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Destination Georgia: Five must-play golf courses in Savannah

Stan AwtreyBy Stan Awtrey,
Wilmington Island Golf Course
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Donald Ross opened the dandy Wilmington Island Golf Course in 1927. (Courtesy of wilmingtonislandclub.com)

No one will argue that Savannah, Georgia is one of the great destination cities in the Southeast.

It has that old-world charm, the pace is still slow and the people are friendly. And if you can't get a good meal in Savannah, you just aren't trying very hard. You could almost roll out of bed and find a good place to eat by accident, even if you don't have money or time to hunt down Food Network's Paula Deen and her extremely popular "Lady and Sons" restaurant.

Now that you've found a place to fill your belly and one of the bed-and-breakfasts to rest your weary bones, you're probably ready to play some golf. You're in luck there, too. Savannah has plenty of nice options for golfers of all economic capabilities.

Here are five Savannah-area golf courses you need to play:

The Club at Savannah Harbor

The Club at Savannah Harbor is a fun golf course that was designed by Bob Cupp, with assistance from the great Sam Snead. It hosts the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf event every year, a staple of the Champions Tour.

Guests who stay on property get first dibs on tee times, but that shouldn't be a problem. One option is to stay at the resort and take a water taxi across the Savannah River and enjoy an evening on River Street, Savannah's entertainment district.

Wilmington Island Golf Course

Donald Ross opened the dandy Wilmington Island Golf Course in 1927, and the live oaks and pine trees from that day are much larger. There are 80 bunkers scattered around the course, which maxes out at 6,876 yards.

What other golf course requires you to reach it by traveling down Johnny Mercer Boulevard? The Savannah native wrote the lyrics to the immortal song "Moon River."

Southbridge Golf Club

There's the potential to find water on every hole of Southbridge Golf Club, a Rees Jones design. The water, plus the trees that line most of the holes, are tolerable due to the large green complexes.

This course opened in 1989 and began the spurt of golf development in the area. There's been an effort over the last few years to freshen it up a bit.

Bacon Park Golf Course

Three entertaining nine-hole courses greet you at Bacon Park Golf Course, with the longest being the 3,428-yard Live Oak course. The Cypress layout may require the most forethought (and the most golf balls) with water potentially coming into play on seven holes.

Crosswinds Golf Club

Things here at Crosswinds Golf Club come in fives - five tee boxes, five par 5s and five par 3s.

The parkland-style golf course isn't long (6,609 from the tips), but it is an entertaining way to spend an afternoon. Crosswinds Golf Club's final hole, a risk-reward par 5, is a fun way to finish the day. There's also an enjoyable executive course at Crosswinds G.C. available for a warmup or to enjoy with the kids.

Bonus pick: Historic Mary Calder Golf Club

Don't overlook: The historic Mary Calder Golf Club, a nine-hole course that dates back to 1937. It's well-maintained and enjoyable to play. It's just not easy to find.

More photos

Southbridge Golf Club - hole 8Crosswinds Golf Club

Stan Awtrey spent 25 years as a sports writer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is editor of Golf Georgia, the official magazine of the Georgia State Golf Association, and writes a weekly column for PGATOUR.com. His work has appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Substance

    Roger Boatwright wrote on: Sep 24, 2009

    These kind of stories do nothing for me. It has no substance. It is like the reader's digest ... let's chop the real story in half and just give enough information to tell me nothing. Why do you continue to do stuff like this? Give me something to chew on. After reading this I feel like I have no clue about golf in Savannah. I just don't get worldgolf.com. You guys need to rethink what you goals are. This ain't it.