SUMMERVILLE, S.C. -- The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation is a grand place, with an impressive clubhouse encircled by a large veranda and 27 walkable holes that keep houses at a respectful distance.
Designed by Michael Hurdzan in 2000, the course owned by the City of North Charleston offers smooth, sloped greens and a host of bunkers along fairways and at the greens.
The best part of the course is the variety. The greens vary in size, with some target greens on par 3s; others are football fields. The same goes for the par 4s and par 5s, too. You can't assume anything. Do assume, though, that the greens will be in good shape, summer or winter.
The bunkers mix it up, too. Some are small and flat, others are aggressive and three-dimensional. All are filled with light, fluffy sand. Chances are, you'll get to experience that up close and personal.
The golf course is well maintained, down to the meticulously clipped edges of those bunkers and concrete cart paths throughout. It's run like a well oiled machine by attentive, friendly staff, from the hectic staging area at the bag drop to the warm welcome in the grill.
Each of the nines have five tee sets from which to choose, the longest exceeding 7.200 yards, the shortest a shade more than 5,000.
"Oak Forest is the most player friendly," Wescott Plantation Head Professional Steven Rudd said. "It has a little more room. Black Robin is a little more demanding off the tee."
Nearly all of the holes give you a bounding route to the green if flying the ball isn't your specialty.
"Black Robin is my least favorite," said Mike McLochin, a 20-handicap player. "It's a little narrower and a little longer."
To add some challenge, Wescott Plantation's Black Robin Course uses bunkers on occasion to pinch landing areas to near nothingness, as they do to your second shot on the par-5 ninth hole. The most interesting hole of the nine is the second hole, a short par 4 that requires one of two approaches. You can opt for precision off the tee to give yourself a short iron to the elevated, offset green guarded by bunkers at the far corner. Or you can summon some chutzpah to go for the green over a thick woods. It's a hole that would be difficult to play the same way twice, given the array of perils each shot faces.
Wescott Plantation's Oak Forest Course has its own par 4 that entices you to try for the green from the tee, this time over a raised bunker at the inside corner of No. 5, a dogleg right. The huge green has bunkers leading up to it and at its sides.
The Burn Kill Course at Wescott Plantation front-loads its par 5s, one at No. 2, a long straight affair that weighs in at 533 yards from the white tees. A pesky bunker drifts in from the left to threaten your second shot. No. 4 also is straight, but with a bunker in the middle of the fairway to check overly ambitious drives.
It also floats the green on the par-3 eighth hole in the middle of a waste bunker and plops a couple more bunkers nearly across the front.
No matter which nine you play, pay attention, because no two holes are alike. Plus, a few hazards are where you don't expect them.
"It's a nice, fun course to play," McLochin said.
The best part of the Golf Club at Wescott Plantation is the variety between holes and between the three nines. You can play this course again and again and it never plays the same way because of how it lays out. Playing up the left side of a hole can be very different from playing the right. You’ll also use every club in your bag and put nearly every skill to the test, from drives to chips to sand shots.
The clubhouse, ideal for special events, also is a very pleasant place to hang out after your round. From the variety, conditions and ambiance, Wescott Plantation has attributes you won't find at many other municipal golf courses. Well done, North Charleston.
June 27, 2011