Bloody Point offers fine golf on Daufuskie Island
DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. (Sept. 12, 2003) -- Even though it's just a short ferry ride away, golf on Daufuskie Island offers a totally different feel than nearby Hilton Head Island, where about a million visitors annually tee it up on some two dozen different courses. No news there, particularly.
Staten Island is but a short ferry from Manhattan, and nobody would confuse them either.
Bloody Point is one of the three courses on Daufuskie. It's atypical for several reasons. There are just a couple of homes, almost no cart paths and just a scattering of people. It's in direct contrast to your average Hilton Head golf experience, where the foursomes practically line up and take a number like at the bakery, and almost every tee shot must be steered away from someone's backyard or patio.
"Many of our customer comments reference that it's like belonging to a private golf club," offers Director of Golf John Ferrebee. "The speed of play and lack of course traffic are among the most attractive attributes of Bloody Point."
Bloody Point is a Tom Weiskopf-Jay Morrish design, the only course this prolific partnership ever created in the Carolina Lowcountry. That is in and of itself a bonus, as the area is overrun with far too many Nicklaus, Dye, Cobb and Fazio courses. In certain ways it's nice to have a just a single example of an architects work, even if said architects are among the best of their generation.
One tremendous bonus here in the land of "cart ball" is the walking-friendly nature of Bloody Point. It's normally just a short walk between greens and tees, and ambling around the course in lieu of riding is truly a viable option.
Bloody Point is a parkland style course, unfortunately making little use of the water that surrounds the island. It would've been nice to see a golf course created that made liberal use of the spectacular water views that should be available in abundance. Instead the designers crafted a perfectly serviceable and playable layout that makes liberal use of wetlands. The course will challenge but not overwhelm, playing just under 6,500 yards from the middle tees, with a slope rating of 128.
"Our course is quite player-friendly, but with some nuance," continues Ferrebee. "There are some lovely views of the Mungen, the river separating South Carolina and Georgia, and we offer a solid test of the game for all levels of players."
The front nine is a bit nondescript, its holes playing back, forth and back again in a routing with little imagination. The inward nine is where the golf course shows more character. The 10th in a tiny par-4 that can be reached with a big drive, although the prudent play is probably a mid-iron. The 13th is an excellent hole; a 400-yard par-4 with water bordering the green. A robust tee shot will call for a mid-iron to the green, but anything short or crooked, particularly a ball that ends up bunkered on the left portion of the fairway, will give the thoughtful player pause.
The golf course concludes in strong fashion. The 16th is a narrow par-4 of 415 yards, and the 17th a 175-yard, par-3 with the Mungen River visible behind the green, truly the only real water view available on the property. The final hole plays back away from the water, a reachable par-5 of 515 yards, featuring a green with a bunker set in the middle. A bit odd, particularly if a player is forced to pitch over said hazard to reach a flag on the other portion of the putting surface.
It's a treat to play a golf course in such a natural state. Bloody Point is not de-conditioned in the least, as the fairways are lush and the greens roll true. Rather, the course eschews the manicured look that's so prevalent in most resort courses, and features thick rough, coarse sand in the bunkers, and a minimum of signage, cart paths and man-made interference of any kind. Players feel as they're off on a rustic golfing adventure, instead of being shepherded around via a series of signs, ropes and one way asphalt paths. The voters from the renowned Zagat survey feel strongly about Bloody Point as well. They recently voted the par 4s on the course as among the best set of two shot holes in the nation.
Green fees, which include cart usage, unlimited range balls and the ferry ride from Hilton Head Plantation, are quite reasonable. Summer rates range from $80 in the morning down to $68 in the afternoon. What's less reasonable is the $2.50 charge in the grille room for a can of soda. Granted, Daufuskie is an island, and all goods must be freighted over, but it's not Tahiti. The thick stuff bordering the fairways is penal, but there's no good reason to lower the height of the rough. Just lower the price of a Pepsi, and everyone will go home satisfied.
September 12, 2003