Introduction to Columbia
In this blog post we’re going to explore the golf courses in Columbia, South Carolina.
This is a wonderful city, which is more often than not, overshadowed by other destinations within the state. Places like Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are all immensely popular. They’re also all golf destinations in their own right.
Columbia is actually the capital city of South Carolina, with its location very much at the heart of the state. Named after the great explorer Christopher Columbus the city is steeped in culture and history.
Amongst these is the Columbia Museum of Art and the Art Walk with its impressive murals.
Many places ooze Southern Charm and Columbia is without doubt one of them. Alongside its rich cultural side, is a vibrant food scene. The easily navigable downtown has an abundance of trendy bars, cafes and restaurants.
It’s worth mentioning there were some fantastic clubs which just missed out on the below list. This includes The Spur at Northwoods Golf Club, Golden Hills Golf & Country Club as well as Oak Hills Golf Club. Columbia residents are spoilt for choice!
This is a fantastic location and let’s now dive into the golf courses in Columbia, SC.
See also: What are the best golf courses in South Carolina?
The best golf courses in Columbia South Carolina
|1||The Woodcreek Club|
|2||Cobblestone Park Golf Club|
|3||The Windermere Club|
|4||Forest Lake Club|
|5||Spring Valley Country Club|
|6||Columbia Country Club|
|7||Timberlake Country Club|
|8||LinRick Golf Course|
Public Golf Courses in Columbia South Carolina
The Windermere Club
Kicking off our list of the best public golf courses in Columbia, is the superb Windermere Club. It is found by heading out towards Blythewood between the neighborhoods of Lake Carolina and Brookhaven.
This is a club with multiple facilities onsite for its members, including tennis courts, a state of the art gym, an Olympic sized swimming pool and outstanding dining. But as impressive as all of that is, the golf course takes center stage.
The course at Windermere Club is a Signature design by the great Pete Dye. There is no questioning the impact on modern golf design that Dye has had, with many of his courses considered the finest worldwide.
At Windermere, Dye and his wife Alice have created a fantastic test of golf. Fairways are bordered by lush hardwood forests, whilst at times, vast bunkers are dotted alongside landing zones.
Several lakes and ponds are firmly part of the design, none more so than the 17th and 18th holes. The 17th is a short par-3 straight over water, with the 18th a par 5 with a lake skirting the whole left hand side. You could literally make or break your round in those two holes!
There are many great golf courses around Columbia, yet many are private. What a welcome change from the norm to have such a great course open to all. I couldn’t recommend it more.
Cobblestone Park Golf Club
Just a twenty-five minute drive north of Columbia, passing Blythewood, is the outstanding Cobblestone Park Golf Club. Just off the Interstate 77, it couldn’t be easier or quicker to get there.
Cobblestone Park was formerly known as The University Club as it has been, and continues to be, the host venue to the University of South Carolina’s golf teams.
The surrounding landscape is beautiful, with more than 240 acres of rolling hills, dense forest and lakes. Flat is one thing that Cobblestone Park is not.
There are 27 holes onsite with the three nines known as the Garnet, Black and Gold. All three are top class and any variety of those three is recommended.
The longest and most challenging 18-hole combo would be the Black and Garnet. But with the constant elevation changes, length isn’t everything here.
There is a litany of bunkers, strategically placed to make life hard. Whilst at times narrow greens and plenty of water hazards make Cobblestone Park one of the more intense challenges out there.
However, fairways are also relatively generous so it’s not overly brutal. Likewise, there is no doubting the beauty of the plot.
Cobblestone Park continues to receive accolades from all quarters, for being one of the best collegiate courses in the country, and one of the best golf courses in South Carolina. There is no doubting this is a special place.
Timberlake Country Club
There are very few golf courses near Columbia with a setting as impressive as Timberlake Country Club. To the west of the city, the club has a prime spot overlooking the massive Lake Murray.
The huge lake is in fact a reservoir with some 650 miles of coastline. You would have thought an idyllic coastal spot would be in high demand for many golf clubs, especially being so close to the city. But Timberlake Country Club remains the only one.
This is a popular family orientated club, with an array of facilities such as swimming, tennis and multiple restaurants. Although a private club at its heart, the club is open to public tee times.
But as with all of these clubs, it is the golf we’re interested in and Timberlake has a fine championship course. It was designed by the legendary William C.Byrd and opened for play in 1988.
At 6,700 yards from the back tees it is not the longest of courses. But the pin placements can definitely make it play longer. Adding to the challenge is the rolling nature of the terrain, with plenty of elevation changes.
In a slightly links-style, there are numerous pot bunkers in play. And whilst water is certainly visible from many holes, it only really comes into play on six holes.
LinRick Golf Course
North of Columbia, isolated from the noise and hustle of the city, is the fantastic municipal course of LinRick.
Opening for play in the early 1970s, LinRick was designed by Russell Breeden. Breeden is maybe not the most well-known golf course architect. But he was incredibly prolific in the mid to late twentieth century building a reputation for designing courses that were friendly and approachable.
LinRick Golf Course absolutely embodies that. It is known throughout Columbia golfing circles as being challenging but fun. These are the consistent themes when discussing LinRick.
The site is incredibly picturesque, with rolling hills and wooden terrain. There is plenty of water with the treacherous 16th foremost amongst them. Expect doglegs and plenty of elevation changes including tricky raised greens.
From the back tees the course measures just short of 7,000 yards with the course being a par 73. Not only is the course great fun, it is also of incredible value. Twilight rates start around the $30 mark whilst walking green fees midweek sit around the $20 mark. You can’t go wrong.
Private Golf Courses in Columbia South Carolina
Forest Lake Club
The member-owned Forest Lake Club has been in Columbia since 1923 and continues to be one of the premier country clubs in the state.
The club is located in the leafy suburbs to the east of Columbia, 15 minutes from downtown. Characterized by tall hardwoods and pines whilst along the east side is the serene Forest Lake.
As well as the golf, the club features a huge modern looking clubhouse, upscale dining/lounge facilities and a resort style pool complex.
The golf course opened for play in 1928 and was designed by Maurice McCarthy. McCarthy was a talented golfer and latterly, a prominent architect involved in well over 100 golf course designs.
There are many features and design traits which hark back to the Golden Age of golf course architecture. You’ll find some Redan greens and a Road hole, with its dogleg and bunkers.. There are also just some great holes, with water in play on a good handful.
The plot is not massive, so from the back tees the course measures just shy of 6,400 yards.
Columbia Country Club
A good half an hour’s drive north east out of Columbia, past Killian and on the road towards Blythewood, is the private member’s club of Columbia Country Club.
This is a fantastic club and has been incredibly popular ever since its inception in 1904. There are a variety of amenities including tennis, fitness and a pool.
Like The Windermere Club we covered earlier, Columbia Country Club is located right next to Lake Columbia. Although unlike The Windermere Club, there are no holes which play alongside, or over the lake.
The course was designed by Ellis Marples and opened for play in 1962. This is a refined and traditional design which meanders through the elegant woodland. There are 27 holes to choose from and these are the Ridgewood, Tall Pines and Lakeside.
Six sets of tees ensure regardless of ability, the course will welcome you. Although if you’re playing from the Gold or Blue tees, you’ll need to be striking the ball well. For example, playing the main combination of the Ridgewood/Tall Pines, from the back markers the course measures nearly 7,200 yards.
And once you get to the greens, don’t expect an easy ride. Large sloping surfaces make hitting the right spot essential.
Spring Valley Country Club
Nestled within 150 acres of verdant landscape, is the wonderful Spring Valley Country Club.
In Columbia’s golfing suburb, essentially north east of the city, Spring Valley is on the road towards Pontiac. Like many of the courses on this list, the site is characterized by rolling hills, serene lakes and an abundance of stately pines and oaks.
As to be expected with a private member-owned club, you’ll find six tennis courts, an olympic sized swimming pool and impressive dining facilities.
This all provides the backdrop to the fine layout which was designed by George Cobb in 1960. Although Cobb designed over 100 golf courses throughout his career, he is arguably most well-known for the par-3 course at Augusta National.
Here at Spring Valley, Cobb has excelled himself, creating a course which is demanding but fair. Tee shots require accuracy to avoid the densely tree-lined fairways. To score well, you absolutely need to keep out of them!
Fortunately, the greens are receptive and large, although try and stay out of the deep bunkers.
The course was given an upgrade in 1999 by John LaFoy. All this investment has ensured Spring Valley Country Club remains one of the best golf courses in Columbia.
The Woodcreek Club
Yep, you guessed it, another high-end member’s club in Columbia’s outskirts to the east of the city. The Woodcreek Club is located between Pontiac and Elgin, just off Interstate 20.
This member-only club is incredibly exclusive and amongst private clubs surrounding the city, is in the top few. Yet unlike some of the other private clubs, there isn’t the same infrastructure of amenities.
At Woodcreek Club, they’ve kept things simple and focused on delivering an outstanding golf experience. On top of that, there is a stunning 12,000 square foot clubhouse which was completely renovated in 2019.
But the course is what this club is most renowned for. Designed by the legendary Tom Fazio, it opened for play in 1997. 200 acres of gorgeous countryside house this exceptional routing with every hole seemingly more impressive and scenic than the previous one.
There is an ongoing debate about how you either love or hate Fazio courses. Personally I can’t quite understand it, especially when his less-celebrated courses like this are so good. I say ‘less-celebrated’, but it is still one of the top courses in the state, let alone around Columbia.
Sand is a constant threat here, with some epic bunkers on a number of holes. And with the back tees playing over 7,000 yards, you’ll be wanting to avoid as many as possible.
An impressive setup, top class conditioning and fantastic routing.
What is the best golf course in Columbia South Carolina?
The best golf course in Columbia, South Carolina, is the course at The Woodcreek Club. Designed by the world-famous golf course architect Tom Fazio, this is an outstanding layout considered to be one of the best in the state. The club is located to the east of the city, between Pontaic and Elgin.