May River Golf Club, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Bluffton’s Palmetto Bluff, has been named the Best New Course in South Carolina for 2005 by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel.
Set amid 300-year-old live oaks and brushing the banks of the river for which it is named, May River rated ahead of fellow newcomers, including the Members Club at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach and Canongate at Pinecrest in Bluffton. May River Golf Club’s win follows that of the Patriot at Grand Harbor on Lake Greenwood in the panel’s inaugural year.
The golf course ratings panel is a joint project of SouthCarolina Magazine, a bi-monthly general interest publication and South Carolina Golf Today, a monthly golf newspaper. The panel’s mission is to promote greater interest and awareness of all that is good about the game in the Palmetto state, home to well over 400 courses.
‘The choice in 2005 was a particularly challenging one,’ the panel’s executive director, Michael Whitaker, said in a press release. ‘Each course boasts a distinctly different character, but I think in the end many panelists found it hard to go past the secluded and idyllic setting at May River. It is one of those courses where golfers should revel in the experience regardless of how they play.’
A par 72 layout, the May River Golf Club course stretches 7,100 yards and is the result of multiple drafts to find the ultimate routing. The course also features a new paspalum grass on tees and fairways that is heat and salt tolerant, requiring less water. Even the sand in the bunkers is special — Nicklaus introduced sand with an angular grain from Ohio promoting adhesion that reduces maintenance after coastal storms.