You’re standing on the tee at the par-3 14th at Stono Ferry Golf Links, little more than a finger of emerald turf protruding into the Intracoastal Waterway. The trawler steadily making its way northward toward Charleston Harbor is but a well-aimed pitch shot to your right. Your mind won’t let go of the putt you just missed at the 12th green and then it hits you. A missed putt isn’t so bad; some who once stood on the very place you’re now standing lost more than a chance at birdie. They lost their life.
Stono Ferry Golf Links, a Ron Garl creation with three holes set against the ‘ICW,’ is more than simply one of the area’s most enjoyably golf courses. It’s a walk – or cart ride – through history. In June 1779, American patriots battled British and Hessian troops on these very grounds in the Battle of Stono Ferry, a Revolutionary War struggle that claimed nearly 300 casualties. That explains the redoubt – the earthen fortification – you just negotiated with your tee shot at the 12th.
Today, the only skirmish this land hosts is your battle with par. To add to that challenge, Garl created a course that takes advantage of mature coastal forests, tidal creeks and, yes, even the Intracoastal, which frames the three holes you’re wrapping up with your tee shot at 14. But the challenge won’t be complete until you’ve safely reached the island green at the par-4 finishing hole. And when the last putt goes down and you’re shaking hands with your playing partner, you may want to tip your hat to those brave soldiers of centuries past who walked these same links before you.