|Painting by Carrol Ezel of David Dee's shipment|
The first documented golf played in North America was right here in Charleston, although some dispute this notion and say New York was the first place. In the final analysis, the collective facts tilt in favor of Charleston. The most compelling of the facts revolve around a Scottish shipping merchant by the name of David Dees. David Dees moved to Charleston from Leith, Scotland, the place famous for organizing the first golf club in 1744. Dee's was also a store owner on E. Bay St. in the famous Rainbow Row. In 1743 Dee's received a shipment of 96 clubs and 432 balls from the Port of Leith. A very sizable shipment suggesting there was an active market in Charleston for acquiring this necessary equipement, at the time called mashies (clubs) and featheries (balls).
Existing written accounts show there was a golf association that played at Harleston's Green, a public park between what is now Calhoun and Bull Streets, east of Rutledge. This green area was commonly used by the public for riding and socializing. There was no permanent course as of yet, so they would dig holes around the park and hit the balls into them. William's Coffee House on the corner of Bay Street and Tradd served as the groups "club house". The first golf club was formed years later in 1786 called the South Carolina Golf Club. The Gazette, a Charleston newspaper of the time, made reference to the clubs scheduled events. Not so surprising, most of the members were of Scottish decent of which Charleston had a substantial population. A similar group of golfers was formed a few years later in neighboring Savannah.
|11th hole Country Club of Charleston|
The South Carolina Golf Club's claim to fame is substantiated by the fact it has been listed as the oldest golf club in the United states by the USGA. The present day course, built in 1925, is called the Country Club of Charleston. It is located at 1 Country Club Drive. The course is home to one of the most feared holes in the Southeast. The 187-yard, par 3, number 11 is also the courses signature hole. It has a mounded green with an eleven foot deep bunker on the right and a seven foot bunker on the left. The intimidation is avoiding the deep bunkers off the tee because from there the picture isn't a pretty one.
This coming August 9-12, the Charleston area will be center stage in the world of golf. The 94th PGA Championship will be played on the No. 1 toughest course in the United States, the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. The ranking was from a list of 75 registered courses compiled by Golf Digest. On March 22, reigning PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, visited the course for the first time during Media Day and said this about the course, “I think it’s a great track. It was very difficult, but fair at the same time. It’s going to take a complete player to win on the Ocean Course." He also raised the spector of the wind playing the Devils Advocate when he further said, “If the wind blows when we’re here in August, I think the winning score could be over par." Outside of Scotland and Ireland, the Ocean Course has more seaside holes than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere.
|17th hole tee on the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island|
You can play golf all year round in beautiful, historic Charleston. There are 20 championship golf courses around the Charleston area to choose from. With the 94th PGA Championship coming in August, Charleston's area hotels are offering plenty of golf packages for your convenience. Tickets for the Championship can still be purchased for the week days. So, grab your clubs and have some fun. When on the course, keep your expectations reasonable and you won't spoil a good walk.
|My golf game|