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.


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.


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.


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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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."