Golden Hills Golf & Country Club Reviews

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$$$$$$100 and up
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
100 Scotland Dr
Lexington, SC 29072-8052
(803) 957-3355
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chanticleersportif

Ron Garl, being greatly influenced by Dr Alister Mackenzie, becamed intriqued when approached with the chance to design Golden Hills. Ron saw similarities between this old dairy farm, and Fruitlands Nursery; which is now Augusta National.

Rolling terrian, among towering pines, with a creek running through it, beckoned Ron to be able to design a course like his mentor did in Augusta 60 years ago. Ron felt the same way Bobby Jones did when Jones was first shown Fruitlands, "Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course on it."

Ron Garl subscribed to the theory held by Mackenzie that courses should be less artificial in appearance, more nature-made, and thus more pleasurable to play and less costly to maintain. This fit the bill for John Berry, the owner of the old dairy farm. So, a harmonious partnership was born; Garl got a chance to mold a course from land similar to Augusta National, and Berry secured a noted architect, who could keep him under budget. It was quite a coup, for Berry.

Funny you mention #5 green. When Ron saw that piece of land, he envisioned the 12th green at Augusta. Both greens are near facsimilies. Both have the golfer hitting into the northeast quadrant of the course. Both are the same size. Only difference, water is behind the green, and a long narrow bunker, fronts the green, at Golden Hills. Thus, the golfer encounters the same treacherous, swirling winds that he/she would at Augusta. If your approach shot is 145 yards out, it's just like your playing the 12th at Augusta National.

Only Ron could pull this off. He did the same thing at another SC course, The Tradition Club at Pawleys Island. The 14th hole there, is about as close as you can get to 15th at Augusta. Ron liked his work here so much here, he became part-owner.

So Golden Hills came in under budget, and opened to much fanfare. Several top golfers joined there, and everything was going great....Until the real estate phase of the golfing community began. I believe if Ron knew where the housing setbacks would be put, he would have never put his name on it. It was really obsene. Many of the top players bailed. The setbacks put a real dichotomy between Ron and John Berry. To this day, Ron doesn't refer to Golden Hills in any way, shape or form.

It's really sad, that someone put their heart and soul into molding a golf course, from a beautiful piece of land, while keeping it in one, with nature. Ron achieved this, and enhanced this old dairy farm, into a course the golfing masses could treasure. But, it was ripped apart, by greed. This, from a person who didn't share in the same vision and philosophy, of the course architect known as "the renaissance man".

clubspecial

3

This is a course that winds through an upper-middle class neighborhood. It's situated on an old diary farm, with rolling hills and a meandering stream, which is dammed at various junctures, creating several ponds.

The designer Ron Garl, was left with limited use of land to design this par 71 course. Therefore, out of bounds come into play, on 15 of the 18 holes.

Accuracy off the tee is the key, as is ball placement on the greens. Garl has given several greens severe undulation, where 3 putts are the norm, if you're above the hole. Many players say the grade of the greens are too penal, whereas they become unplayable due to the ball not being able to be at rest. Holes 2 and 17 come to mind.

Another questions golfers have on Garl's design, is the longest par 4 on the course; #6. Garl has the golfer playing into the prevailing wind, onto the wettest fairway on the course. Many feel this was short-sighteness on Garl's part. Whereas he should have put the tees further up, and put the short par 4 5th green, where the present 6th tees are. This would make the 5th a stronger hole, and bring water into play on the approach shot.

The par 4 11th, is also deemed too penal, due to the narrow chute the golfer has to navigate on his teeshot. Many feel the course should cut down some trees, to give the golfer a better chance. I've played golf all over the state of SC, and have never had to hit through such a narrow chute. Even Palmetto Golf Club, in Aiken, known for chutes, has no where near this type of narrow chute.

Overall, Ron Garl did an adequate job, with what he had to work with. It's an interesting test of golf, where you have to think your way around. It also helps if you can work the ball. A little TLC could go a long way on this course. Rebuild the greens, lessening the grade on some. Put in Champions Bermuda. Rebuild and level the teeboxes. Take out some trees and repave the cartpaths.

From what I've read in the papers, the owner wants to raze the course and develop it. She states that running a golf course is not exactly a profitable endeavor. The town then summarily, rezoned the course so she couldn't go through with her plans. Therefore, I wouldn't expect any improvements to this course, anytime soon.