Many public-access courses promise a private club experience, but at Charleston National, it’s more than marketing hype. Charleston National Country Club, designed by Rees Jones, was conceived and built to be a private enclave for a small, exclusive membership, but even before the course opened, those plans shifted. Though the club offers a membership option, Charleston National has welcomed non-members since its opening in 1990.
That’s great news for golfers visiting the Charleston area, because more than two decades later, Charleston National remains one of the more challenging and scenic layouts in the Lowcountry. Set against the tidal marshes overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and barrier islands beyond, Charleston National is a patchwork quilt of high ground and marsh, tidal creeks and tiny islands surrounded by needle rush and spartina grass. The result is a course as varied as the landscape it occupies and one where forced carries are not uncommon. But don’t be put off by the aerial demands of Charleston National. The carries are easily manageable and the views from the many bridges on the course are often spectacular. The par-4 15th hole, for example, requires both tee shot and approach carry intervening marshland and three of the four par-3s take you island hopping, as well.And at the end of the round, you’ll be glad you treated yourself to “membership for a day” at Charleston National.