A full restoration taking place at my home club has caused me to branch out and explore some new tracks. The most recent of these golf adventures was a visit to a course that I hadn’t played in over four years. I was very happy to return. The Country Club of Spartanburg is a golf course that flies under the radar. The course has hosted many Carolinas amateur events, and has served as a qualifying course for US Opens, US Amateurs, and US Mid-Amateurs. The club was founded in 1908, and has been an upstate South Carolina golf fixture ever since.
The answer to who designed the course is not straightforward. If you do any Google searching, you find that the original architect is never listed, and the design is commonly called “Donald Ross inspired.” Apparently there is little to no documentation on the original course designer, but it Ross is thought to have offered input on one of the nines. If you have any more information on the original course designer at the Country Club of Spartanburg, comment at the bottom of this post!
The course makes use of hilly terrain and tree lined fairways. Many of the greens are crowned, and they were playing very firm and fast during our round. I played the course a handful of times during high school for various junior events. Visiting the course again was very enjoyable, and I was reminded of just how well designed many of the holes are.
The opening hole is a long par 5 with tee shots played to the bottom of a valley. The uphill approach requires good distance control to a sloping and tiered green.
Longer hitters can carry the bunker on the left side of this fairway. The lake on the right doesn’t directly come into play, but it subconsciously intimidates on both the tee and approach shot. The large crowned green adds another layer of difficulty.
A left hand pin on this third hole is one of the easiest on the green. A right hand pin brings the bunker and lake into play.
There are some great par 5s at Country Club of Spartanburg. This fifth hole is no exception, with a tree and bunkers visually narrowing down the fairway. Longer hitters can carry the tree on the right, leaving a long iron into the green.
The sixth is 200+ yards, and any shot coming up short rolls back down a false front. It simply takes a well struck long iron to reach the very large putting surface. Once your on the dance floor, two putts are not guaranteed because of its huge size.
The uphill ninth works back towards the clubhouse. The green is crowned (see the second photo in this review) and distance control is paramount with the uphill approach shot.
The twelfth is one of the best holes on the course. It requires strategy and a handful of great shots to play this hole well. A 250 yard shot onto the right “island” of the fairway sets up a wedge into the heavily bunkered and sloping green. This hole reminds me of a shorter version of the 13th hole at Pine Valley (Click for review) in a number of ways.
The fourteenth hole is a par 3 featuring a tricky green. There are a handful of subtle slopes running across the green that create tricky reads.
A blind tee shot starts off the fun at the sixteenth hole. Longer hitters take the ball up the left side, leaving a wedge into the green.
The seventeenth is one of the best holes on the course. It is an acute dogleg left par 5, with a series of cross bunkers preventing golfers from cutting too much off the corner. The green is raised and a back right pin sits on a very tough plateau. I wish I had taken a photo of the green, but I was caught up in the heat of our match…
Hole #18The eighteenth hole has a blind tee shot to the bottom of a hill. The uphill approach shot works back up towards the clubhouse. Bunkers and a large false front protect the green. The best approach angle is created from the right side of the fairway. Exciting things could happen on this finishing hole.The membership at Country Club of Spartanburg are friendly and very welcoming. Bowls of tasty popcorn sit at the center of a large communal style table in the grill room encouraging people to meet and talk. I was reminded of how much I enjoyed the course during this latest visit, and I hope to play the fun track again in the future.