The Reserve at Lake Keowee is a private community in Upstate South Carolina. The development’s proximity to Asheville, NC (1 hour 15 minute drive), among other cities, along with its pristine lake and consistently warm temperatures, make it a very popular destination for those who want warmth and water, without driving down to the beach.
The Reserve offers tennis facilities, a pool area, a 200-slip marina, and a championship Jack Nicklaus signature design golf course. The 7,112-yard par-72 track is consistently rated within the top-20 courses in South Carolina and is very tough. The only thing holding the course back from a higher ranking is a handful of lackluster holes, which don’t add much character or architecture value to the course. Fortunately, the only things left in your mind after the round are incredible lakefront holes, gorgeous views, and a very tough final stretch.
The course has Bermuda grass everywhere, and is always in excellent condition. When the temperatures freeze out golf in the North Carolina Mountains, there is always an exodus of golfers escaping to warmer Lake Keowee. The practice facilities are second to none, with a large covered range, short-game area, and putting area. The nearby Clemson University Golf Team can often be found practicing at the Reserve. The course also hosts the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
I have been fortunate to play the Reserve quite a few times, but this most recent round was with a group that included two professional golfers attempting to make it on the mini-tours. We played the course from the tips, and I found myself trying to keep up as these guys bombed drives and displayed magical short games. The photos in this post were taken over my last three rounds at the Reserve. If you have any course recommendations in South Carolina, shoot them my way in the comments!
Hole #1 – 435 yards
The opening hole is a downhill dogleg right par 4 with bunkers on either side of the fairway. The landing area in the fairway is very large, but an accurate shot is required into the green.
Hole #2 – 560 yards
The par 5 second hole is where the course begins to come into its own. The dogleg left hole has a single bunker that larger hitters can challenge from the tee. The photo above is taken where a “safer” drive finishes. A creek runs in front of this shallow green.
Hole #4 – 201 yards
It takes a great iron shot to find the putting surface on the fourth hole. The green is two-tiered, and a large area around the green is shaved down to collect errant approach shots.
Hole #5 – 540 yards
The first photo above is taken from the tee shot landing area towards the green. From that point it is a little over 250 yards to reach to putting surface. The second photo is taken from the green looking back towards the tee, revealing a large valley separating the two fairways.
Hole #7 – 224 yards
The seventh presents another demanding long iron shot… the tips were a little too long for me! The approach is downhill, playing closer to 205 yards in reality. A creek protects the front edge of the green.
Hole #11 – 554 yards
The eleventh is one of my favorite holes in the courses. It is a sharp dogleg right, and the photo above was taken at the edge of the bend. Longer hitters can carry to the bend, catching a downhill slope towards the green. A creek is short of the green, but those hoping to reach the green in two have ample room to miss.
Hole #15 – 482 yards
The fifteenth is one of the most challenging and memorable holes on the course. A long drive leaves you where this photo was taken, and 155 yards is left to the small green. Beautiful Lake Keowee is seen in the background.
Hole #16 – 149 yards
The sixteenth is the first hole featuring a forced carry over the water. Behind the tee is a beautiful view of the lake, and the green works from right to left away from the tee box.
Hole #17 – 578 yards
This is the last of four monster par 5s at the Reserve at Lake Keowee. A creek runs short of the green, and a number of bunkers protect the fairway. One of the professionals in my group hit his second shot to 6 feet from 275 yards out on this hole during my last round.
Hole #18 – 444 yards The 18th hole is a great final challenge. The tee box and fairway are set at two angles, allowing players to cut off as much of the fairway as they dare. A good drive still leaves 185+ yards into this green, which is heavily bunkered. It is a great finishing hole.
I have great memories of golf and weekends at the Reserve at Lake Keowee. The community swells with people in the summer months, and July 4 weekend at the lake is an absolute blast. Certainly take up the offer if you ever have a chance to play the course. My tip is to make sure it is an early morning tee time, leaving time for an afternoon out on the lake!