Your Charleston golf itinerary

By October 25, 2010, 3:58 pm
kiawah 18 clubhouse
No. 18 at Kiawah's Ocean Course (Courtesy Kiawah)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – At the Nationwide Tour Championship, golf’s next generation gets one last shot at earning a PGA Tour card for next year. But while the pressure is palpable at tournament host site Daniel Island Club, the Charleston area is actually one of the most relaxing and enjoyable weekend golf getaways in the country.

From its historic downtown, to its blossoming restaurant scene, to area golf options like the Ocean Course at Kiawah Resort, Wild Dunes and Patriots Point, the old Charleston is truly a great golf vacation.

The city's motto is 'Knowledge itself is power.' So, armed with the following knowledge, here's your perfect itinerary for three days of golf in Charleston.

Friday

STAY: Charleston includes golf mecca Kiawah Island, host of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship. The resort is a 30-40-minute drive from the city, depending on traffic.

The resort’s hotel, The Sanctuary, is one of the most genteel settings imaginable. It can only be described as splendid, a five-diamond winner in 2007.
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This isn't one of those mammoth oceanfront hotels you may find in, say, Myrtle Beach. It's a mansion really, with wide, elegant staircases, beautiful oak floors and, almost always, views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The hotel has 255 rooms, with the smallest of the 'King' rooms coming in at 520 square feet, all comfortably furnished with four-poster beds, and all the amenities you would expect from a resort consistently ranked as one of the best in the country. There's a luxury spa, of course, as well as a variety of outdoor activities for the family.

There are also beachfront rental homes with private docks and luxury villas.

The service at Kiawah is as good as or better than any golf resort we’ve ever experienced.

PLAY: The world-renowned, Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course at Kiawah is a must-play in the area. The Ocean Course is one of five courses on the island, all designed by architects like Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Beware, the Ocean Course will wow you with its scenery, then eat your lunch for you.

Since you're staying here only a day, play the Ocean, and make sure you walk it with a caddie. This is the time to splurge.

EAT: Since Kiawah has enough of your money, we're going to take you into the heart of downtown Charleston.

Circa 1886 (149 Wentworth St., tel. (843) 853-7828) built in 1886, is located behind the Wentworth mansion. The restaurant has an excellent wine list to go with dishes like quail and duck with hazelnut-blackberry vinaigrette, and that's just for starters. A great view of Charleston from the cupola.

Saturday

STAY: The King Charles Inn (237 Meeting St. tel. (843) 723-7451) isn't a big fancy golf resort, nor is it particularly suited to the area's golf courses, in geographic terms. What the inn does have going for it, as far as golfers are concerned, is its location and its interest in golfers themselves.

The inn is smack dab in the historic district of Charleston, on Meeting Street, and caters to golfers. The lure is that they can stay in the interesting historic district, see the sights, and still reach most of Charleston's golf courses in a reasonably short drive time.

The building itself is part of Charleston's history. Built around 1830, it was the meeting place for area artists and poets, including Edgar Allen Poe, who used it as a weekend retreat when he was a soldier at Fort Moultrie.

The inn remodeled its upstairs lobby recently, and the owners plan another $5.5 million in renovations to the parking garage, rooms and exterior.

PLAY: Wild Dunes Resort is on Isle of Palms, fairly close to downtown. There are two top-notch Tom Fazio-designed courses, the Harbor and the Links, both nationally recognized tracks.

The Links plays along some giant sand dunes, befitting its name, and finishes along the Atlantic Ocean. The Harbor plays more inland; both are only about 20 minutes from the city.

EAT: Back downtown to Jestine's Kitchen (251 Meeting St., tel. (843) 722-7224) for a different experience. This is good, old-time soul food, lowcountry style. Named for a former laundress and housekeeper, you'll find Southern food here you thought was extinct: Hoppin' John, Frogmore stew, hog-head stew, deer burgers and more in an unpretentious downtown setting.

Sunday

EAT: We're fiddling with the order here because it's Sunday. Before you play, you'll be heading to Magnolia's (185 East Bay St., tel. (843) 577-7771) for its spectacular Sunday brunch. Yes, you can get fried green tomatoes and grits here. You can also get buttermilk fried chicken. Imagine ordering wine to go with that – you can.

PLAY: Patriots Point Golf Links meets some of the technical criteria of a true links course, which gives it the right, here in America, to advertise itself as a links course. If it had sand dunes, heather and a mildly inebriated Scot hanging around the clubhouse, it would be as links a course as any in Scotland.

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, with historic downtown Charleston just across the harbor.

STAY: The perfect place for your last night. The location of Shem Creek Inn (1401 Shrimpboat Ln., tel. (843) 881-1000) is the primary reason it’s one of the more popular places to stay in the Charleston area.

The inn overlooks the creek of the same name, but its street address – on Shrimpboat Lane – tells the real story.

Guests can watch the shrimp boats heading out to Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean every morning, while lounging around with a cup of still-steaming coffee on the pool deck.

Shem Creek Inn has 50 rooms, so guests get the sort of personalized service they may not find at larger hotels. Every room has a private balcony with great views of the creek and surrounding marshes.

Those rooms, as well as all the public areas of the inn, received a recent $600,000 renovation that included new carpets, wall vinyl and furnishings.

The inn is located on the Mt. Pleasant waterfront, just across the Cooper River Bridge, about five miles from downtown Charleston. The home of the Charleston shrimp boat fleet, the area is surrounded by restaurants, shopping and attractions like beaches, golf courses and antique malls.

Whether you’re a PGA Tour star, or a casual golfer looking for a great weekend, Charleston has something for you.
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.