Saturday, February 19, 2011

A February Day At Charleston National-One of Many Charleston Gems

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to golf Charleston National in Mt. Pleasant with my regular golfing buddies. The weather was perfect, in the high seventies. The wind was somewhat brisk, adding an ingredient of challenge. It was Charleston sunshine throughout the whole day. While the weather was perfect, my game was far less than perfect or to put it aptly, not up to par. I had a good day driving off the tee, but my second and third shots were contributing factors to my downfall.

The course was crowded. Everyone obviously had the same idea. It was a Friday and a game of golf looked more appealing than a day in the office. Alot of out-of-state plates lined the parking lot as well. The picturesque fairways were pleasant and the greens were well groomed. At first glance, the fairways at Charleston National are more forgiving than other golf courses, until you get to the back nine, especially from fifteen to eighteen.

There you cross the weedy marshes over bridges to arrive at the next tee box. An ominous warning sign posted along the edge stated, "Spiders, snakes, and alligators inhabit the marshes, do not enter." I think its real intent was to discourage golfers from retrieving their badly placed balls because if you didn't hit a good tee shot, your ball would be swallowed up by the natural wetlands the course is carved out of. You can look at it two ways, either the course designer wanted to save the worst for last or the best for last. It would depend on your point of view.

Adjacent to the tee box on seventeen, overlooking the waterway, was a beautiful mansion-like home. The owner was out manicuring what appeared to be a man-made beach that ran along the side and back of his beautifully landscaped property. The hole itself was a sharp dog-leg to the left with the marsh in front and bunkers lining the fairway beyond. Too short, you were in the weeds, too long, your were in the sand. The eighteenth hole was a complete surprise. I have never golfed a course that ended with a par three. Overlooking the intra-coastal waters, the eighteenth green was about 140 yards on the otherside of a marshy channel of water with the flag placement close to its front edge.

Sulking somewhat over the muffed three wood shots and failed excecution of some easy putts throughout the afternoon, I was anticipating the end to the misery and cracking open a Yuengling for a final farewell. I pulled out my eight iron and watched my fellow golfers pitch their balls into the grassy waters short of the green. I then decided to switch to the five. I set myself, took a final gaze at the flag, and let it rip. The ball sailed high into the air with a slight draw to the right. It was a thing of beauty to watch as it landed and rolled about 14 feet passed the flag. Finishing the day with a par on a tough hole helped in recovering some of my battered pride. The final analysis proved once again a bad day of golf is better than a good day at work.
Charleston National is a Rees Jones designed championship golf course that is open to the public year round. Rated by Golf Digest as the best non-resort course in the Charleston area. Another course close by is Rivertowne Country Club, an Arnold Palmer’s signature design with low country hospitality. It is given high 4.5 Star Rating by Golf Digest’s Places to Play. Still another is Dunes West Golf Club,  an Arthur Hills design located on the site of the historic Lexington Plantation.-Courtesy Vacation Rick Travel

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