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|The 17th hole at at Shadowmoss Plantation Golf Club features a risk-reward bunker at the corner of the dogleg right. (Lisa Allen/WorldGolf.com)|
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Shadowmoss Plantation Golf Club is an everyman's course. It's not pretentious, stuffy or snobby. The staff is friendly, competent and welcoming. In short, this golf course offers an authentic dose of Southern hospitality.
It also offers good golf at a great price - as low as $37 during the week, only $43 on the weekends. It has five tee stations that feature yardage for any golfer, from 6,701 off the golds to 5,169 up front.
"It's good for lady golfers and senior golfers," said general manager J.P. Ringer. "There isn't a lot of carry. Some of the local courses have some really tough holes with a lot of carry, and that's hard on senior golfers," he added.
Shadowmoss Plantation shakes up tee stigmas by making the back tees gold and the second shortest tees black. It also rates three tees for women, truly a rarity. Most golf courses bother with only one, the reds.
Ringer explained, "I worked for a woman pro in Myrtle Beach, and I saw what she went through. She had to play off the men's tees, about 6,300 yards, and they weren't rated for her."
Another running theme on the course is its many, many bunkers, all soft and fluffy as sand should be.
"They have good sand in the traps," said Victor Smith, a 20-handicap player from Savannah, Ga. "I can get out of the sand in Savannah," he said, admitting that he had a little trouble at Shadowmoss.
On the fairway, bunkers often await in a dastardly spot right where most drives would land if one fired away without careful aim. A meandering stream foils simple second shots.
"I would describe the course as medium narrow," Ringer said. "There's not a lot of room to spray the ball."
Around the green, bunkers are everywhere - front, sides and back - some of them with lipstick to snare balls that stray toward them. The fairways are plush, the rough punishing, and the greens fairly fast.
The owners are perpetually tinkering with the course. During our play, two par 3s on the front were getting new tee boxes, while most of the back-nine boxes were replaced last year. The forward tees are mowed only a single swipe, so variety of position is removed.
About two years ago, the ownership group dug out some dirt to add a little (alright, a lot) of water to holes 14 and 15, making them more remarkable and the course more competitive. It also seeded the greens with champion bermuda grass.
"Our biggest competition in the area ... their greens aren't quite as nice," Ringer boasted.
"I like the tract of land," said member Bill Suggs, a 14 handicapper. "It has good fairways and greens. Overall, for a public course, on a scale of 10, I'd give it a 7."
Shadowmoss Plantation has a long history, opening back in 1970 in an area once famous for plantations. Since then, one can tell that hoards of houses have sprung up around the course, but only on a few holes are they obtrusive. On those occasions, odds are good that you'll lose a ball to a fenced-in backyard. Around much of the course, however, the forest has been preserved to the extent that it shields houses from view.
More recently, the course was selected by Golf Digest as "the best golf value in Charleston." It was also the only course in the county selected to host the South Carolina State Open.
Shadowmoss Plantation offers its most creativity on its par 5s. The 525-yard middle tee No. 5 lays a ditch across the fairway for your approach shot, about 140 yards from the green.
No. 8 snakes around a water hazard and the forward tees try to trick you by pointing to a left-side water hazard. Don't fall for it.
At 500 yards, No. 15 is a tight puppy that demands some compromise. You're going to have to submit on your second shot to position for the approach.
At 319 yards from the middle tees, No. 14 is a pretty hole with a good amount of water between the back tees and the fairway, and the liquid stays along the left length of the fairway. Making the par 4 is a enjoyable challenge.
Shadowmoss Plantation's closing four holes will stay with you for a couple of reasons. First, the end of 15 through the start of 17 is very congested, which is a little distracting. But 17 and 18 spread out and promise some lasting memories. No. 17 gives you a ditch to clear, plus a bunker in the fairway that just cries for you to try it and shave off a little distance on the right dogleg. But there is a price if you fail. It's sharply banked, so a short iron is all you can use to escape. Add a stroke.
No. 18 is a beautiful hole with a sharp dogleg right, the second shot leading over a pond to an elevated green. Oh yes, and it's surrounded by a lot of bunkers. Off the tee, leave the driver in the bag, because there isn't any room for error between a bunker left and water right.
Almost 40 years old, this semi-private course finds way to stay fresh and challenging. It's a laid-back, casual course with golf for everyone, where players are warmly welcomed and invited to come again. Shadowmoss Plantation has some great features, primarily its greens and bunkers - a good chance to find out if you have a sand game. It's a course that accommodates every type of golfer with ways around hazards and a variety of tees.
September 29, 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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