The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation north of Charleston, S.C.: A municipal course that does it all right
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. -- The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation offers 27 holes, all with sharply sloped greens and lots and lots of bunkers, two elements the course does very well. The greens are smooth as glass, and the bunkers are carefully shorn to remain hard-chined with light, fluffy sand inside.
The clubhouse is a two-story affair with a covered veranda girdling the building. Inside is a welcoming grill area with polished wood floors and a couple of fireplaces.
Outside, the launch area for the three nines is centered at the bag drop and can be a little hectic. But the staff is adept at traffic control, and you'll be on your way in no time. I played The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation's Black Robin Course, considered the hardest of the three, and the Oak Forest Course, considered the easiest. The Burn Kill Course is the other nine at Wescott Plantation.
Black Robin holes of note
The Black Robin Course at Wescott Plantation uses its second hole as an alarm clock after a gentle first hole. It's a complicated par-4 dogleg right with bunkers or water everywhere you look and not a lot of wiggle room to land your drive. Fortunately, it's a short 320-yarder from the whites, so use your precision clubs here. I imagine a few hearty souls try for the green off the tee. Godspeed, gentlemen, Godspeed.
The par-4 sixth is a slice stealer. You slice, you swim. In fact, there's trouble on the right from start to finish, thanks to a waste bunker that picks up where the water leaves off.
The par-3 eighth is a spunky thing, with water pressed up against the left side, a bunker past that and another on the right and a steep drop-off behind the green, which sharply slopes from back to front.
The ninth is a links-like par 5 with a fairway stripped between strings of bunkers on both sides, two of them pinching the fairway into near nothingness about 150 yards from the green. Tackle the green from the left.
The Oak Forest Course at Wescott Plantation
Oak Forest, which is set away from the clubhouse, offers some risk and reward but opens gently with a roomy dogleg left and a cluster of bunkers left of the green.
The risk and reward arrives on the par-5 fourth hole that hides a few bunkers behind some mounds on the right side of the fairway, so go for what you can see in the center. There's more trouble with water encroaching from the right closer to the green and a megabunker stretches across the left half of the green. It's a sophisticated hole.
Sam Perkins, a 10-handicap, likes that the nines aren't all the same and holes have some creativity.
"Bunkers are right where you might not expect them," he said, specifically referring to No. 4. "I thought I had a pretty good drive until I found my ball in a bunker."
The dogleg fifth hole begs you to fly the bunker at the corner. It's a short par 4. You can do it. If you take the long way, it tips the scales at 413 from the whites.
The eighth hole gives you a small window to thread your shot to the par-3 green. A tree and bunker take much of the right side out of play. But it's a very deep green -- a blessing to land on, a curse to try to two-putt.
"It's a fun course to play," said Mike McLochlin, who plays Wescott Plantation fairly often. "It's not particularly long and it's very playable for us amateurs. They keep the greens in decent shape."
It also helps that the houses aren't right on top of the course. "It's not too bad with the OB," said McLochlin.
The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation: The verdict
"One of our trademarks is the conditions of the greens," said Steven Rudd, head professional at The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation. That dedication shows. The Bermuda greens were top notch.
The course also can nearly assure a four-hour round, even when pushing through 160 players in a day, thanks to 27 holes and a dogged ranger.
"No matter when you want to play, we can pretty much get you on the course," Rudd said.
The 10-year-old course is even more impressive when you realize it's a municipal course, owned by the City of North Charleston, although it zigzags into Summerville. It is well managed by Classic Golf Management and was designed by Michael Hurdzan, the 2007 recipient of the Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
"The course can play as tough as you want," Rudd said, referring to five tee sets that top out at 7,210 yards from the Burn/Black tips, down to 5,018 yards from the reds on the same combo.
"As you move back, the landing zones tighten up," Rudd said.
There is nothing boring about this course. Each hole is different and the course mixes up green sizes, regardless of par. That's a nice surprise. The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation does just about everything right. Check it out.
March 15, 2011