
You have to be confident with your driver from the elevated tee box at No. 16, a marsh-hugging dogleg left, and equally confident with your irons at the No. 17, a par 3 with a small, crowned island green that drops off on all sides. With the wind usually swirling, club selection can be tricky.
The 18th bends left with a relatively narrow fairway, and it's easy to run out of room right if you hit it long and straight. Pull that draw out of your bag if you have it. If not, go with a fairway wood or long iron.
Opened in 1981 with a design by Willard Byrd, a favorite in Carolina golf, Patriots Point makes for an excellent day on the links.
Running 6,938 yards from the back tees, it's scenic, enjoyable Charleston course with little rough to speak of. As with many open, oceanfront courses, the wind can change the character of play virtually day to day.
September 24, 2007
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.
There are many stay-and-play options in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C region, but none can match the combination of upscale amenities at a reasonable price, the private-course conditions, the diversity of courses and the Interstate convenience of Turf Valley in Ellicott City, Md.
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