Golf and boxing are two very different sports, but Terry Sedalik, Executive Director of the SC and Charleston Golf Course Owners Association, uses a boxing analogy when talking about golf in the Charleston area.
“We’re fighting above our weight class,” said Sedalik of the growing popularity of golf in Charleston. People come to Charleston for its history and lively restaurant scene, he said. But the same people, professionals and regular Joes, also visit Charleston for its golf.
Golf in America has its roots in Charleston. The earliest record of the game in the New World was a delivery of golf clubs from Scotland in 1739 to Charleston businessman William Wallace. The game was played on Harleston Green, a public area on the Charleston Peninsula that was eventually overtaken by homes and the College of Charleston.
In May 2021, the golf world focused on the Kiawah Island Golf Resort when 50-year-old Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship on the Ocean Course, a sophisticated Pete Dye design that has been used for the Ryder Cup since it opened in 1991 -Games. During the CBS broadcast of the PGA Championship, the announcers praised global television audiences for not only the Ocean Course but the golf courses throughout the Charleston area.
Sedalik said all Kiawah golf courses and neighboring Seabrook Island golf courses were well booked during Mickelson’s March to Victory and future bookings looked positive. The remainder of such an event can last a year or more. And it spread to other golf courses in the area.
Though the craze for Mickelson continued, Charleston Golf gained more national recognition in June when Golf Magazine unveiled its first-ever ranking of America’s 30 Best Urban Golf Courses. Charleston Municipal, which reopened in December 2020 after a year-long renovation by local golf course architect Troy Miller, made it to number 19 on a list that included Torrey Pines, home of the 2021 US Open, Bethpage Black and Chambers Bay, all major championships Venues.
This buzz has been around for a number of years. In addition to the two PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup on the Ocean Course, the USGA (US Golf Association) hosted the US Women’s Amateur in 2013 and the US Women’s Open in the Country Club of Charleston in 2019. The RiverTowne Country Club in Mount Pleasant hosted an LPGA tournament for two years.
In addition to the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Charleston is also known for two other quality resorts – Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms and Seabrook Island next to Kiawah Island. There are also numerous public, semi-private, and private courses in the area designed by some of the best architects in the country. And while there are many courses out there, with its increasing popularity it can be difficult to book a tee time. Golf courses were among the first public facilities to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had a real chance, despite or because of the pandemic, to keep golf open as a safe sport,” Sedalik said. “We did a lot with government officials to make sure the standards were up and that kept the doors open in our business. We were open and people started social lives. They play together, go out and get some” Exercise and build relationships. I think this will continue. “
There are many great reasons to visit Charleston, and golf courses are high on the list.