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Aiken becoming top golf destination

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Aiken is experiencing a hole-in-one surge of golf courses, with four in town and one on the way. These fairways are rich with historical significance.

Aiken’s reputation shines with historic clubs like Aiken and Palmetto Golf Clubs dating back more than a century. Palmetto, known for its Alister MacKenzie design and challenging layout, has become a favorite among folks attending the Masters. “It’s by far best golf course here. Played it twice now, certainly doesn’t get any easier,” London resident David McClure said.

History is on display at the clubhouse. Ben Hogan labeling holes three, four, and five the toughest par fours played back-to-back. Bobby Jones hailed the seventh hole as the finest par three. “And a lot of the founding members at Augusta were Palmetto members,” pro-emeritus at Palmetto Golf Club Tom Moore shared.

Newcomers like the Tree Farm and Old Barnwell put Aiken on the map. The Tree Farm, designed by Tom Doak and built by PGA Tour player Zac Blair, offers a unique blend of challenges and natural beauty.

Old Barnwell, crafted by Brian Schneider and Blake Conant, features steep bunkers and wild green surfaces. All 18 holes opened in September 2023. “The course itself will be challenging, but when you add the wind in, it just becomes a little bit extra as well,” Director of Partnerships at Old Barnwell Morgan Purvis said. “It’s relatively easy off the tees, but then it gets super challenging around the greens,” lives in Charleston resident David Adams added.

Old Barnwell prioritizes community outreach, sponsoring aspiring female golfers and collaborating with historic black colleges and universities. Also, construction is underway for a clubhouse, lodging, a range, and a kids’ course. “For us to try to basically put the mission of what we’re trying to do at the forefront while also having great golf experience,” Purvis added.

The upcoming 21 Golf Club, spearheaded by designers Rob Collins and Tad King, is gearing up with two 18-hole courses, including ‘The Hammer.’

Aiken’s golfing growth is no bogey; it’s a birdie! Its proximity to major population centers and attractive land value attract upscale clubs and swing the attention of enthusiasts and developers.

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