As we’ve well documented here at Golfer’s Authority, South Carolina is the ultimate golf destination on the East Coast. Home to places like Myrtle Beach, it’s not hard to see why. Not to mention the weather is darn near perfect 12 months out of the year.
What you might not realize is that the community of Columbia, while less famous, is another outstanding golf destination. That’s especially true in terms of bang for your buck. Some of the most affordable golf in the state can be found in and around the Columbia area.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best options.
The Windermere Club
Pete Dye was the mastermind behind the 18 magnificent holes at the Windermere Club. And these holes are memorable, let me be the first to tell you. In typical Dye fashion, site lines are intimidating, and misses are punished.
While this course is certainly difficult, it’s playable for everyone. There are five sets of tees to choose from.
The layout itself is fairly straightforward. There’s only one forced carry and no severe doglegs. What you see is what you get.
An all-around memorable experience, I can’t wait to play the Windermere Club again.
Golden Hills Golf and Country Club
Even though Golden Hills maintains a thriving private membership, it’s open to everyone.
Set amongst rolling hills and featuring holes lined by gorgeous trees, this parkland setting has been described as tranquil. The property has an interesting history as well. It was originally part of the Christopher Caughman Plantation in the early 1800’s.
Designed by Ron Garl, you won’t be bored at Golden Hills. A wide variety of holes allow you chances to be aggressive at times, while a more conservative approach is necessary at others.
An overall great experience for the right price.
Timberlake Country Club
Timberlake Country sits on the shores of Lake Murray. Thanks to its setting alone, it’s one of the most picturesque courses in the state.
Willard C. Byrd designed this track which isn’t considered long by modern standards. With that said, it’s rated 139 from the back tees. Don’t let the short yardage fool you.
The mixture of holes has something for everyone. The first hole is relatively benign being a par five that only measures 483 yards. It won’t take long for the course to grab your attention though as a tough stretch of holes follows.
Another tremendous option at fair price, I’m all about Timberlake Country Club.
Indian River Golf Club
Lynn Young designed Indian River Golf Club which opened for play in 1992.
Large greens and frequent elevation changes are the hallmarks of this course, making it different from a lot of other tracks in the area.
While the greens aren’t difficult to hit, their considerable undulations can make putting difficult if you get out of position.
A hole you won’t forget is the par five 7th which measures some 604 yards from the tips. A dogleg right, you’ll need three good shots to get home in regulation. Par is a good score here.
A breath of fresh air, Indian River is fun to play.
Edgewater Golf Club
Edgewater Golf Club is considered by many one of the best kept secrets in South Carolina.
Located just outside the community of Lancaster, this difficult track winds its way through the beautiful South Carolina countryside.
Majestic Southern Pines line perfectly manicured fairways that are like hitting off carpet. The greens are large, undulating, and well-guarded by bunkers and the occasional hazard. If you want to score, you have to strike it well.
The staff has also been voted the “Friendliest Within 100 Miles.”
Even though it’s a bit of a drive from Columbia, there’s nothing not to like about Edgewater Golf Club.
The River Golf Club
There might not be a more scenic round of golf than that at River Golf Club.
Set along the banks of the Savannah River, this course offers an enjoyable round for golfers of all abilities. Multiple tees and a variety of holes are both fun and challenging. There are plenty of chances for risk and reward.
Aside from the outstanding layout, this property has every amenity you could imagine. Particularly notable is the Restaurant which features fresh, local fare and daily Chef’s Specials.
If you have a chance to play River Golf Club, don’t pass it up.
Cobblestone Park Golf Club
Cobblestone Park is one of the most underrated courses in the greater Columbia area. No less than 27 outstanding holes await.
Home to a collegiate event every year, the course was built to test the game’s best players.
Large features accent this modern design that’s as beautiful as it is challenging. If you’re new to the game or don’t hit it as far as you used to, don’t worry. Plenty of different tee options allow you to find a course yardage that suits your game.
When you come to play here, make sure to set aside some time to take advantage of all the amenities in the newly renovated 28,000 square foot clubhouse. You’ll find everything you need and more.
The Spur Course at Northwoods Golf Club
The Spur Course at Northwoods Golf Club was designed by P.B. Dye, son of the iconic Pete Dye.
A locals’ favorite for years, the atmosphere here is one of a private club, and that’s reflected in both the course and the amenities. Everything is top notch.
The course itself is approachable for everyone. If you want to test yourself, play the back tees which measure more than 6,800 yards. Not in the mood to beat yourself up? Play one of the multiple sets of forward tees and have fun.
This course is home to the Columbia City Pro-Am for a reason. Come find out why for yourself.
Riverside Golf Center
Looking for a casual round or day at the range with family or friends? You’ve come to the right place at Riverside Golf Center.
In addition to a full-service practice facility, there’s nine-hole par three course that’s a kick in the pants to play. None of the holes are overly long and they provide you the perfect place to work on your scoring clubs.
The entire property faces the Broad River providing memorable views.
In addition to golf, Riverside offers watersports rentals and a retail center to suit your every need.
Charwood Golf Club
Called “The Wood”, Charwood Golf Club is about as downhome a place as you’re going to find. The course has been family owned and operated since the 1960’s.
Locals and visitors keep coming back to Charwood not just for the great golf, but because of how they’re treated. Chances are you’ll be on a first name basis with the staff if you play here more than once.
The course itself isn’t long, but it’s fun to play. The fairways on the front nine are open and encourage you to let the big dog eat. While the back nine is narrower, there are still plenty of opportunities for red numbers.
Ask anyone that’s played here, and they’ll tell you it’s an experience you won’t forget.
If you’re looking for a golf getaway on the East Coast, but don’t want to pay through the nose or deal with crowds, Columbia, South Carolina is the place to be.
Not only is the weather outstanding all year, the people, amenities, and golf are everything you’d expect. I can’t wait to get back to this part of the country.
Thanks to everyone that contributed their thoughts to this guide. You know who you are, and I can’t thank you enough.
If you have more you’d like to add, drop us a note in the comments.