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South Carolina: 72 holes in 72 hours

By Mike McAllister
SI.com

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The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is ranked No. 8 among the top 10 public courses in the country.

SOUTH CAROLINA COURSES

Caledonia Golf and Fish Club: Yardage/Par: 6,526/70. Greens fees: $145. 800-483-6800. http://www.fishclub.com

Barefoot Resort and Golf: Yardage/Par: 7,047/72. Greens fees: $80-$145. 877-767-1568. http://www.barefootgolf.com

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club: Yardage/Par: 7,165/72 Greens fees: $160. 866-386-3722.

The Ocean Course: Yardage/Par: 7,296/72. Greens fees: $245. 888-854-2924. http://www.kiawahgolf.com

Alternative courses: Tidewater, True Blue, Cougar Point, Turtle Point

NEXT WEEK

Next week we'll travel to the Las Vegas, Nevada area.

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

South Carolina
Golf

(CNN) -- For the golfer, planning a weekend trip to South Carolina is like an art aficionado preparing to step inside the Louvre for a day. There are so many treasures to behold that the only way to do it justice is to make multiple visits. In Golf Digest's ranking of America's 100 Greatest Public Courses, 11 are in South Carolina. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

Consider the quandary faced by golfers who fly into Charleston, on the central South Carolina coastline. Do they head south toward the golfing Mecca of Hilton Head Island and its famed Harbour Town? Or do they go north toward Myrtle Beach? Tough call indeed.

The more predictable play, if there can be such a thing when travel planning, is south. After all, every golfer needs to check Harbour Town off his or her list of public courses to play.

But this weekend, we'll avoid the conventional approach and look north. Don't worry, Myrtle Beach will not disappoint.

After flying into Charleston International Airportexternal link on Friday morning, here's how we would play it the rest of the weekend.

Friday afternoon

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club: Since opening 10 years ago, this Pawleys Island course -- built on the site of an 18th century rice plantation -- has received numerous accolades.

The course winds through the many oaks and streams in the area.

And if you act fast, you can be one of the first to play on Caledonia's new Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass greens; the course has just reopened after a two-month conversion from Tifdwarf greens. Caledonia superintendent Jackson Clemons expects the new greens to offer more consistent putting conditions.

Saturday afternoon

Barefoot Resort & Golf Club: Decisions, decisions. When you reach the Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, you'll have your choice of four courses with a different designer for each: Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye.

The Love course gets the highest ranking from Golf Digest. No doubt Carolina native DLIII used his local knowledge to enhance his track with those particular nuances of a Lowcountry layout. The recreated ruins of an old plantation home can be found on holes 3 through 7.

Saturday afternoon

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club: The Dunes, another public course ranked among the top 100 by Golf Digest, underwent a greens restoration in 2003 in a project led by Rees Jones, the son of Robert Trent Jones, the architect of the course.

The course was built on a former deer and turkey hunting ground. The land also was an Air Force target range during World War II.

The signature hole, the 590-yard 13th with a severe dogleg right, once was ranked among the best par-5s in the country.

Sunday morning

The Ocean Course: What a way to end the weekend. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is ranked No. 8 among the top 10 public courses in the country, and is considered the best course in South Carolina (making it superior to even Harbour Town).

The site of the 1991 Ryder Cup matches, the Ocean Course will also be the host of the PGA Championship in 2012.

The course, designed by Pete Dye, runs along nearly 3 miles of oceanfront property, giving all 18 holes a view of the Atlantic. "There's no other golf course in the northern hemisphere that has as many seaside holes," Dye once said about his course.

One other note: If you watch the movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance" prior to your trip, you'll get a preview of the Ocean Course.

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