The mounds around the green complexes differentiate the Marshwood Course from the other five golf courses at the residential golf community outside Savannah, Georgia.
SKIDAWAY ISLAND, Ga. - The Marshwood Course at the Landings on Skidaway Island combines many of the best elements of the other five golf courses at the sprawling golf community, just south of Savannah.
First of all, aesthetically, it has some of the better views of the marshes that envelop much of Skidaway island, like on No. 2, where the green at the par 5 is framed beautifully by the ever-changing marsh colors.
No. 11 plays directly toward Wassaw Sound, and No. 12 may have the best view of all the courses, with the wild grasses of Romerly Marsh blowing like a wheat field in the Atlantic breezes.
The greens are some of the best on the island, and some are huge and multi-tiered, with well-crafted slope and undulation.
Like the others, Marshwood is a parkland course, with tree-lined fairways and homes set back tastefully along the edges.
Also like the others, it's a fairly straightforward course - nothing too tricky for the members.
"There aren't a lot of hidden problems," said Head Professional Jim Hazel. "Everything's right in front of you."
What sets Marshwood apart are the mounds that border and influence many of the green surrounds. You don't have to fire at the flag repeatedly; you can use the mounds and humps around the greens to funnel your approach shots toward the hole. It can be a blast when you wield your 7 iron like a pool cue.
"Marshwood is a fun golf course to play," Hazel said. "It's got a good mixture of long and short holes, and it gets you out by the marsh. To me, it's one of my favorites."
It's the original course at The Landings, based on the 1974 design work of Arnold Palmer with Frank Duane, with a 2003 update by Tim Liddy that involved re-doing greens, tees and irrigation.
Another design trait that sets Marshwood apart is the preponderance of doglegs, most of them right to left. If you can draw the ball here off the tee, you'll be strutting around the course like a Great Blue Heron.
Marshwood is 6,904 from the back tees, not that you will ever see any of the members back there.
The island's golf courses are known for their par 3s, and Marshwood is no exception. No. 4 is a reverse Redan, with the green running away from you left to right. It's a tough one-shotter, 203 yards from the back tees.
No. 8 is similar, though slightly longer, with the green running right to left, and No. 12 has already been mentioned. No. 16 has a three-tiered green with a valley in the middle.
The little holes aren't the only interest here. As Hazel said, there is a good variety of holes, from short, drivable par 3s filled with treachery and some reachable, risk/reward par 5s. The closing hole has a carry off the tee over a canal to a fairway that runs diagonally away from the tee box.
There is no outside play at any of the courses at The Landings.
The Landings on Skidaway Island is an exclusive, gated community on the barrier island, just outside Savannah. Residents here have the advantage of living on their own island while being 15 minutes from downtown Savannah.
They've worked hard here to preserve the natural beauty of the island, and it shows: giant oaks draped with Spanish moss, wide marsh views and hardwood hammocks dot the island.
It's a very active community, with more than 100 groups, including one of the largest ladies golf organizations in the country.
It's a little puzzling why the Landings is not more well-known. It's won some prestigious awards: The Urban Land Institute recognized it as "one of the nation's best residential communities," Live South magazine ranked it as one of the "Fabulous 50 communities in the South" and Where to Retire magazine rated it a "top 100 master-planned community."
There is some dispute over the origin of the island's name, whether it came from Indians or English settlers, but in any case, after the Civil War, freed slaves set up a school with the help of Benedictine monks.
Skidaway Island prospered during prohibition with several stills on the island, and Union Camp eventually took control and used the heavily treed island for pulpwood production in the 1940s, before eventually developing the island for residential use.
The community has plenty of activities to keep residents busy, including six courses designed by some of the biggest names in the business, like Arthur Hills, Tom Fazio, Palmer, and Willard Byrd.
There are also three tennis centers and 34 courts, two deep-water marinas, a fitness center slated to be doubled in size, four swimming pools, two athletic fields, more than 40 miles of paved walking and biking trails, and four clubhouse restaurants.
Then there is the Village, a family-style shopping center so that residents don't even have to leave the island.
June 4, 2008