Best Public-Access Golf Courses in South Carolina | Kiawah Island

The 10 Best Golf Courses in South Carolina 

With its temperate climate and pristine landscapes, South Carolina is home to some of the best golf courses in the country. And with over 100 public-access golf courses throughout the state, avid golfers are never short of options for a memorable round.

Whether you currently live in the Palmetto State or are planning an upcoming visit, continue reading to discover the best public golf courses in South Carolina to put your game to the test. 

1. The Ocean Course – Kiawah Island, South Carolina 

Widely regarded as the top golf course in South Carolina, The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island is a slice of heaven for golf enthusiasts. Located on the easternmost point of the Island, The Ocean Course runs along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean and boasts breathtaking views of the crashing waves. As the host of several historic championships, including the recent 2021 PGA Championship, it’s no wonder The Ocean Course is one of the world’s most legendary courses. 

Designed by Pete Dye, the course was originally slated to be set behind the dunes; however, Dye’s wife, Alice, proposed raising the entire course to allow for a panoramic view of Kiawah’s picturesque shoreline from every hole. However, golfers should note that this new positioning results in a substantially more challenging course as players are exposed to unpredictable winds coming from different directions depending on the day. In fact, Dye ended up designing two courses in one — one for an easterly and the other for a westerly wind. 

2. May River Golf Course – Bluffton, South Carolina

Weaving throughout the maritime forest among century-old live oak trees and the banks of the May River, this Jack Nicklaus course is truly a sight to behold. Designed to challenge even the most experienced golfers, the 7,171-yard course features strategically placed bunkers, fast greens, and rolling terrain to put your skills to the test. Keep in mind that this course is only open to the public if you are a guest at the Montage Palmetto Bluff resort. 

3. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club – Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Situated on Pawleys Island, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is known for its pristine landscape among marsh, streams, and a picturesque lake. Built on a 350-year-old rice plantation and originally designed by Mike Strantz, the 6,526-yard, par-70 course is known for its remarkable design that is seamlessly integrated into the surrounding landscapes. 

4. Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 

Next on the list of best golf courses in South Carolina is Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. Designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, this 7,099 yard, par 71 course is considered to be one of the most mentally-challenging courses in the country. Most notable, the par-four 18th hole is known as one of Dye’s greatest achievements due to its unique design along the water’s edge. Players also enjoy the view of the iconic red and white lighthouse just beyond the green. 

5. Turtle Point Golf Course – Kiawah Island, South Carolina 

A second course located on Kiawah Island, Turtle Point exemplifies Jack Nicklaus’ design philosophy to “make the player use his mind ahead of his muscles—to control his emotions sufficiently to really think through his options before drawing a club from the bag.” Recently undergoing a comprehensive nine-month renovation in 2016, sweeping improvements to the course included re-grassing with Paspalum, rebuilding all bunkers, laser-leveling all tee boxes, and reestablishing irrigation throughout the course. Turtle Point has also hosted several tournaments including PGA Cup matches, the Carolinas Amateur, and the Carolinas PGA. 

6. True Blue Golf Club – Pawleys Island, South Carolina 

A sister course to the number three spot on our list, True Blue is renowned for its creative design featuring expansive fairways and rolling greens. Designed by infamous golf course architect Mike Strantz, True Blue is known as one of the most genuinely fun courses for players of every skill level. 

7. TPC Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Located in the Murrells Inlet area, the Tournament Players Club of Myrtle Beach, designed by Tom Fazio, is one of the most prestigious courses in the Grand Strand area. Awarded five stars by Golf Digest magazine, the modern and luxurious layout is a must-play for avid golfers. 

8. Osprey Point Golf Course – Kiawah Island, South Carolina 

Formerly an exclusive Kiawah Island Club members-only golf course, Osprey Point on Kiawah Island has since evolved into a championship-level public course with a world-class layout. Completely renovated in 2014 by course architect Tom Fazio, today’s Osprey Point combines playability with natural beauty. Each hole on Osprey Point is unique and memorable—with a variety of challenging par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s ranging in length from 340 to 461 yards.

9. The Walker Course – Clemson, South Carolina

Located at Clemson University, The Walker Course is recognized as one of the top courses in upstate South Carolina. Designed by DJ DeVictor, this course is situated along Lake Hartwell and is conveniently located nearby the center of campus. The 6,911 yard, par 72 course boasts Diamond Zoysia greens and Bermuda fairways and can be enjoyed by beginners and professionals alike. 

10. Tidewater Golf Club – North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 

Situated between the Intracoastal Waterway and Cherry Grove Inlet, Tidewater Golf Club offers breathtaking scenery and a design that has been recognized as one of the best golf courses in South Carolina. With nine holes that play along the Cherry Grove tidal inlet, players revere in the seaside views and top-quality greens. 

Experience World-Class Golf on Kiawah Island 

Comprising some of the best golf courses in South Carolina, Kiawah Island is truly a golfer’s dream. With a total of five public courses and two private offerings exclusive to the Kiawah Island Club, Kiawah Island is not just a destination, but a true golf community. 

For those looking to take their love of the sport further, we invite you to visit the Island to gain more insight into the lifestyle of our residents. With world-class courses at your fingertips, living on Kiawah Island is a golfer’s dream.