An introduction to Savannah

There are few cities which epitomize southern charm like Savannah in Georgia. This is one of the most historic cities in the United States and home to numerous cultural landmarks. You’ll be pleased to know there are some fantastic golf courses in Savannah, Georgia too.

Many people, myself included, have the stereotypical images of Spanish moss-covered oaks lining cobblestone streets. And whilst there is of course an element of truth to this, there is so much more to see and do in Savannah.

Positioned on the Atlantic coastline, Savannah is as close to South Carolina as you can get. In fact it is separated solely by the Savannah River. Indeed it is just a 45 minute drive up the coast to the popular Hilton Head Island in SC. 

See also: What are the best golf courses in Georgia?

Savannah Forsyth Park

Within Savannah itself, the historic district is where most tourists will flock. Forsyth Park particularly is one of the main attractions. There are 30 acres of lush landscapes with the Forsyth Fountain the recognisable ‘brochure photo’ you’re likely to have seen promoting the city. 

Just north of the park and you’ll arrive at the Savannah waterfront. A great place for strolling along, taking in the views and perusing the shops. As is City Market, which is open 7-days a week and has some awesome restaurants and shops.

There really is so much to do and see here. To make the most of your time, jumping on one of the trolley tours is the best way to explore the city. The trolleys tour the city’s most famous landmarks allowing you to simply jump on and off as you please.

The best private golf courses in Savannah Georgia

The Ford Field & River Club

The Ford Field and River Club, Savannah, Georgia

The superb Ford Field & River Club (The Ford for short) has a magnificent Pete Dye course onsite. This is without doubt one of the best golf courses in the state of Georgia, but somehow flies under the radar.

The club is positioned on a 1,800 acre plot on the other side of the Ogeechee River from Savannah, about a 30 minute drive from downtown. This is a beautiful spot in the Georgia Lowcountry and one members and residents of the private club community can enjoy at their leisure. 

The history of the site goes right back to the 1920s and 1930s, when the great Henry Ford owned and developed the estate. Over the years there have been numerous changes of name (and owner), but it recently became known as the Ford Field & River Club. 

The course has existed since 1986 and in 2014 it enjoyed a significant multi-million dollar investment. Tim Liddy, a man who specializes in renovating old Dye designs, headed up the work. 

The layout is simply divine, shaped by the coastline, meadows and freshwater lakes. It is fun to play and has two distinct nines; a parkland-style front nine and a more links-style back nine.

If you do get an invite here, grab it and keep hold of it. This is an elegant course which has really benefited from the recent renovation. 

The Landings Club

The Landings Club is a special place, which is located on Skidaway Island 12 miles south of historic Savannah. 

This is a large private residential, golf and athletic club which offers its members an eye-watering six 18-hole championship golf courses. The list of architects involved are a who’s who of famous golf course architects; Arnold Palmer, Arthur Hills, Tom Fazio and William Byrd.

Each of these courses individually showcases the beauty of the island, its hardwood forests, elegant tidal creeks and unspoiled saltwater marshes. Indeed, there was such attention to maintaining the natural habitat and vegetation, each of the six courses has been designated as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. 

The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, Savannah, Georgia, Permission Granted - resized
Deer Creek Course

Opened for play in 1991, Deer Creek is the newest of the six golf courses onsite and is the one which gets the most recognition. 

This is a Tom Fazio creation which was built to test golfers of all levels. As you would expect, there is a real Lowcountry feel to the course with the draped oaks and marshlands. 

For many years now, Deer Creek has been selected as the host venue to the Club Car Championship event on the Korn Ferry Tour. It was also selected to host the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.

This is definitely a championship level course with deep bunkers, doglegs and many holes featuring run-off areas. That said, it is still accessible to the members with wide fairways allowing you to spray it a little off the tee. 

Palmetto Course

The Palmetto course was the fourth to open at The Landings and was designed by Arthur Hills, one of two he designed here. 

This is a fantastic course which many regard as the most challenging of the six. And for those of you lucky to play Palmetto, be prepared to hit the ground running. The first six holes lay down the gauntlet as some of the hardest on the course.

If you manage to circumnavigate these without losing too many shots, you might be able to post a decent score as things settle down after that. It isn’t until the last three holes where things pick up again.

Magnolia Course

And so onto Arnold Palmer’s contribution to the golf on offer at The Landings. Magnolia is one of two he designed in collaboration with Ed Seay, the other being the Marshwood Course. 

Yes, this is unapologetically the Georgia Lowcountry. But when designing the Magnolia course, Palmer and Seay didn’t want to overly emphasize water hazards and the native marshes. 

Instead the aim was to create a course where strategy was paramount, including straight-hitting to avoid the myriad of trees lining the fairways. Subsequently this is a very different course to some of the others.

Terrapin Point Course

The last course I’d like to highlight is Terrapin Point, previously called the Plantation course, and positioned at the southern end of the island. This was the third course to open at the club.

Designed by William Byrd, the layout is traditional in style with its out-and-back routing. At most points during the round there are wonderful views of the surrounding lagoons and marshes. 

Three holes in particular during the middle section of the round, the 8th, 9th and 10th, have special views over Adams Creek and Ossabaw Sound. 

Savannah Quarters Golf Club

Literally just a short drive from central Savannah, is the premier master-planned community of Savannah Quarters. This beautifully landscaped development features upscale housing and a range of facilities for the residents to enjoy. 

Yet they also happen to have a delightful 18-hole Greg Norman signature designed championship course. 

This is a wonderful course which fully immerses itself into the surrounding habitat. Fairways weave through groves of towering cypress of live oak trees, whilst overlooking the natural areas and lagoons for which this part of the world is so renowned. 

There are some great holes although the 15th with its island green is the highlight and the course’s signature hole. 

Over the years the course has received various awards and with six sets of tees, this is a course open to all levels of golfers.

The Savannah Golf Club

The Savannah Golf Club, Georgia

And so on to the last golf course in the list of best golf courses in Savannah. Here we find ourselves a stone’s throw from Savannah’s popular waterfront, just to the east of the city.

Savannah Golf Club is one of the more traditional clubs in the city with a classic Donald Ross layout. The course goes way back to the early/mid twentieth century, 1927 to be precise. But the actual site goes back even further with the remnants of bygone eras still visible. For example there are numerous old Confederate earthen battleworks still visible lining fairways.

The course is a traditional parkland layout which is relatively short for today’s standards at just under 6,500 yards from the back tees and a par 72. 

But what the course lacks in length, it makes up for in strategy. Mature trees encroach into the fairways meaning shot-shaping and precision off the tee is essential. Likewise, the bunkers are typical Donald Ross, with run-offs on all sides complicating the approach play. 

More recently, the club employed the services of the highly respected Gil Hanse to mastermind the renovation of the course in keeping with Ross’ initial designs. This work has done miracles to elevate the course experience and is a little gem in Savannah.

The best public golf courses in Savannah, Georgia

The Club at Savannah Harbor

Westin Savannah Harbor Resort, Georgia

The first golf course in this list is the superb Club at Savannah Harbor. 

At the southern end of Hutchinson Island, the course has magnificent views back across the river towards historic Savannah.

Designed by Robert Cupp with assistance from Sam Snead, the course gently weaves its way through the tidal wetlands endemic to this area. These glorious tidal marshes offer shelter to an abundance of wildlife.

When designing the course, Cupp and Snead insisted upon creating a risk and reward style layout. This was both to improve the ‘fun factor’ as well as to challenge the better golfers who play here. 

Subsequently, for a number of years, it was the home to the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour, Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf Championship. 

The Club at Savannah Harbor regularly gets recognized as one of the ‘Best Golf Courses you can play in Georgia’. With the superb Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa onsite, the accommodation is just as popular as the golf.

May River Golf Club

May River Golf Club, Bluffton, South Carolina - Photo credit David Palefsky
Photo credit David Palefsky

So this isn’t really Savannah, but it’s only a 30 minute drive northwards in the direction of Palmetto Bluff, so I just had to include it. 

May River Golf Club is part of the Palmetto Bluff community, which is both residential and recreational. The community covers a vast parcel of land where people can experience unspoiled wilderness and there are a raft of amenities for people to enjoy. 

This is a Jack Nicklaus signature course, which winds through the serene May River forest. This is very unlike your typical Nicklaus course. There aren’t the narrow fairways and long rough one would come to expect, but instead generous fairways with very little rough at all. 

From the back tees the course measures nearly 7,200 yards, and it often plays longer. Even on dry days, the ground is often moist holding up the best of drives. The course is perfectly manicured, whilst being maintained to the highest standard. 

For those who do want to play the course, the Montage Palmetto Bluff is a charming residence which offers a range of different accommodation types. As a resident it is possible to access this wonderful course. Don’t miss the opportunity to play one of Nicklaus’ finest courses.

What is the Best Golf Course in Savannah Georgia?

The best golf course in Savannah, Georgia, is Ford Field & River Club, designed by the legendary Pete Dye. The course is located on the other side of the Ogeechee River about a 30 minute drive from downtown.

How many golf courses are there in Savannah Georgia?

Within a 20 mile radius of Savannah in Georgia, there are 33 golf courses of which 23 are close to the city.

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