The Links at Stono Ferry - Hollywood, SC
Updated: Feb 14, 2019
What do you get when you combine a Revolutionary War Battlefield and a middling resort-style layout? The Links at Stono Ferry, that’s what.
There is history everywhere in the low country of South Carolina and that fact is not misrepresented when playing a round at Stono Ferry. There are signs around the course to clue you in as well as a canon on the right side of the 12th fairway.
You’ll find this course tucked out of the way along the Stono River a few miles outside of Charleston, SC. The layout meanders through a pine forest before finding its way out to the river. Some of the views available on the back nine are quite dramatic and can hold their own with just about any course in the area. The 13th may have one of the most intimidating tee shots that I’ve seen at this point in my illustrious career. Although the course is not deadpan flat, it is fairly level due to its proximity to the water, as most are in the area. They do manage to line two holes up side-by-side on the back, I went par-birdie*, but other than that each hole is flanked by trees, snakes and backyards.
Clubhouse/Pro Shop/Practice Facility
This is one area that Stono does right. The clubhouse is somewhat understated with a nice dark barroom looking out over the range behind. The Pro Shop seems to have a bit more to offer in terms of gear and equipment than most, which is nice considering its location out of town.
Now let’s talk about the range. Stono Ferry has one of the best driving ranges I’ve seen in terms of setup and execution. The teeing ground is very flat and the range is wide and long enough to hit driver without concern of putting it through. They have a small putting green but it was in good shape and seemingly identical in condition to the rest of the course. Kudos Stono for having a facility worthy of true practice. It may help that the College of Charleston uses this course as its own but if that’s what it takes, so be it.
A Ron Garl design, it sticks to the resort feel by chasing around in a big circle starting and ending at the clubhouse on both sides. The first hole is pretty tough with OB left and a pond in front of the green. The front spends a little more time in the woods than the back but there are glances of the marshlands the area is famous for, most notably the par three 6th. The back has three or four holes along the river, but it is the 13th & 14th that are the most dramatic.
The 13th is a short par four, which I birdied*, but the term intimidating does not give the tee shot justice. There is water to the right and short and OB left. And by water, I mean the freaking river. The carry seems to be about 175 yards so as long as you hit it long and dead straight you’ll be fine. It is a pretty hole but if you are having a bad day, it is about to get much worse.
The 14th is a short par three but again it is mostly carry as the tee is stuck well out into the river, kind of an island tee. The reverse TPC. The 15th has an odd tee shot; a dogleg right, but with no picture on the card or sign I could find, I had no idea how much it turned from the tee. It turned a solid 90 degrees but once it did, the remainder of the hole was very nice. Sixteen is another dogleg right and tough, again water by the green.
The home hole has an interesting island green but being a very short par 4, I wasn’t a huge fan of the last (below).
This is a nice course, in nice condition and the starter was very nice. It was fairly inexpensive, but given the fact that I was walking on a summer afternoon, most places are. The water holes are fun, but I wish they had a bit more space to make them more playable, more playabler. I actually think the best holes on the course are nowhere near the water (6th and 16th). If you are in the area, it can be a fun stop or a good throw-in to a trip, but not at the top of any list I’d draw up.
CRUSADER RATING: 3½ STARS
Last played 2018
*greatest golfer ever
Course website: http://stonoferrygolf.com/
Tee Times: https://stonoferrygolf.teesnap.net/ or call (843) 763-1817
GPS: 4812 Stono Links Drive, Hollywood, SC 29449